Category Archives: Emails We Love

Comedy Central’s Marketing Strategy Is No Joke

The following post is an excerpt from a story that appeared in the September 2014 edition of Direct Marketing News covering Comedy Central’s marketing program.  Written by Elyse Dupre, Associate Editor. Copyright Direct Marketing News 2014.  Click here for the full story.

comedy_central_horizontal

Content that’s in sync with consumers? Nooice!
…if Comedy Central wants consumers to engage with its content experiences, then it needs to make those experiences valuable and accessible. So, instead of forcing consumers to search for its content, Comedy Central puts the right content in front of them on the right platforms.

One way Comedy Central does this is through email. By working with real-time email marketing company Movable Ink, Comedy Central updates its email content dynamically based on its subscribers’ open times. For instance, if customers open a Colbert Report email in the afternoon before the show airs, Comedy Central can include a tune-in-tonight message with a preview link, Steele explains. But if they don’t open the email until the next day, Comedy Central can change its message to information about last night’s show and include a link to the full episode.

“Our engagement rates and open rates have gone up dramatically [as a result],” Steele says.*

tosh.O

In this email promoting Comedy Central’s tosh.O show plays a video in the message to promote the new episode, and can change call’s to action after the episode airs.

Adjusting email content based on device is another way Comedy Central stays in step with its fans. If consumers open a Daily Show email on an iOS device and they have the Comedy Central app, they can click on the email and go straight to the app to watch a full episode, Levitt says. However, if fans haven’t downloaded the app, the network can include a link inviting them to do so. Comedy Central launched its app this past April and received more than one million downloads in less than six weeks.

“We’re being strategic in terms of what options we give you and how we make it easier for you to find  the content that you love,” Levitt says.

*Since implementing Movable Ink’s technology and taking a more mobile-centric approach, Comedy Central has experienced a 20% increase in email opens and clicks, Steele adds. …

For more information, please feel free to reach out to us at contact@movableink.com.

Emails We Love: Bass Pro Shops #REELTHANKS

Tweet #REELTHANKS

Through July 4, 2014, Bass Pro Shops is running an integrated digital campaign to increase social engagement and give back to the community through AMVETS.  Dalie Hand and Ashley Sims from Bass Pro Shops sat down with us to share how the #REELTHANKS campaign is going so far, and what their goals were from the initiative.

Movable Ink: Can you tell us about the #REELTHANKS campaign and what your goals were from it?

Bass Pro Shops: Our customers are patriotic and we are a patriotic company.  We wanted to do something that would engage them with our brand across channels and give back to the community at the same time.  So we came up with an idea to partner with AMVETS, an organization that works with American Military Veterans, to leverage our email and social media properties to do it.  This campaign gives our customers the chance to to say thank you to American Veterans by tweeting #REELTHANKS or by sharing through Bass Pro Shops Facebook page.  For every 10 tweets or Facebook shares, we’ll donate one rod and reel combo to AMVETS.  In total, we expect to donate 1,000 combos by the 4th of july through the #REELTHANKS campaign.

MI: That’s inspiring!  How has agileEMAIL helped you achieve your goal for #REELTHANKS?

BPS:  We used Movable Ink to stream live social feeds into the message that utilized the #REELTHANKS hash tag.  Furthermore, we deep-linked pre-populated tweets so with one click our subscriber could tweet and participate.  So far, the email is responsible for 50% of the campaign’s overall engagement and success!

BassProMessageMI:   Wonderful!  Given its success, do you have future plans for cross-channel promotions?

BPS: We are going to use Movable Ink to launch instagram sweepstakes and to further promote our social properties.  We have gotten good responses to streaming hash tags in email and will do more promotions with that capability too.

MI:  Thank you Dalie and Ashley!  To participate in #REELTHANKS, tweet #REELTHANKS or share it from Bass Pro Shops Facebook page through July 4, 2014.  You can follow Bass Pro Shops on twitter @Bass_Pro_Shops.

Clients Corner: Best Western Increases App Downloads 143% With Deep Linking and Device Targeting

The Worlds Largest Hotel FamilyBased in Phoenix, Arizona, Best Western International Inc. was founded in 1946 by California-based hotelier M.K. Guertin as an informal referral system among its member hotels. Since then, Best Western has become the world’s largest hotel chain and a familiar presence in more than 100 countries. Each of its 4,000+ hotels is independently owned and operated, further engraining the spirit of good service throughout the company. Cassie Spillner, Kelly Saffo, and Ryun Lambson of the Best Western Marketing team shared with us how they are using Movable Ink to achieve their goals and deliver highly relevant and engaging campaigns at scale.

