Because You Know It’s … ALL ABOUT THAT EMAIL, ‘BOUT THAT EMAIL (No Mailman)

A quick roundup of a few virtual show sessions that will really hone in on the copy, creative and design aspects of email marketing.

Readers, pop quiz: What’s so special about Nov. 12? 

Is it:

  1. My birthday!!!
  2. The date of the famous Hill Valley Lightning Storm which allows Marty McFly to power the DeLorean with 1.21 gigawatts of electricity, sending him back to the future.
  3. The All About eMail Virtual Conference & Expo presented by eM+C and Target Marketing.

The answer, as you might have guessed, is ALL OF THE ABOVE! However, as awesome as A and B are, only option C will bring you the hottest email marketing topics, experts, and technology, right at your computer and totally free.

You can click here to sign up.

All About eMail Virtual Conference is a one-day virtual event packed with the latest and greatest in email marketing, from a robust agenda of live sessions to a lineup of expert speakers, to a virtual exhibit hall filled with the latest email marketing tech and free resources from the best in the industry.

That’s pretty much lightning-striking-the-clock-tower levels of cool for emailers like us, right?

(And yeah whatever, I know what you’re thinking, Back to the Future references were so two weeks ago. Well you’re on my blog now and every day is Back to the Future Day for me.)

I thought I’d give you just a quick roundup of a few of the sessions that will really hone in on the copy, creative and design aspects of email marketing — though really any of the content you can check out that day will be well-worth your 60-second sign-up.


You Won’t Believe It! Clickbait and Email Subject Lines
Starts: 11:50 am | Ends: 12:20 pm

If you know copywriting, you know the name Pat Friesen. She’s the author of The Cross-Channel Copywriting Handbook and a copywriter and content developer with years of experience behind her. Any session featuring Pat is bound to work magic on your email campaigns.

In this AAeM session, Pat will  examine of the controversial merits of using clickbait — made popular by sites such as Buzzfeed and Upworthy — particularly when writing email subject lines. A few talking points she’ll cover:

  • What is clickbait (and why you should care)
  • Pros and cons of its effectiveness
  • How to build curiosity that delivers
  • When is clickbait appropriate for your audience, offer and objective?
  • Plus, plenty of examples of the good, the bad and the ugly

The Truths and Myths of Email Deliverability
Starts: 12:30 pm | Ends: 1:15 pm

I know when I first walked onto the marketing scene, I was told “never use exclamation points in your subject line, it’ll go straight to spam!” The ever-omnipotent “they” say to never use buzz words like FREE or even SALE. I’m sure you could name hundreds more spam-box urban legends. And yet, we continue to see these practices, and they continue to see success.

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Yeah, Oprah, what is the truth? That’s what Ken Magill, Publisher of The Magill Report and Laura Atkins, Founder/CEO of Word to the Wise will be covering in their AAeM session. Learn the surprising answers to questions like: How many different types of spam traps are there? How do they work? And what are some of the best methods to avoid them? It’s like Snopes.com but for your email program.


The Strategic Formula for Email Conversion Success

Starts: 2:45 pm | Ends: 3:15 pm

Here’s a session I know I need for myself. Your creative process is only as good as the conversion it earns. I may think I’m hilarious for working an Oprah meme into my blog post, but what turns that Oprah meme into action?

Ben Filip, Data Scientist at MECLABS Institute, and Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content at MarketingSherpa are leading this session to help you find a method to the madness. Join them to learn a strategic formula for optimizing promotions and newsletters via email and provide case studies on companies that have done so themselves. They’ll cover:

  • How to create relevant messages that will resonate with your prospects
  • Using testing to optimize your email program
  • How to mitigate the impact of friction and anxiety on emails

All About eMail Virtual Conference will also feature sessions on leveraging technology to link direct mail and email in real time, drip marketing, using first-party data for successful CRM retargeting, the secret to creating outstanding customer engagement, how brands’ email strategies evolve across 5 key vertical markets, and really just a whole lot of true blue email marketing awesomesauce.

If you want to make Nov. 12 even more memorable than it already is: Click here to sign yourself up right now!

