Thursday, 4 June 2009

Softly, softly

Toast, a cataloguer of apparel and home goods, breaks just about every rule of email marketing. For the most part, each of its emails is a large, lovely photograph with just a few words. The most recent one, for instance, shows a picnic meal set out on a cliff overlooking a lovely blue body of water; the water, in fact, is the focal point of the image, not the picnic. The copy reads, in its entirety, "Picnic necessities... click to see more" with the Toast logo in the lower right corner. If you do click through, you land on a category page for outdoor and picnic products.

The emails lack any real call to action, any promotions or special offers, any value-added content in the way of tips or news. And because the image is king, I'd imagine some rendering issues may arise.

So Toast appears to be turning its back on best practice. Which doesn't matter, if what it's doing works. But does it? On the one hand, by using such a soft (or virtually nonexistent) sell, Toast stands out from the inbox clutter. But I wonder if standing out is enough to move merchandise. Personally I've not yet been moved to click through, except today, and that was solely for the purposes of writing this blog entry. Any thoughts?--SC

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