Movable Ink: Why did you decide to partner with Movable Ink?

Best Western: Every month we send over 20 million emails to our opt-in list and that’s a mix of newsletters, promotions, and lifecycle emails. We want to make our emails as relevant and interesting as possible but our systems have technological limitations. The partnership with Movable Ink has helped us overcome them and now we can send dynamic real-time content in email.

For Example, before agileEMAIL, we couldn’t do a real A/B test without conducting a full 50/50 split. Now we can figure out which creative performs best in real time, ultimately increasing engagement and revenue. Knowing we don’t have to send a “loser” message to half the database ever again is awesome.”

MI: How has it been working with Movable Ink so far?

BW: The Client Experience team is on top of everything and they are quick to respond. We had one campaign where we needed some help writing HTML.  We sent a note over to CX and they responded quickly, helping us properly write the HTML.  They even included notes so we can do it right the next time. Franki Silverman and Elizabeth Ray have been great to work with!

MI: We’ve been partnered for a few months now, what has been your favorite use of agileEMAIL so far?Best Western Used agileEMAIL's Deep Linking To Increase Mobile App Downloads

BW: There are two that stand out for us. First, we wanted to increase downloads of our mobile app and had identified an opportunity to promote it to subscribers in our welcome emails and reservation confirmation messages. We tested agileEMAIL’s deep linking and device targeting capabilities on a list of over 1 million Rewards Members and found that they drove a 100% increase in downloads. It worked even better for non-Rewards Members, increasing downloads by 143%. Because of the success, we decided to permanently add app download promotions to our welcome and reservation emails.

MI: That’s a great idea. What was the other you had mentioned?

BW: The other was when we wanted to test which offer would drive greater engagement, an offer for rewards points, or a discount code to buy flowers from one of our partners for Mother’s Day. Movable Ink’s creative optimization feature let us do this in real time, allowing us to show the majority of recipients the discount code, which was driving higher engagement. Then we paired creative optimization with geo-targeting to show recipients localized offers in our destination specific campaigns. There were 21-targeted regions in the campaign, and it lead to a 12% click-through rate improvement from our rewards members and a 10% improvement from our non-rewards members.

MI: What are your future plans for agileEMAIL?

BW: So far, Movable Ink has helped us increase our revenue per message by 20%. The solution works so we want to incorporate agileEMAIL’s features and functionality into more campaigns across the customer lifecycle to further increase the performance of our email programs. Data from agileEMAIL’s Insight module has helped us understand who is using bestwestern.com, the devices they are using to interact with us, and how to target them for better results. Next on our list is integrating real-time content from our site and social media channels into our email programs.

MI: Thank you Cassie, Kelly, and Ryun for your time!

Clients Corner: Auto Trader UK Increased Engagement By Sending Real-Time Weather-Based Driving Tips

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 4.20.56 PMEvery month, Auto Trader UK sees over 11.5 million unique users carry out over 140 million searches of more than 400,000 new and used vehicles across mobile, tablet, and desktop devices. Matt Dyson from Auto Trader UK sat down with us to share how they are using agileEMAIL to further provide value to their users beyond their core buying/selling vehicles business:

Movable Ink: Why did you decide to partner with Movable Ink?

Matt Dyson: We wanted to create an end-to-end email experience that is really engaging. agileEMAIL lets us add personalized content to our messages that our back-end systems couldn’t provide in real-time. We also wanted to stream content from our website into email, and do it in a stylized and attractive manner. Movable Ink allows us to do just that.

MI: What has been your favorite use of agileEMAIL so far?

Auto Trader UK Weather TipsMD: We had an idea to geo-locate where our subscribers were opening our newsletters, and then serve them relevant driving tips in those messages based on their current weather conditions. The aim of introducing real-time weather-based driving tips into our email was to retain longer-term brand engagement by providing our subscribers something innovative, genuinely useful, and something original that our competitors aren’t doing. Our editorial team came up with driving tips for many weather conditions and time of day, so that if it was raining outside, our reader received 3 tips for safe driving in the rain.

MI: That sounds great. How long did it take to launch and what were the results?

