Monday, May 18, 2009

Gevalia's E-Marketing Snafu Highlights Common Online Errors

A feature in the May 2009 issue of Target Marketing by Denny Hatch highlights a common pitfall with e-marketing -- getting the all-important subject line wrong. Yipes. The author states:

One Monday in March, the following subject line turned up in my inbox: $168 Coffee Lover’s Promo From Gevalia.

I started to delete it when suddenly it dawned on me that Gevalia Kaffe was nuts to ask a stranger for $168 in the middle of a recession. I clicked through, and the landing page proclaimed that I could receive a coffee maker, carafe, travel mug and two boxes of coffee (worth $168 retail) for $22.95 (plus shipping and handling). The writer stated the offer bass-ackward.

Hatch goes on to describe the importance of the subject, or teaser line, highlighting what we all know to be true: we have about 3 seconds to be enthralled, captivated, and lured in by the subject line, or we delete and move on to the next item. Period. So using something that is boring, such as "summer e-news from (insert your business here)" is clearly fatal in a direct marketing online campaign. Also, using a phrase or catch line that is too long could be a disaster if the most important key words are...dare I say it...cut off.

So what went wrong? The error sailed by the editors, proofreaders, designers, and product managers. Hatch writes that in this scenario, the company could have benefited by retaining the services of an experienced proofreader (hey, that's me...) who could have easily spotted the error.

In what I supposed is a fitting ending to this sad story, a new e-mail was sent out to correct the problem, with the adjusted price of $22.95 specifically mentioned. Only problem was, the price was cut off from the subject line, as the copy was too long. Hmmm...

Do you have an -marketing snafu story? Coffee, anyone?

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