Dec 17, 2008

Selling PDF Reports in Emails: Buy vs. View Sample

Here’s an interesting email I got from Ad Age:

The keywords, "Great Depression" and "deep recession" got my attention (they appeared in my preview pane), so I scrolled down to read about this report.

The first thing I thought was, "I bet the gray VIEW-A-SAMPLE button got way more clicks than the red BUY-NOW button" Nice idea. Then I wondered what kind of effort they actually put into converting people from "sample-to-trial."

So I clicked the gray button, read the sample, found the "purchase" link on the sample, and it took me to the shopping cart to purchase. Okay, they put some thought into it. Nice.

Then I went back to the email, and said "What if someone actually just wanted to click the red button to BUY?"

I’m sorry to report that the BUY button failed:

Kept taking me to a "Promo code is not valid" error.

All is not lost. If the link was sent through a redirect script (such as for tracking purposes) their ESP can probably point it to a fixed landing page or something. That’s the beauty of email.

Dear Valued Consumer

Also, I didn’t notice this when I first opened the email, but later, I saw that my FNAME and LNAME were in all caps. Okay, so everybody can merge names into emails now. We all pretty much expect that. But c’mon. Making it ALL CAPS is screaming (literally) that I’m just another dB record to them.

MailChimp customers, if you merge names into your email salutations, please do this:


to only capitalize the first letter of each name. Here’s a tutorial on how to do that (plus some other cool MailChimp merge tag tricks)