I know that I tend to very (overly?) critical of email marketing campaigns. Can you really blame me, though? It is my job.

But...every so often, I get an email that rocks my world. An email that nails it. An email that practices what all of us crazy, passionate email marketers (you know who you are) preach.

Buckle up.

Sidestep emailed me on October 21st to tell me that they were breaking off our email relationship. 

 Reviewing from the top...

  1. From Name: SideStep. Seems obvious as that's who sent it, right? Some companies miss on this one by sending it from a human...a person that nobody knows and can't identify with.
  2. Subject Line: "Goodbye from SideStep." Killer. I opened immediately.
  3. Brevity: Email is concise, direct, to the point. Simple text with one (relevant) image.
  4. Clear Call to Action: Actionable item is very straightforward - do nothing or unsubscribe.
  5. Rendering: Looks nice with both images on and off.
  6. Unsubscribes: Several (3) opportunities to unsubscribe - link in copy, button (viewable with images on), link in footer.
  7. Copy: Quirky, but very consistent with SideStep culture. Very much as I would have predicted.

Great stuff, huh?

However, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't have at least one suggestion for SideStep. So, here it goes. The email states that if I do nothing, since I've "opened the email," they will continue to send me emails. Unfortunately, this statement is not entirely true. As many have blogged about in the past, an "open" is not really an open. Opens are recorded only if images are enabled. SideStep's wonderful design of their email for images off can actual hurt them. Because this email tells me everything I need to know before enabling images, I don't really have any reason to turn them on. If I don't turn on images, I've actually not really "opened" the email. Therefore, "doing nothing" will, in reality, mean that I will not continue to receive email from SideStep.

My recommendation to SideStep would be to include some language encouraging subscribers to enable/turn on images OR actively reconfirm their interest ("Continue my email subscription").

While this may seem like a minor point, it is definitely important and worth noting. I'll let it slide - for now.

DJ Waldow
Director of Best Practices and Deliverability at Bronto