MD: It took Movable Ink and our agency Chalk & Pixel four days to launch it from idea to execution to over 300,000 people. agileEMAIL drove a 93% increase in click-throughs for us on this one.

MI: How has it been working with Movable Ink so far?

MD: It’s been really good. The Client Experience Team is really accommodating to our requests and quickly figures out how to create elements that are custom when they are not straight out of the box. I never get a “No,” and always get a “let’s figure out how to do that for you.” Then it’s simply copy and paste of HTML into our ESP.

MI: What are your future plans for agileEMAIL?

MD: We are going to increase the use of the web crop feature and make it a staple of our newsletters and welcome campaigns. Our next step is to completely automate a motorbike newsletter with agileEMAIL comprising up to 80% of the content. I wanted to do a bike email for a while, but we don’t have resources to do it in a timely manner. With Movable Ink I can set it up, schedule it in our ESP, and the rest works on it’s own. Our company is looking to do more work with video and on-the-fly self-optimizing content this year too.

MI: Thank you Matt for your time and insights!

Emails We Love: Lilly Pulitzer’s #hoorayforspring Campaign with Social Media and Local Maps

Display images to show real-time content and test out deep linking to Twitter!

Ready to trade in your snow boots for sandals, and dark colors for warm pastels? Although spring weather may not be here just yet (at least not here at Movable Ink headquarters in New York!), it’s never too early to start getting excited about the warmer months ahead.

We love how this agile email marketing campaign from Lilly Pulitzer made clever use of social media to create excitement around the new Spring 2014 collection, and also incorporated real-time geo-targeting to show each subscriber the nearest store location.

Lilly Pulitzer encouraged recipients to share what they love about the new spring collection by using #hoorayforspring on Instagram and Twitter. The latest tweets using that hashtag were displayed directly in the email. To make it as easy as possible for subscribers to engage with the campaign, a click on the “Tweet Now” button prompted a tweet with the hashtag pre-populated and ready to send. If a subscriber opened the email on mobile, the tweet loaded directly in the Twitter mobile app using deep linkingWant to test out deep linking to Twitter for yourself? Just click the email image here to share this post!

This campaign also used real-time geo-targeting to display a local map and address information of the nearest retail location where subscribers could shop the spring collection. The store information and map is determined and populated instantaneously at the moment of every email open.

Interested in learning more about how Agile Email Marketing technology from Movable Ink made this campaign possible? Reach out to us at contact@movableink.com or request a demo.

Emails We Love: RadioShack’s 2013 Cyber Monday “24 Deals in 24 Hours”

RadioShack Cyber Monday email marketing

A glimpse at how the email dynamically changed each hour.

This creative Cyber Monday campaign from RadioShack encouraged subscribers to open the same email at the top of every hour to discover a brand new deal. The featured deal updated automatically within the email so that whenever a subscriber chose to open the message, the latest offer was always displayed. The offers promoted in the email corresponded directly with the hourly deals featured on RadioShack.com.

RadioShack originally tested the idea of updating offers in a single email during Cyber Monday last year, and experienced a 25% lift in click-through rates compared to the year prior. Read more about the retailer’s past experiences with Agile Email Marketing technology and future plans here in Adweek.

This year, RadioShack incorporated even more real-time email content and interactive cross-channel functionality to fully amplify the Cyber Monday shopping experience:

  • RadioShack deep linking pre-populated tweet

    A pre-populated tweet about RadioShack’s #24dealsin24 loaded from a single click in the email.

    countdown clock animated to show how many minutes and seconds remained until the next big “deal reveal”. The timer automatically reset at the start of each hour.

  • Subscribers were encouraged to tweet their guesses for the next deal, and RadioShack made it as easy as possible for recipients to participate by deep linking to Twitter with a pre-populated tweet. After clicking on “Tweet Your Guess Now”, a ready-to-send tweet loaded in twitter.com if the email was opened on desktop. If the email recipient was instead using a mobile device, the tweet loaded within the mobile Twitter app.
  • A live social media feed showed @RadioShack’s latest tweets, which included hints about upcoming deals.

Interested in learning more about how Movable Ink can take your holiday season email campaigns to the next level? Reach out to us at contact@movableink.com or request a demo.

Emails We Love: Lilly Pulitzer’s #buymelilly Click-to-Tweet

The 2013 holiday shopping season is already underway, which means we’ve been keeping an eye out to see the creative ideas marketers have dreamt up this year to captivate their email audiences.

