E-mail Marketing Smackdown – Clarisonic Marketing? Piece

Ian Lurie

In this episode, Clarisonic illustrates how to produce a truly awful e-mail marketing piece:

clarisonic e-mail breaks the spam barrier

The subject line was Time sensitive: Help us tonight at 8 PM and get a free brush head.

Yikes. Here’s what I’d change to make this better:

  1. Change the tone. The writing style in this reads like it was sent by a spammer. I actually spent an hour trying to figure out if this was an elaborate scam by a competitor. Use a more personable tone.
  2. Get rid of the all caps text at the bottom.
  3. Change the process. Right now, Clarisonic promises to refund the $25 you pay, after you pay it. The email’s a bit skimpy on details, though. How exactly is this going to work? This only adds to the sense that this e-mail is a scam. Instead, provide a discount code. I’d be more comfortable getting $20 off and paying $5. No, the brush wouldn’t be free – but I’d see the discount in my cart. I wouldn’t have to pay $25 and then hold my breath, hoping Clarisonic would just give back my money.
  4. Better explain yourself. I think that my e-mail address will act as a discount code. The e-mail says “When you make your purchase, please use the e-mail address to which this e-mail was sent.”. Just say what you mean!: “Use your e-mail address during checkout. We’ll use your e-mail address as a discount code and give you an immediate refund”.
  5. Proofread. The second sentence says “wed like to load our online storefront…”. It should read “we’d like to load our online storefront…”.
  6. Check the code. Right now, the HTML code for this e-mail is a mess of Microsoft-generated gobbledygook. I’m not just being anal-retentive. This code makes most spam filters shriek in alarm. Cleaner, more standards-compliant HTML would create less of a red flag for these filters, and increase the odds that the e-mail actually gets to folks’ inboxes.

Oh, and one last idea: Don’t send me an e-mail recruiting me to test your web site. That doesn’t make me want to buy from you. I want you to test the site before I visit.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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