Can’t wait to see you there — I’ll be the one wearing the birthday crown!

8 Nifty Tools in My Copywriting Belt

Writing is hard, even when it’s at the literal core of your job … In fact, I’d wager it’s hard especially when it’s at the literal core of your job. Fortunately for us, the future is now, and it includes some seriously useful tools to help writers of all genres and industries tackle their craft, from inspiration to motivation to final draft.

Oh my God, is it just me, or do I talk a whole lot about how difficult writing is for me? I can practically hear the grumbles of dissent through my computer screen: “Like okay, we get it, words are hard, did you even realize what you were majoring in, how’d you end up with that job title?”

But in all seriousness, writing is hard, even when it’s at the literal core of your job … In fact, I’d wager it’s hard especially when it’s at the literal core of your job. Fortunately for us, the future is now, and it includes some seriously useful tools to help writers of all genres and industries tackle their craft, from inspiration to motivation to final draft.

I thought I’d share a short list of some of the secret weapon apps and sites I’ve got in my back pocket for filling that blank page and making that looming deadline. Most are free, some have free or paid versions.

I’ve attempted to order them in the fashion one might use them throughout the writing process.

1. Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator 
Here’s another little problem I’ve mentioned before: when you can’t even get an idea in your head. Hubspot’s blog topic generator does a sweet little magic trick: type in a few keywords,  click the button, and poof! Topics galore appear before your very eyes! Not bad, eh?

generator 1   generator 2

 

2. Portent’s Content Idea Generator
In a similar vein as No. 1, here’s a simple and fun tool to help get the ol’ idea wheels oiled and spinning. The headlines that pop out of this guy tend to be on the quirkier side, great for when you have room to go a little nuts.

content generator

3. Thesaurus.com
This one is fairly simple and self-explanatory. I probably visit this site a dozen or more times a day. It’s crucial for spicing up a sentence or perfecting the flow of a phrase. Of course you want to be careful — it’s always obvious when a writer has caught the dreaded “thesaurus syndrome” and gone overboard on SAT vocab that doesn’t exactly mean what you think it means. But for the times when the perfect word is just at the tips of your fingers but you can’t grasp it, it’s a saving grace.

thesaurus

4. 8tracks.com
Nobody said these had to be strictly writing-focused websites to play an integral part in the process. Music can be one of the best creativity and productivity drivers, provided you have the right music. 8tracks is a website full of user-curated playlists for every category and style under the sun. It’s great because every song has been hand-picked, so it’s not using an algorithm to guess what might be your taste, and you can find playlists specifically designed to help with the task at hand. You can search for multiple keywords, including activity, artists or genres. So, if you’re like me and work best to a little Celtic crooning, no problem.

8tracks

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5. WriteOrDie.com
Oh yeah, you read that right. Talk about motivation, amirite? If you have trouble staying focused on your writing, or focus a little too hard and spend three hours on one sentence, you might need a productivity app. If you think it may take the threat of violence or emotional torment to get your butt in gear, this is definitely app for you.The concept is simple: Set a word goal and a time frame, and write consistently to meet your goal or be punished. The “punishment” can be set as anything from sudden images of spiders to the sounds of out of tune instruments or babies crying. There’s even a “kamikaze mode,” which will begin deleting your work if you don’t continue writing quickly enough. Whew! The full version with all its settings costs $20, but there’s also a limited-feature trial version that is still effective.

writeordie

6. WrittenKitten.net
So maybe trial by fire isn’t your thing. Maybe you do need some help with motivation, but work better with a little positive reinforcement. Imagine if … every time you wrote enough words … an adorable kitten appeared. Or a puppy, or even a bunny rabbit! Welcome to Written Kitten. That’s all there is too it, really. For every 100 (subject to your setting) words you write, you’re rewarded with a photo of a cute n’ fuzzy.  Second best only to getting an actual live kitten for every 100 words.

