What have you been missing on the Big Fat Marketing blog? How about some email marketing advice from web guru AMY AFRICA.


COMPANIES SEEM TO HAVE THRUST EMAILS DOWN PAT, but few do jack with triggers. This surprises me, because on average, triggers perform four- to six-times better than your best-performing thrust emails.

What triggers should you do? Here are a few of the best performing triggers.

  • ABANDONED CART PROGRAMS: A lot of folks have one email they send out for abandoned carts. If you have less than three, you should go back to the drawing board. Sending out just one is very 1998.

  • ABANDONED SEARCH: Companies lose a lot of traffic from failed searches (or from what they think are successful searches but are a failure in the user’s mind). Contacting your users after an abandoned search is often the very best thing you can do for your site. Literally. (Remember, a failed search from a user’s perspective is one where they use the text search box and then subsequently abandon, for any reason.)

  • ABANDONED SITE: Sign up for program and you’ll get a good example of an abandoned site email. Do emails like these work? Like gangbusters. The key is the timing — and every company has its own magic formula.

  • EBOPP: Emails based on past purchase are super effective. A lot of folks try these and fail the first couple of times out. If you’ve tried this type of email before and it hasn’t been successful, try it again — but this time look when you send it out as well as the format/design. Many companies make the mistake of overdesigning these emails — like any other trigger you do, EBOPPs are meant to look like one-to-one emails, not overly designed emails for the masses.

  • EBOSI: Emails based on selected interest. With the exception of their from address (which sucks), Amazon does a fantastic job at these emails. The key here is choosing the right number of products to feature — too few or too many render these emails useless.

  • THANK YOU FOR SIGNING UP: You should have thank-you emails for catalog requests, email sign-ups, orders, filling out polls and surveys, downloading white papers, attending webinars, and so on. A rule of thumb: Anything that the user does right on your site deserves a thank you.

There are dozens of others that really work, but the ones listed above are a great start. One of the very best things about triggers is that you can develop them once, tweak them, and then use them for years — with slight modifications, of course.


This month, Sherry Chiger, the new editor of the E-mail Essentials e-newsletter (and MCM editor ar large), takes to the Big Fat Marketing Blog to dish on e-mails she loves from food merchant DineWise.


A direct marketer of upscale prepared meals, DineWise and sister brand Home Bistro send out a joint e-newsletter twice a week. These alternate between promotional (“Save 15% on Valentine’s Day and More!” is a typical promo subject line) and informational. It’s the latter e-mails that we love.

Take this one, received on Feb. 1, with the subject line “Gourmet Plating Techniques and Reheating Tips.” Apparently I’m not the only one who watches cooking programs on TV and wonders how the chefs manage to present their offerings so beautifully.

“If you watch any food show on TV, presentation is as important as the smell and taste when it comes to gourmet dining,” writes “Chef Noche,” who is credited as executive chef. “Think of the sizzle of perfectly grilled filet mignon with its crunchy crust and its ‘melt in your mouth’ middle.” And just in case you, like me, were starting to salivate, there’s a handy link to the Home Bistro Filet Mignon Meal on the DineWise Website.

Chef Noche proceeds to demonstrate several plating methods, with examples of the types of meal best suited for each. And what do you know: The e-newsletter links to the product page for each meal featured.

The newsletter wraps up with what Chef Noche calls a “homework assignment”: to send in photos of our own efforts at plating for possible use in a future newsletter — and those whose pics are featured will win a $50 gift certificate.

So in this one e-mail you have value-added content that confirms the expertise and authority of the brand; a subtle sell of a half-dozen specific meals; an invitation to engage with the brand; numerous calls to action (to request a catalog and to order by phone or online); and a reminder, courtesy of the links laid out like a navigation bar on the left-hand side of the e-newsletter, of DineWise’s product categories. Delicious!


Have you checked out the Big Fat Marketing Blog ( yet? Here’s a recent post from Melissa Dowling as she looks at a new “catalog” from JetBlue.


