All posts in ‘E-mail Gallery’

Thursday, 26 January 2012

There’s a Monkey in My Newsletter!

ThinkGeek’s online shop – which I describe in short at I love e-commerce – also has a newsletter and it turned up in my inbox on Cyber Monday – of course.

1. This is what the newsletter looks like when the pictures are blocked. There are alt-texts in all the pictures so we can understand what they contain and the picture sizes are mentioned in most cases.

2. The height of the big picture at the top isn’t stated though. The result is that this particular picture, which is very big, is comprised to a narrow string, so the first text paragraph lands high up. The reader is thus able to read the text without having to scroll the page. So the people who’ve coded this newsletter are evidently skillful and know how to do this.

3. The buttons atop are made in text and not in pictures, which otherwise is quite commonly done. Text buttons are always clear and visible. It’s not easy to make text buttons clear and trim in e-mail clients, but in this case they have really succeeded.

4. They have squeezed in the reduction code ”Cybermonday” in the preheader also, which you can see in the inbox together with the subject line – they combine the subject line and the preheader in this newsletter. The preheader is like an answer to the subject line. Good!

5. This is a good-looking letter with fun and catching graphics. It’s easily noticed when people work a little extra and make their own graphics instead of buying pictures; it makes the newsletter much more interesting and enticing. The monkey also turns up on their site when you want to ask for help. They have built up a clear theme around this monkey – whose name is Timmy – and you immediately recognize the company because of Timmy in combination with the ”geeky” graphics.

6. They also have a fantastic footer with quick links to various product categories on their site and also contact information out of the ordinary. Apart from telephone numbers and information about where to turn concerning orders, they ask the customer to get in touch with them with comments and ideas. Finally they tell the customers that their data are safe with the company and will never leave ThinkGeek.

The content of the newsletter contains offers, but also prize competitions (the winners are presented in the newsletters too). A good way of giving the customers a sense of engagement.

7. The interesting background picture is made so that it ”disappears” in a nice way without disturbing the look of the newsletter in, for instance, Gmail and other webmail clients where it doesn’t work.

The newsletter works perfectly well in a smart phone too. The text is big enough and very clear, so I need not to zoom in to be able to read the text.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Clearly Structured Newsletters with Enticing Preheaders

I believe I’m talking on behalf of both myself and Sarah when I say that simple and clearly structured newsletters are the best. Sarah noticed this newsletter on Campaign Monitor’s site and thought it was a good example.

I like the way Calligaris keep the letter short and how they have divided it into clear sections.

1. The preheader, that is placed before the header in a mail, is more in focus directly in the inbox in modern e-mail clients. Calligaris give their preheader plenty of space since they let it run across the whole width of the newsletter. Why this is such a good thing you’ll see in the screen shots far below in this post.

2. The main content is graphically very spectacular and it almost looks like a picture, but it is in fact made as a text in various colors and sizes. This mail with a good balance between text and pictures easily passes through any spam filter.

3. The big picture is a gif animation shifting between two different pictures – a smart solution to keep the newsletter short – you don’t have to have several big pictures. Gif animations don’t work in some e-mail clients, but that doesn’t matter so much since the first picture in the animation always is visible anyhow.

4. Clarifying links with texts and icons, in order to forward the letter or to like it on Facebook.

5. Address and a link with a map to the store is of course a kind of information the customers want.

6. A link to instant unsubscription – exactly how it should be.

This is how the newsletter looks in an iPhone, and like I said, the preheader is exposed directly in the inbox.

The same is true for a Mac, in the new Mail. Apple shows the preheader directly in the inbox. It’s possible to turn it off if you don’t like it, but now you can see not less than three parts with the standard settings in the e-mail client:

A. Name of the sender
B. Subject line
C. Preheader

To sum up: Think twice about how you use the preheader in your newsletters! More and more people can see it even before they open your e-mail.

This is a very well-made newsletter and I’ll give it four hearts.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Bodum Newsletter

The Danish family company BODUM presents this neat and simple newsletter:

1. A clean header with a clear sender.

2. A fine product picture with a personal greeting. It’s important to say hello to the subscriber before you try to sell something. It’s like in “real” life: You do greet the customer before you present your products or services, don’t you? Not everybody likes to have offers thrown into their faces, just like that…

3. They briefly list their products with a clear product picture, an informative text, price, and a distinct green “Buy online”-button to the right which brings you directly to their web shop.

4. Sweepstakes work well in newsletters. In this case BODUM links to the sweepstakes on Facebook. Sarah and myself have seen unusually high activities in newsletters where they emphasize various possibilities to win prizes.