writtenkitten

7. OmmWriter
Truth time — I credit this desktop app with allowing me to complete my senior honors thesis. It’s a perfect program if you’re a visual person, as so many writers are, and you need a way to write with little room for disruptions. The app gives you a selection of soothing, artistic backgrounds, relaxing ambient noise, and even options for keystroke noises that are pleasing to the ear to encourage continued typing. It takes up your full screen and hides your task bar, so it’s difficult to multitask or be distracted by blinking notifications or popups. The program has “no set price, but a suggested minimum of $5.11.”

omm

8. Hemingway 
This was only introduced to me recently, and I have to say I could have used it much sooner in life. Ernest Hemingway was well-known for his concise, economical style, furthered by ruthless editing. Thus, the Hemingway Editor App was aptly named. When your words are all finally typed out and in place and it’s finally time for the dreaded editing process, give this simple app a go. It uses color-coded highlighting to tell you which sentences are hard to read, which phrases have a simpler alternative, where you’ve used passive voice, and more. It even gives you an overall readability grade. It’s just like being in your freshman composition class again, with less scantron exams.

hemingway

So what’s in your copywriting toolbelt? Have you used any of these before, or found anything that works best for you? I’d love to hear them! Especially if they involve rewards in the form of kittens.

P.S. (Pumpkin Spice) I Love You

It occurred to me recently that, for a blog called Creative Caffeine, I really don’t discuss coffee enough. And this is the perfect time of year to bring it up. That said, guess what kind of coffee I was drinking as I wrote this very post …

It occurred to me recently that, for a blog called Creative Caffeine, I really don’t discuss coffee enough. And this is the perfect time of year to bring it up. That said, guess what kind of coffee I was drinking as I wrote this very post …

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I promise, it’s relevant to the post. If the “perfect time of year” hint wasn’t enough, check out this telling screencap of my email inbox:

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Yuuuup, you guessed it! That’s a delicious pumpkin spice coffee in my adorable cat mug, serving as both fuel and inspiration for today’s post — a brief overview of some of the many, many emails featuring pumpkin spice that have come my way since summer came to a close.

caribou

Subj. Line: Fall is here and so is PUMPKIN!

Kicking off with one of my favorites in terms of both design and copy, here’s an email from Caribou Coffee. I love the clean, simple design and the color scheme. The drinks themselves, of course, look very appealing. And seriously how cute is “Tick tock, it’s pumpkin o’clock?” Love it. Only thought is the CTA could be a little larger or brighter.

 zazzle

Subj. Line: ☕ This Is Big: 50% Off Mugs + 20% Off Everything Else!

Here is Zazzle capitalizing on the pumpkin spice craze to sell mugs — a clever hook. The use of steaming mug emoji in the subject line is a nice touch — also, the coupon code FALL4ANEWMUG is great. We all know I love a good pun.

dd perks

Subj. Line: NEW Macchiato, Only $1.99 for DD Perks Members!

This Dunkin Donuts email doesn’t have a ton going on by way of graphic design, but it features the star of the show– the new pumpkin macchiato drink, which looks delicious. My focus here was on the copy. They really pull off the conversational, personal tone well and stick to nice, short “paragraphs.” Confession time: I generally wouldn’t choose a DD coffee over any other if I had the option, but this email convinced me I wanted one.

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Subj. Line: Pumpkin Tea Paradise

Not a coffee fan? No worries, the flavor of the season isn’t limited to coffee — tea wanted in on the action too. Here’s an aesthetically pleasing email from Capital Teas, featuring a nicely alliterative subject line and a bonus pun (“Turn over a new leaf.”) The whole design really captures the feeling of fall. Also, I honestly think tea descriptions have some of the best copywriting next to wine descriptions. I read the backs of tea boxes for fun sometimes.

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Subj. Line: Only thing better than Pumpkin Spice… 

The “better than pumpkin spice!” theme is almost more popular than emails actually about pumpkin spice, it seems. I came across at least four with subject lines like this one, but the content of Lauren Nicole’s did the best job of following it up. The chalkboard “menu” graphic is nice, and they actually incorporated the drink into the idea of shopping — drinking a coffee while surfing the Web is always appealing.

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Subj. Line: Pumpkin Spice T-Shirts! Just $16!