One recent holiday email that caught our attention comes from Lilly Pulitzer. By using Agile Email Marketing technology, Lilly Pulitzer included an image in this campaign that when clicked, prompted a pre-populated tweet to open that included the #buymelilly hashtag. The image was also deep-linked so that if the subscriber opened the email on a mobile device with the Twitter app already installed, the tweet would load ready-to-send in the mobile app versus requesting a log-in to Twitter in a web browser. The user’s device was detected at the moment of email open, and the optimal click-through action was also determined in real-time.

Lilly Pulitzer holiday email marketing

Click image to view full-size.

We love this email because not only does it unite social media and email together seamlessly, but this approach is a clever way to make it easy for fans of Lilly Pulitzer to share with their networks what’s on their holiday wish lists this year.

Check out even more examples of how to use social media in email, as well as our favorite holiday season campaigns, on our Pinterest page. Questions? Reach out to us at contact@movableink.com or request a demo of Movable Ink.

Emails We Love (Halloween Edition!): ivivva’s Zombie Yoga Month with Real-Time Local Maps

ivivva Zombie Yoga Local Map Email

Click image to view full size.

To get you in the Halloween spirit today, here’s one of our favorite spooky emails sent from ivivva, a member of the lululemon family. The email promotes Zombie Yoga Month, a series of local community events held by ivivva where girls all over North America took to their yoga mats to join the “zombie yogapocalypse.”

The agile email included a real-time local map which showed the nearest ivivva store location, hours, and contact information at the moment of email open.

To see more examples of how real-time local maps can be used in email, check out Movable Ink’s Pinterest page.

Happy Halloween!

3 Days, 3 Offers, 1 Email: Interview with Jarrod Purchase, Email Marketing Manager for Best of the Best

Best of the Best Hold Onto This Email Campaign

The subject line—“Hold onto this email…”—hinted of the multi-day, single-email experience.

How often do you take a chance with your email marketing, not knowing if a new approach could be an unbelievable success or a complete flop?

At Best of the Best, a UK-based company that offers their customers the chance to win luxury automobiles through online skills-based competitions, they’re more than familiar with the idea that taking a chance can result in a huge pay-off. Perhaps that’s why when Jarrod Purchase, Email Jarrod Purchase Email Marketing Manager Best of the BestMarketing Manager for Best of the Best, wanted to try something entirely new with an upcoming email campaign, he thought it was worthwhile to give it a shot.

We caught up with Jarrod to learn more about his recent “Hold onto this email” campaign, which encouraged subscribers to check back on the same email message over the course of three days to see new offers. Best of the Best had never launched a multi-day, single-email campaign like this before. Would taking a chance pay-off?

Brooke Burdge, Marketing Manager, Movable Ink: Jarrod, what was the main goal of this campaign?
Jarrod Purchase, Email Marketing Manager, Best of the Best: We run a competition every 15 days to promote discounted tickets for dream car giveaway competitions. We had a few main goals for the “Hold onto this email” campaign. Of course, we were aiming to increase revenue and strengthen customer engagement in a new way. But we also wanted to drive more customers to participate in the competition earlier on in the 15-day period, and to make repeat purchases. Typically, customers participate more towards the end of the competition period since there is less waiting time to find out if they won, and they very rarely purchase more than once in each 15-day competition period.

BB: What did you do differently with this campaign to help you achieve your goals?
JP: Instead of sending three separate emails on consecutive days with three varying offers, we decided to consolidate our efforts into one, fully dynamic email that changed depending on when it was opened. The email became almost like a scavenger hunt in the inbox, where customers could come back the next day to discover something completely new.

BB: Can you walk me through how the user experience changed depending on which day the email was opened?
JP: Sure. If you opened the email on the first day of the campaign, you would see images of three car types in a row. The Aston Martin was labeled “Today,” the Range Rover was labeled “Tomorrow,” and the Porsche was labeled “Wednesday.” The Aston Martin image—the featured deal of the day— appeared in full-color, with the other two brands in black & white. This allowed recipients to see what deals were coming up, but kept the focus on the current deal. At the bottom of the email template, we included five images of different models of the automobile brand being promoted that day. For example, on day one, subscribers would see promotions for five different Aston Martin vehicles in this space. A live countdown clock at the top of the email showed how much time was left until the next day’s featured offers became available.

