E-mail Strategies and Tactics Exposed: An Insider’s Look at Exceptional E-mail - This month: Amazon.com
Each month, I will evaluate exceptional e-mail communications and share my thoughts on what makes them great. This column will dissect real e-mail campaigns and highlight the individual components that make them work so well.
In the e-mail I discuss for this column, Amazon.com uses knowledge it has about my past purchases with collaborative filtering. This technique produces personal recommendations by computing the similarity between my preferences as well as others to make timely recommendations to increase my purchasing frequency. As many retailers will tell you, past purchase behavior is the best predictor of future purchases, and the performance of these campaigns nearly always validates that belief.
Amazon.com is a great brand to benchmark. It’s an impressive and powerful program and one that has on many occasions encouraged me to purchase. The graphic below (click here for a larger version) highlights the various winning components of Amazon.com’s effort.
Test personalization. It’s obvious Amazon.com knows a lot about my purchasing behavior and taps into that knowledge to build a highly customized and relevant communication stream. But the communication fails to use my name and lacks basic personalization in the greeting.
Standardize header/deliverability. Despite the fact that they have similar content, the from address lines in Amazon.com’s e-mail communications vary based on department (video, books, etc.). Amazon.com should consider standardizing from addresses and remind users to “Add to Address Book” to maximize rendering and ensure future delivery.
Test layout. Consider testing the layout or wire frame structure, and include tab links on top that provide one-click access to “Today’s Deals,” “Other Departments” or “Other Recommendations.” This may encourage additional cross-department activity and purchasing.
Michael Della Penna is co-founder and executive chairman of The Participatory Marketing Network, a new industry association dedicated to helping marketers transition from push and permission marketing to participatory marketing. Reach Michael at email@example.com.