Speaking of banking on the trend without actually selling any pumpkin spice products — here’s my final email, and my personal favorite, courtesy of Headline Shirts. This post served as proof of the tidal wave of pumpkin in our inboxes, and these guys were not afraid of a little gentle parody of that. It’s witty, but it also works — wouldn’t you open an email claiming proclaiming “Pumpkin Spice T-shirts,” even if out of curiosity alone? And a sale based on fall colors? AND the phrase “fall up”? I’m digging everything about this. Two enthusiastic pumpkin-spiced thumbs up.

That about wraps it up … I’m intensely craving another cuppa right now, how about you?

Happy #PSL season!

Copywriting for Mobile: Don’t Phone It In

Remember how a few entries ago I complained about the exhaustive use of the ~Millennial~ label? Well guess what, I’m owning it right here, right now. My name is Dani, I am a Millennial, and that means I’m on my phone, a lot. Like, pretty much all the time. Right now I’m typing with one hand and texting with the other.

Remember how a few entries ago I complained about the exhaustive use of the ~Millennial~ label? Well guess what, I’m owning it right here, right now. My name is Dani, I am a Millennial, and that means I’m on my phone, a lot. Like, pretty much all the time. Right now I’m typing with one hand and texting with the other. (I’m just kidding about that. Probably.)

The point is, we all know the stats on mobile usage. We’re all inundated every day with the knowledge of how much more people are relying on phones or tablets instead of computers, my generation being particularly notorious for it. We’ve all become intimate with the phrase “optimize for mobile”. Usually, we’re talking about websites and graphic design.

But us copywriters should be keeping mobile in mind too — words also need a little bit of adaptation to make the best use of such a small space — not to mention a space frequently used while multitasking. When you’re typing away at your clever, compelling copy, are you making considerations for mobile?

I know I personally often neglect this important detail. So, for my benefit as much as any reader’s, here are a few quick tips for writing copy that won’t lose impact just because the screen loses inches.

Short n’ Sweet
You probably knew this was coming, right? Just your basic “Mobile readers are on the go! Short attention spans! Concise is key!” and so on.

In this case, it’s not just about not wanting to lose the reader’s attention through long, rambling prose, but also simply about saving physical space on the screen and making text easier on the eyes by keeping both sentences and paragraphs short and clean. Larger blocks of text with few line breaks are notoriously difficult on a small screen.

When I’m conscious of this, I try to keep “paragraphs” no longer than two lines (as much as my former English major side protests.)

Grab the Bulletpoints by the Horns

  • Really
  • Bulletpoints are golden
  • They make information digestible
  • And force you to remove excess
  • They’re easy on the eyes
  • Fit nicely on a mobile screen
  • Amirite

Head for the Headers
Just a variation on the theme; it’s all about readability. Catchy, bold headers (bold in both senses of the word) to introduce each new concept are a fantastic way to both organize your copy, and to help a scroll-happy reader find exactly what they are looking for.

Remember the Inverted Pyramid 
We all learned this one in Intro to Journalism, whether we’re Boomers, Millennials, Gen Y’s, Lannisters or Starks. That Golden Rule of journalism, that looked a little something like…

Inverted_pyramid

 

I’m sure it’s ingrained in all of us by now, some of us probably have nightmares of this thing descending upon us like some sort of sharpened spear. And it’s just as well, since the inverted pyramid is great for writing any sort of copy that might be read on a phone, not just news articles.

Unfortunately, this format can’t always apply, exhibit A being this blog entry. But if you can swing it, those short attention spans and likelihood of multitasking would be best served by cramming as much of the meat and potatoes as your message will allow in the first few sentences, with the side of veggies toward the end.

Let’s Get Visual (Visual) 
Speaking of that image of the inverted pyramid above — visuals can be a vital ingredient in your mobile copy stew. Have you ever noticed that you’ll look at the graphics in an email or actually read an infographic with much more attention on your phone screen than your computer screen?

When faced with a lot of text or pictures in a small space, our brains just respond more easily to the visuals. The eye is naturally drawn to images, especially if we need a break from or better understanding of what we’re reading.

 

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This got your attention, right?

Images with relevant, interesting information (like infographics) is a great way to ensure the reader is still getting what you want them to get out of your copy. Photos of my cat looking surprised might not be the best example of this, I just wanted you to look at a photo of my cat.