5. An informative footer with links to the channels on YouTube and Facebook. Also notice the little link “Privacy”. If you click there you end up on a page where you’ll find this text:

Any personal information gathered by us will be used solely for the purpose of order processing. We will not sell, traffic or hire out your personal data to third parties.

We like!

6. Note that the buy button isn’t a picture, so it’s visible even when the pictures are blocked. Well done! I’m sorry to say though, that they’ve forgotten the alt-texts for the product pictures.

Unfortunately the product picture on the top of the page is inverted in an iPhone. I think they might have saved the picture in a wrong way. But apart from that the newsletter works well also here.

What is evident is that BODUM has missed out concerning the alt-texts and a better preheader. Otherwise everything is neat and clear. Four hearts out of five!

I bought these big tea mugs with rubbergrips in various colors. I do recommend them. They’re awesome!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Fine Contrasts in a Margin Adjusted Newsletter

This newsletter from Raymond Weil – which I receive once a month – is a very simple, but stylish newsletter. I do like the design; it’s special enough despite the simplicity and the narrow format. The balance between text and picture is perfect and the contrasts are stark. They place the pictures in an unusual way and overlap the margin to the left. Really stylish!

Raymond Weil Newsletter

Another fine detail – which you don’t really notice at first sight – add a lot to the design: The text is margin adjusted. The text paragraphs make square blocks since they form a straight line on both sides. This is something you usually do in printed matters and it doesn’t always work out so well on a computer screen. It often creates big apertures between the words – especially in Swedish where we often use long compounds. I – for one – would never use this technique for a Swedish webpage.

But in English it works much better and in this newsletter it looks really good. And it works equally good in an iPhone thanks to the narrow format of 500 pixels in width.

Raymond Weil Newsletter

Raymond Weil’s newsletter has no problem with the spam filters and I’ll give it three hearts for a stylish letter and for fine watches. As for the rest, the content isn’t quite that interesting, I’m sorry to say.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Wilma&friends

Catharina Östlund of Wilma&friends asked me on Twitter if I wanted to have a look at their newsletter and comment on it. And of course, I was happy to do so!

So me and Christopher have studied it and Catharina generously allowed us to write a blog post on the subject.

This is how the newsletter looks:

Wilma&friends

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that the letter is pretty good-looking. It’s airy, simple, and well thought-out. The design and the structure reminds us of their web site. Both Christopher and myself are in full agreement about the fact that Catharina has implemented many things that we seldom see in a newsletter.

These are our comments to Catharina:

  • A well-structured letter. The readers get a good overview and can therefore quickly find what is interesting for them.
  • Maybe you should shorten the sub-heading. (The Opening of Our New Web – New Design – New Functions – New Brands! Help Us Celebrate!) In quite a few email clients that sentence will be cut, since it’s too long. Not more than 49 characters (blanks included) if you want to feel sure.
  • Try to be more personal and substantial in the headline. You often feel more secure when you’re broad and general, but it might – on the other hand – cause a lot of readers to loose interest. Suggestion for a headline: ”Tea Towels from Ferm – Free Shipping”. (We are well aware of the fact that neither Christopher nor me are good at writing apt headlines for a business we don’t know very well, but hopefully the principle is clear!) Be accurate and personal in all headlines AND in the text of the newsletter.
  • Maybe you should move some of the text a little further up considering those who have blocked pictures. You’re given more chances of whetting the appetite of those who scroll down the page.
  • Add a pre-header.
  • Translate the footer into Swedish.
  • Add the personal signature at the very bottom of your website to your newsletter.
  • It might be a good idea to add more elements from your website to your newsletter. For instance:
    • The same olive-green color also in the newsletter (as on the website).
    • Olive-green or pink headlines, the same as on the website.
    • Black, underlined links in bold – as on the website.

Catharina does the same as we do: She uses MailChimp’s tool for free since we still haven’t reached that many email subscribers yet. The logotype at the very bottom of the newsletter is a must since MailChimp is so kind to let you use their tool free of charge. And so far we haven’t experienced any negative attention at all because of that. One thing we find really nice about it is that MailChimp lets you choose a little regarding the look of their logotype; they have a few various looks to choose from. And if you want another color – well, that’s also possible. Really nice, isn’t it?

So, Catharina, you have a very handsome newsletter. We’re so happy that we had the opportunity to study it and thank you for letting all our readers share your letter and our suggestions. We like!

Since the things we wanted to change were minor ones and we feel that Catharina’s thinking here is absolutely right, I’ll give her 4 hearts out of 5.

If your curiosity is aroused – then you’ll find Catharina’s blog here.

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