Flying is generally a nightmare these days, though some of the newer airlines — namely JetBlue and Virgin America — are trying to make it more tolerable. JetBlue recently capitalized on what it offers that other airlines do not with a 16-page mock catalog on its Facebook page. Here are some highlights from JetBlue’s Flyer’s Collection catalog:

Yumbro, a $2,700 robotic seatmate who according to the catalog copy,“ says nice things like, ‘You look cute today!’ while dispensing the free snacks you would have enjoyed on JetBlue.”

The Marshpillow ($39) is an edible cushion made of “genuine marshmallow and dusted with all-natural melatonin powder to help you relax. Do note that consuming 100% of the Marshpillow defeats 50% of its purpose.”

The Extrago Sherpa Shirt ($99). This bulky garment can hold a trip’s worth of necessities, “including the $20 bill you’ll save by not checking a bag. Granted, this isn’t the most comfortable shirt. But since you didn’t book with JetBlue, perhaps comfort isn’t your main concern.”

If you try to order something from the catalog, you’ll get the message “Thanks for shopping at The Flyer’s Collection. Due to unexpected demand, this product has sold out. If you’d rather just book a more comfortable flight, simply Go Jetting.”

JetBlue invites Facebook fans to post comments and catalog product suggestions. Just don’t expect to be rewarded for your efforts, as the site says: “Have an idea for a product? If yours is deemed worthy of The Flyer’s Collection, no money or praise will be rewarded. Thanks, though!”


Have you checked out the Big Fat Marketing Blog ( yet? Here’s a recent post from MCM senior writer (and horse racing enthusiast) Jim Tierney.


After leading the women’s apparel company for 20 years, Arnold Zetcher retired as president/CEO of The Talbots in September 2007 and as chairman of the board in March 2008. So where can you find Zetcher these days? At the track.

No, he’s not betting away his retirement funds. Zetcher, a lifelong horse-racing fan who began owning horses in 2000 with Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally, has entered the breeding industry as well. In fact, he’s become one of the more notable owners/breeders in thoroughbred racing in a very short time.

The 69-year-old Zetcher was in attendance on Belmont Stakes Day in June and watched his 3-year-old filly, Gabby’s Golden Gal, upset the field in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at odds of 13-1. The victory for Zetcher was extra special because Gabby’s Golden Gal’s mother, Gabriellina Giof, was the first horse ever to win a race for him.

More recently, Zetcher pulled off another major upset when his four-year-old colt, Richard’s Kid, rallied to win the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar at odds of 24-1. With the victory, Richard’s Kid has Zetcher and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert thinking Breeders’ Cup.

We’re guessing that Zetcher is having more fun with his horses than he would be at Talbots — especially these days.


Have you checked out the Big Fat Marketing Blog ( yet? Here’s a recent post from an editor on Chief Marketer, MCM’s sister magazine, about a funky new mail project.


Sure, direct marketers are always hearing about folks who are tired of getting tons of direct mail. People complain about their clogged mailboxes, put their names on do-not-mail lists, and do everything but string garlic around their necks to keep the postman away.

But what about people who want more mail?

If you’re one of those sorts, you might want to try The site bills itself as a “continuous art project,” and encourages people to leave self addressed stamped envelopes in public places, each with a note encouraging the finder to put something personal and creative inside and then send it back. The recipient then scans the contents and submits them to the site.

The results are varied, ranging from a burlesque-looking playing card to a sketch of Frankenstein and the Statue of Liberty arguing about buffet options. Others write little notes or stories.

It’s a fun concept and, as more marketers look for ways to update their customer contact strategies, a thought for those open to guerrilla tactics to embrace.

I’d be tempted to try it myself, although as Pop Candy blogger Whitney Matheson notes, it may be better for those with P.O. boxes. It might not be the greatest idea to leave your home address out for strangers.