To Wrap it Up…
This blog entry is now 722 words and I have effectively followed maybe two words of my own advice. Like I said, I needed this entry and the consideration that went into it too. Props if you did read this post on mobile.

If you have any tricks up your sleeve for mobile-friendly copy, any particular guidelines you’ve found most effective, please share in the comments! Feel free to share pictures of your cat too, it’s only fair.

 

Go Ahead, Watch the Cat Video

Let’s all be honest about something here. As a matter of course, each and every one of us, at one time or another, will put off an important assignment in order to watch one, two or 36 cat videos on YouTube. There’s no shame in it. Cat videos are what make us human, after all. (I think that’s Shakespeare … Thoreau, maybe?)

Let’s all be honest about something here. As a matter of course, each and every one of us, at one time or another, will put off an important assignment in order to watch one, two or 36 cat videos on YouTube. There’s no shame in it. Cat videos are what make us human, after all. (I think that’s Shakespeare … Thoreau, maybe?)

The question is, what’s the significance of all this? Why am I writing about it on a blog that’s meant to chronicle the life and times of a copywriter? The answer is … because cat videos are important to me. But also, because science says I can, that’s why.

This entry isn’t specifically about copywriting or subject lines or email design… but it is about a proven way to bolster creativity, rejuvenate a tired mind, and make you an overall happier worker.

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This is an actual picture of my cat watching a cat video. I feel like a better writer already.

A study published earlier this summer in the journal Computers in Human Behavior surveyed over 7,000 people on their emotional and practical responses to viewing “cat-related media” online, as well as the motivations behind seeking out the videos. The study resulted in the following conclusions:

  • Participants overwhelmingly reported fewer negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness and annoyance after watching cat videos
  • Participants were more energetic and felt more positive after watching cat-related online media
  • Often, participants sought out cat videos while at work or while studying
  • For the majority, the pleasure resulting from watching these videos significantly outweighed guilt felt about procrastinating

“Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional pay-off may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward,” said the study’s author, Indiana University assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick, in a press release.

And hey, that bit about feeling more energetic and positive? Here’s a quick little video explaining more of the science-y stuff behind that, complete with words like “oxytocin” and “cortisol.” The gist: watching cat videos is proven to help your brain release more happiness hormones and suppress stress hormones, thus giving you a natural boost of energy and motivation.

Basically, what I’m taking away from all this is that if you’re having one of those days at work when you just can’t fight the writer’s block or it’s 2 pm and your brain feels like mush and the coffee machine is just too far away, and you’re feeling a lot like Grumpy Cat, watching a cat video could be exactly the creative caffeine (creative catffeine, if you will) that you need to get back in gear.

Just for the record, it’s not like I wrote this blog entry specifically to excuse my own habits or convince any co-workers of anything. Scout’s honor, I swear. And if I just happen to have a list of the 14 greatest cat videos of 2014 bookmarked, as well as a livestream showing about a dozen kittens live on camera 24/7/365, well, it’s all in the name of better writing and motivation.

Can’t thank you enough, Science, this is exactly the kind of progress and discovery I’m here for.

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I always knew Lil Bub would help me get ahead in the workforce.

13 Copywriting Quick Tips, Brought to You by IMV15

A few takeaways from the Integrated Marketing Virtual show which stuck with me as particularly helpful for copywriting purposes.

Did you get a chance to check out the Integrated Marketing Virtual Conference? It was live on August 13, but all sessions are now available on demand. The virtual show is co-presented by Target Marketing and is all about helping marketers and marketing service providers gather highly actionable tools and resources for the most effective integrated marketing efforts.

I was able to attend most of the live sessions, and I just wanted to share a few takeaways which stuck with me as particularly helpful for copywriting purposes. Even sessions not strictly focused on copy/creative had tips that could easily apply!

Morning Keynote: How Mindful Marketers Thrive in a Data-Driven World
Featuring: Lisa Nirell; Author, “The Mindful Marketer: How to Stay Present and Profitable in a Data-Driven World.”

