After working on email marketing for many years, I have certainly seen many examples of the good, the bad and the ugly, with many unfortunately falling into the latter two.
However, one brand is leading the way with an email newsletter that has kept me hooked for nearly two years with fresh and engaging content.
The industry has become focused on segmentation and targeting, and rightly so.
The opportunity to deliver highly targeted communications to the most relevant people at the most relevant time delivers impressive results, as I saw when open rates topped 50% during my time at Warner Breaks.
However, segmenting your lists and measuring results is only half the story, and provides limited success if you forget to invest time and energy in the content.
So many companies are guilty of sending out emails that contain uninspiring content, simply because we need to get something out of the door.
One of the biggest challenges is for brands that do not retail their products online, so don't have the excuse to send special offers, promotions and "thought you might be interested" emails.
These companies want to build brand loyalty and promote their products, but need to think of more creative ways to do so.
One company that shines is Innocent Smoothies, which has been sending me a weekly newsletter each Wednesday afternoon since early 2006.
Aside from the obvious "new recipes" it is difficult to think what Innocent could write about, but each week they do a fabulous job of sharing news from their team, charity fundraising, environmental projects, competitions and general nonsense such as the Official Moustache database.
Their tone is chatty, often jokey, perfect for their audience, creating the feeling of a warm and friendly group of friends that I would have no issue with having over for dinner.
How many other companies start their emails with:
"Whoopee-doo, it’s September. Haven’t the months just flown by, unless you’ve been in prison – then it’s probably dragged a bit. Anyway, we’re here now, so sit back, relax and prepare yourself for autumn and some exciting news about Roy Walker’s second coming."
Their creative isn't even particularly flashly, relatively unchanged in 2 years, but still it remains one of the only pieces of email marketing I look forward to receiving each week.
And the measure of success? Well in their recent Big Knit charity campaign, Innocent had 350,000 entries raising £175,000 for Age Concern, a campaign largely publicised virally over the internet.
Praise to the innocent team, and let other email marketers follow their example.
In a world of segmentation of analysis, let's not forget the content, something I have been guilty myself on many occasions.