If the same subscriber re-opened the same email again on day two, they would notice that major changes have taken place. Now, the center image of the Range Rover is in full-color, and the five images at the bottom of the email are promoting various Range Rover models. Also, the headers of the other deal offers have changed—the Porsche is now “tomorrow” versus “Wednesday.” The experience is similar on day three. When the campaign was finished, all images turned to black & white and the call-to-action changed to visit our site for other great offers.

The last thing to point out is that the email was also mobile optimized. When opened on a mobile device, the images in the bottom section dropped underneath each other to better fit the width of a mobile screen.

Best of the Best mobile optimization

The email was also optimized for mobile device users.

BB: How did this email perform? Do you have any results you can share?
JP: Overall, the campaign was a success. We saw positive results in re-opens, revenue, repeat purchases. For re-opens, 23% of subscribers who opened the email on the first day returned to open it again on the second day. 7% of the “day 1” openers returned again on the third day.

For revenue, we experienced a 170% increase compared to our forecasted revenue for the 3 days. The campaign was launched at the start of the 15-day period, and as I mentioned earlier, we typically see the most revenue coming in toward the end of the competition. The campaign significantly lifted our early sales, which in turn increased the likelihood of repeat purchases made throughout the rest of the competition period.

Approximately 7% of customers purchased more than once. This number is much higher than what we typically see for repeat purchases during our 15-day competitions.

BB: What might you do differently if you were to launch a similar multi-day, single-email campaign in the future?
JP: We’re curious to see what would happen if instead of giving subscribers a glimpse of the upcoming offers in black-and-white, we simply showed black boxes with question marks to keep future deals a surprise until they were available. It’s unclear whether our subscribers returned to the email because they were anticipating the upcoming Range Rover or Porsche offers, or if their curiosity about upcoming, unannounced offers would have driven even more re-opens. In the future, I’d like to run an A/B test to see which option drives more re-opens and revenue. 

BB: How did Movable Ink help you out with this campaign?
JP: Our team at Movable Ink is always a reliable source of new ideas for our email campaigns. Movable Ink’s technology makes it easy for us to experiment more, and to get more creative with the emails we send.

People don’t expect interesting things to happen in their email marketing. They’re used to seeing interactivity and real-time content on the web, but that experience isn’t as common in email. Movable Ink helps us bring that experience into email to strengthen the overall effectiveness of our email marketing channel.

At Best of the Best, we rely strongly on our email program for driving visits to our site and participation in our competitions. This campaign was an entirely new approach for us, and it was risky to try something that we had never done before and weren’t sure how it would turn out. But in the end, we’re happy we did it. It was fun to experiment, and taking the risk certainly paid off for us.

For questions or to learn more about Agile Email Marketing technology from Movable Ink, reach out to us at contact@movableink.com.

Emails We Love: ESPN’s Fantasy Football Mobile App

It’s officially football season, which also means sports fans across the country are glued to checking their Fantasy Football team scores. Managing your Fantasy team while on the go is one way to stay ahead of the game—which is where ESPN’s Fantasy Football mobile app comes into play.

To promote the mobile app, ESPN sent the email shown below on the morning of the 2013 NFL Kickoff. By using Agile Email Marketing technology, the same email offered two entirely different experiences when opened on a desktop or on a mobile device.

ESPN Fantasy Football Kickoff Email

When the email is opened on desktop, the main call-to-action is to manage the team from your mobile device, and links to more information about the app’s capabilities and the various mobile platforms that are supported. Icons for the AppStore, Google Play, and Windows Phone Store are all shown.

When the same exact email is opened on a mobile device, a few major changes happen. First, the main image is an animated gif of a mobile device with the ESPN app open, scrolling through a team roster to show the functionality of the app. In the example here, the app is shown inside an iPhone screen, but if the fan happened to be using an Android or iPad to read the email, the image of the device shown would match the device actually being used. Also, the call-to-action changes to be device-specific, (notice, “Manage Your Team From Your iPhone”). When fans click on “Download The App For Free,” they are brought directly into the app’s download page on the AppStore, Google Play, or Windows Phone Store—depending the device currently in use.

ESPN gives new meaning to “mobile optimization” with this email. For more tips on how to make your mobile emails stand out, check out our “Mastering Mobile Email” series.