A session all about being as clear-headed and deliberate in your marketing as possible, learning to tune out all distractions in a distraction-heavy world to the benefit of your marketing.

  • Research shows only about 2 percent of all people are actually able to multitask effectively – so most likely, our phones and emails should ideally be off and out of reach while trying to write the most focused and engaging messages no matter how good at it we think we are.
  • “You’re just not going to get your best ideas sitting at your desk.One of Nirell’s suggestions is even to go to an entirely unrelated quiet place like an art museum to try and better foster creativity while working on your projects.
  • Use more intentional language – Lisa explains the subtle differences between words that imply aggression or desperation, and words which imply a helpful and accommodating relationship with the reader, i.e.: pursue and push vs. nurture and shepherd.

Reaching Across Generations: The best ways to message from Baby Boomers to Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z
Featuring: Dr. Howard Moskowitz, Award-winning Marketing Researcher and Psychophysicist and Luke Heffron, SVP Integrated Marketing, sg360.

The title is self-explanatory. So what key takeaways did I get from this session about copywriting?

  • Similar viewpoints exist in every generation.
  • “You have to empirically discover each viewpoint,” then tailor your viewpoint message to that generation, rather than assuming a major disconnect in views between the ages.
  • Example: A buyer’s viewpoint might be “eco-driven” whatever their generation, but a millennial might just need to hear “good for the earth” where a Boomer would resonate with “healthier for the family.”

How to Overcome the 3 Most Common Content Marketing Barriers to Increase Traffic and Conversions
Featuring: Dan Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute and MarketingSherpa.

A fascinating session on how leading brands connect with their customers using content marketing as part of a multichannel strategy and major mistakes to avoid. Copywriting takeaways, especially in the context of content creation:

  • Good content is focused on the audience and message, not the medium.
  • Message should be helpful, educational, sharable, and mostly non-promotional.
  • These hugely helpful tips for writing blog posts as content marketing (whoa, getting meta here).Capture

This list is in no way exhaustive. With over six hours of integrated marketing sessions, free resources and sponsor booths, it’s definitely in your interest to pop into the show during its on demand period and take in all the marketing smarts you can stuff into your cranium. Additional sessions cover topics like MarTech, creating profitable video, the return of direct mail and plenty more.

If you’re interested in more hot tips and tricks from the best in the biz, you can click here and sign up for your free, instant access to the show. It’ll be available until November 17.

This Is a Callout Post! (It’s a Post About Call to Action Buttons, Okay.)

I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes the trickiest part of creating a good email is actually one of the smallest details — the call to action. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for new and creative ways to grab the readers’ attention, and draw them in for that all-important click.

I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes the trickiest part of creating a good email is actually one of the smallest details — the call to action (CTA).

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have a little bit of a complex when it comes to not doing the same thing over and over in my copy. So I always flinch just a little bit giving instructions to the art department for the same, basic “REGISTER NOW!” or “BUY NOW!” button in its usual red or orange rectangle.

That’s why I’m always on the lookout for new and creative ways to grab the readers’ attention, and draw them in for that all-important click. Join me on this journey to find CTAs with interesting, eye-catching designs and/or clever phrasing sure to serve its purpose.

Here are a handful I found, in no particular order.

Modcloth
Modcloth is always solid in their emails — they have a recognizable aesthetic and tone that resonates well with their young, quirky female target, and their CTAs are no exception. I included a few here because I couldn’t choose one that was “best”!

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(This one was part of an April Fool’s themed email.)

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Jetsetter
Here’s one that made good use of content in its CTA, in addition to the offered deal itself. This email included savings on trips to various major cities, with articles on why they’re great destinations, to entice the reader. Links for the promo codes come right after.

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A.C. Moore
Here’s a cute, playful CTA for artsy folk, from A.C. Moore.

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Road Runner Sports
These Road Runner Sports buttons aren’t too fancy, but the bold color is eye-catching and I appreciated the very clear, easy-to-navigate categories. Often email promos will have different links to several sections of the website, but they are spaced out and require a lot of scrolling to see. If I already know what I want to shop for, I’m much more likely to click when it’s laid out for me right at the start like this.

