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Anatomy of a Successful Email Marketing Newsletter (CrowdSPRING)


By Chris - Posted on 14 May 2010

99% of email newsletters sent by technology service providers are lame, yet a recent newsletter I received from crowdSRING (online market for creative work like web design, logos, branding, etc. http://crowdspring.com) had me not only open it, but I actually read the whole thing.

Let's pick it apart piece by piece.

From Address:

Email was sent by "crowdSPRING". It is important to note this is actually the first and last time they pushed their brand in the email.

Subject Line:

"How Groupon could save your business."

A short, enticing subject line that elicits a purpose and goal the reader might obtain by reading the email. The key point is it's not even remotely associated with crowdSPRING.

This change-up catches people by surprise. The email might actually be interesting since it is about something that is absolutely unrelated to the vendor's services.

First Impression:

Rather than plaster the company letterhead across the top of the email, we find a quick "table of contents" organizing the structure of the message. This accomplishes 2 things. First, it allows me to decide if I will actually read this email, second, I can jump directly to the content I'm interested in.

Content Structure:

The content includes short 3-4 line "teaser" summaries rather than pasting the whole article, each linking back to the vendor's site. The "teaser effect" is effective as it conserves space and maximizing content display in a thoughtful way as one would use when organizing blog content on a webpage. I don't get the overwhelming effect typical of long blocks of text with multiple paragraphs.

Rather than picking one style of organizing content, sections are broken up with multiple patterns. The next section is heavier on images and lighter on text, the same way a magazine sidebar breaks up content and allows the user to skim the content and keep interest.

Multiple text formatting styles:

In the bottom half of the email, summary "teasers" are inserted again, but with more content and smaller fonts. Here, in the lower half of the email you can be a little more aggressive, since someone is really reading your email if they've bothered to read this far down.

Call to Action:

Rather than succumbing to old-era marketing tactics and circling back to pushing products, the call to action is in participating in a future newsletter and joining the community of similar readers in submitting stories about their own adventures in small business digital marketing! What patience and reserve! Bravo!

Footer/Conclusion:

To summarize the purpose of the email and connect the gap between this email message and the company who sent it, a brutally direct question is listed: "WHO ARE YOU? WHAT IS THIS?" Awesome!

Again showing reserve and artful composition yet breaking through the corporate-speak and phony, contrived thankfulness typical of email marketing campaigns. This speaks directly to the question one might have when reading the article in a way that humanizes the message.

Tone:

Again, rather than resorting to pretentious messaging about how this email was sent by a company who is so important Earth might suddenly swing out of orbit if it didn't continue in business, the language here is silly, almost sarcastic, but yet HONEST and HUMBLE in presenting exactly who wrote it -- simply a company who'd like to keep your attention for a few seconds long enough away from eleven billion other emails to realize they are trying to provide some sliver of value. No cheesy corporate mission statements and hardly a "plug" for other services, just a straightforward dose of realism.

Unsubscribe Link:

Continuing with the goofy tone, the unsubscribe link reads: "Just not into us anymore? Unsubscribe"

No legal mumbo-jumbo just straight talking. To be compliant with CAN-SPAM regs, a light font lists the address of origin in whimsical tone: "The crowdSPRING crew hangs out at 1200 West Lake Street in Chicago IL 60607."

Social links:

Want to continue the conversation with these fine people, well they've included links to their Twitter and Facebook feeds for your convenience.

And now I will list the Pomeroy School of Marketing as a foundational element of my daily spamming strategy. If only you could fit in R-E-A-L-P-I-N-G...

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Chris Pomeroy is a web technology sales professional, web designer, and aspiring entrepreneur based in Boston.

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