7

Adidas
How fun are these? No further commentary needed.

8

Zumiez
Might as well stick with the shoe theme! This comes from Zumiez. Just a simple, transparent rectangle with a bold, simple font and a bold border. While it looks fairly basic, it’s a change from the solid-filled box that I know I use a lot in emails. I’ve noticed this transparent style in a few other big-name retailers as well, like Abercrombie & Fitch and 6PM.com, as well as that April Fool’s ModCloth email earlier in the post. It does have a certain elegance to it, don’t you think?

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Birchbox
Birchbox, like Modcloth, has a fun, girly flair to it. I found two examples of CTAs that both definitely catch the eye, and use unique language.

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Bed Bath and Beyond
I like these “clearance tag”-styled Bed Bath and Beyond links.

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Lyris
Lyris had a simple spin on the typical webinar register button. These appeared at both the beginning and the end of the copy. It’s simple, as the look for a professional webinar should be, but the rounded edges, rich color and even the reverse type make for an aesthetically pleasing design. “Reserve Your Spot Now” gives a little more of a sense of urgency than just the “Register Now.”

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Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2015 Growth Conference
Finally, for another non-retail example, here’s a little something from an email promoting Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2015 Growth Conference. Couple of elements I like: the promo code included in the CTA, the underlined emphasis on REGISTER TODAY, and of course the little cursor graphic that my eye went to immediately. (Don’t you always just feel the need to line up your cursor with it when you see something like this? Or is that just me?)

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That’s just from a quick sift through my own inbox and WhosMailingWhat.com. I hope you’re feeling called to action now … that is, inspired for your next email. As always, feel free to leave a comment and tell me any other great examples you might have for these tricky little guys. This blog serves as my own learning tool as much as anything else!

See ya in two weeks!

DO NOT EMAIL | DEAD INSIDE

Even if zombies of the gory, man-eating, emotionally grueling sort aren’t up your alley, I bet you’ve dealt with a totally different type of zombie. This is the type of zombie that pops up in your inbox unabated, groaning out its mindless, numbing, impersonal message. I’m talking about the dreaded, indestructible, zombie email.

After the release of both a trailer and poster for the AMC prequel series, “Fear the Walking Dead,” it’s been an eventful summer for zombie fans. The prequel to the similarly-named hit series “The Walking Dead” premieres in August and covers the onset of the plague that has turned half of humanity into flesh-hungry corpses.

Personally, I’m a fan of the original The Walking Dead series, but even if zombies of the gory, man-eating, emotionally grueling sort aren’t up your alley, I bet you’ve dealt with a totally different type of zombie. You’ve probably come across them at least once daily, if not more.

This is the type of zombie that pops up in your inbox unabated, groaning out its mindless, numbing, impersonal message. I’m talking about the dreaded, indestructible zombie email.

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“How did they find us Dad? We didn’t even opt in…”

They’re repetitive, they’re relentless, they’ll eat your brains and worst of all, they won’t get your marketing message across. And, like any zombie epidemic — they could happen to you. That’s why the brave soldiers at Mailify put together a foolproof zombie-email-survival-plan in the form of a nifty infographic that I felt it was my civic duty to share with you all.

You can click here to check it out, or just keep scrolling.

“Recently there has been a dramatic rise in email zombies roaming around in readers’ inboxes,”  Eric Krattenstein, CMO of Mailify warns, “They are void of any intelligence, impersonal and sometimes dangerous. Email zombies spring up out of nowhere and pile high in your inboxes, causing them to become inhospitable wastelands. Don’t succumb to the virus!”

With classic zombie survival tactics from planning, to rationing, to choosing your weapon, this guide will help you come out the other side of the email zombie apocalypse a badass marketing survivor with an arsenal of winning emails under your belt.

Good luck, friend.

The Emailing Dead Final

The 9 Stages of Writing a Blog Post, Demonstrated by Minions

It’s a Friday afternoon in summer, the office feels like a winter night on Pluto, and we technically got out of work an hour early today but I’m still here, determined to provide you all with top-quality blog content. … And so, I present: “A Copywriter’s Journey, As Told By Minions.”

Honestly? I’ve always wanted to do a Buzzfeed-esque “name stuff and include a gif” type of post. Because I’m a (say it with me everybody …) Millennial! It’s what we do.

It’s a Friday afternoon in summer, the office feels like a winter night on Pluto, and we technically got out of work an hour early today but I’m still here, determined to provide you all with top-quality blog content, so that day is clearly today.

And what better to use as my visual than the yellow-and-blue plague (admittedly adorable plague) that seems to have swept every visible surface of the earth? The Minions. Can’t look anywhere these days without seeing them in all their overalled glory, so why not my blog, too?

They don’t speak any discernible language, but somehow they speak to our hearts. And so, I present: “A Copywriter’s Journey, As Told By Minions.”

1. The Blank Page

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This guy is like, 97 percent of the full process for me.

2. The Lightbulb Moment

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“Yes … a blog post with MINIONS … it’s genius!”

3. The Part Where Words Start to Happen (AKA The False Sense of Security)

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Oh, you’ve totally got this. Nothing to worry about at all.

4. The Self Doubt

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“On second thought, this is literally the worst idea I’ve ever had in my entire life.”

5. The Dreaded Writer’s Block

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I’ve actually never seen a better representation.

6. The Approaching Deadline

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EVERYBODY PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

7. This Stage

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Needs no explanation.

8. The Second Wave

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It might be 10 minutes to press time (do we still have those on the Internet?), but you’ve got this for real this time.

9. PARTY TIME

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WEEEEEEE ARE THE CHAAAAAMPIOOONS MY FRIIIEEEEENDS …

And all that’s left is to wake up tomorrow and do it all over again! Thanks for the help, Minions. I’ll see you on every billboard, fast food advertisements, and I’ll see you at the movies! (And virtually everywhere else.)

Minions © 2015 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS.

The Difference a Word Makes (Or Doesn’t?) in a Subject Line

(Note: You have to read this in your best Movie Trailer Voice.)

In a world where subject lines dominate … can one word truly make a difference? One copywriter sets out to learn just that …

Okay, you can go back to your normal voice now. This probably doesn’t actually rank up there with the most dramatic endeavors I’ve ever encountered, but was a pretty interesting test for future reference, and I’d love to know if anyone has done similar experiments and gotten similar results.

Last week, we started promotion of our annual Integrated Marketing Virtual Conference for 2015. First, I just want to note that for the first time, we incorporated video into our regular email campaign. We had Thorin, the editor-in-chief of Target Marketing, record a short “video invitation” to the virtual event, and linked to the video in the email blast.

It was an easy and engaging way to promote an integrated marketing event with, well, integrated marketing. I’ve included it here so you can see what it looked like. All in all, a very successful effort.

Video Email for IMV15

But, as always, without a good subject line no one would even make it to the well-designed HTML. So our question was, how much of a difference might it make to tell the recipient outright that they’d find a video in the email? Would it make a difference at all?

A/B tests to the rescue: We tested two subject lines, evenly split, and they were identical aside from one word.

Version 1: See why you need to be there for IMV 2015!

Version 2: See why you need to be there for IMV 2015! [Video]

Any guesses as to which did better? I assumed Version 2 would have, reasoning that people might be more excited to watch a video clip than read what might just be a block of text.

Here’s how it actually shook out: Version 1 (See why you need to be there for IMV 2015!), nudged its way to victory with an open rate .6% higher and a viewed image rate also .6% higher than version 2 (See why you need to be there for IMV 2015! [Video]). Their click rates were exactly the same.

So in actuality, more people were compelled to open an email that did not tout some sort of video. My theory is that it may have simply read a little more like a casual greeting, and a little less like a promotion. However, I also feel these numbers are just a little too close to draw a firm conclusion, and this question would be best answered by looking at the results from at least a few more attempts of the same experiment.

Have you noticed a difference in subject lines that mention video (or any other specific form of media,) vs. those that don’t? I’d love to hear what you’ve tried and observed.

(In the meantime, don’t mind my little shameless plug — please check out Integrated Marketing Virtual Conferencelive from your desk on August 13, and totally free!)