The Changing State of Email Nav Bars

REI nav barsThe email navigation bar is evolving. Experimentation over the years has led to greater flexibility, fraying the connection between the links in website nav bars and those in email nav bars. And now the move to mobile-friendly is blowing up that connection completely, and whittling down the number of nav links to the bare necessities.

Mobile Navigation Bars

Back in 2009, I looked at the email nav bars used by major retailers and found that 38% of retailers used an email nav that matched their website’s and that on average they included a little more than 8 links in their email navs. The largest email navs included 19 links, while the smallest only 3.

Those at the low end were ahead of the curve, because…

>> Read the entire post on the ExactTarget Blog

5 Mobile-Aware Email Redesigns

5 Mobile-Aware Email RedesignsWith 48% of emails read on a mobile device, according to Litmus, and 63% of consumers saying they delete emails immediately if they are not optimized for mobile, according to Return Path, there’s a growing imperative to be mobile-friendly. But being mobile-friendly doesn’t necessarily mean moving to responsive email designs.

Depending upon your capabilities and the percentage of your emails opened on mobile, you might find moving to a mobile-aware template a very attractive alternative—at least for the near-term. According to ExactTarget research involving nearly 160 B2C brands, 78% of marketers don’t use either a responsive or mobile-aware template. So at least for now, there’s still a big competitive advantage to adopting mobile-aware email design, although…

>> Read the entire post on the ExactTarget Blog

Infographic: Happy Birthday, Dear Subscriber

Have you ever gotten an unexpected birthday gift? Feels great, right? And you probably ended up giving more time and attention to the gift-giver as a result. That’s the opportunity that triggered birthday emails offer. It’s a winning tactic that generates an outsized return on investment.

ExactTarget research involving more than 180 B2C brands—including retailers, restaurants, manufacturers, travel and hospitality, and nonprofits—shows that there’s plenty of opportunity for brands to delight subscribers with best wishes on their special day. Check out the stats and tactics to learn the who, what, when, why and how of birthday emails.

birthday emails

This infographic is brought to you by ExactTarget, a leader in digital marketing.


Register for this free webinarTo my European readers: Please join me on Oct. 18 at 11am GMT (London) for a webinar hosted by Smart Insights where I’ll be discussing email marketing best practices and sharing real-world examples of good, great and not-to-great executions.

I’ll answer questions from you and our moderator, Dave Chaffey of Smart Insights, as we talk about…

  1. The Signup Process
  2. Welcome Emails
  3. Defensive Design
  4. Mobile-Friendliness
  5. The Unsubscribe Process

>> Register for this free webinar

Also, read Dave Chaffey’s webinar preview and review of my book, Email Marketing Rules.

View all of Chad's MediaPost columnOn the sliding scale of mobile-friendliness, most brands are just getting a firm grasp on mobile-optimized email design. As much talk as there is about responsive design, adoption is relatively low in most industries (although next year will be an entirely different story). But as brands plot their jump from mobile-optimized to responsive design, they should keep in mind the next notch in the scale beyond that: mobile-targeted design.

Being mobile-targeted means your email content not only looks different on mobile devices than it does on desktops, the content itself is different…

>> Read my entire Email Insider column on

Download the Email Marketing Holiday Calendar InfographicDuring September, retailers sent each of their subscribers 16.4 promotional emails on average, up 1% from August. Non-retailers sent 6.1 promotional emails on average, down 1% from August.

This data is based on the anonymous tracking for more than 150 B2C brands, including retailers, restaurants, manufacturers, travel and hospitality, political groups, and nonprofits.

For more on seasonal email marketing trends, check out the Email Marketing Holiday Calendar and this month’s update on the ExactTarget Blog…

>>Email Marketing Holiday Calendar 2013: September Review & October Preview

The Last Word on September 2013

The Last WordA roundup of articles, posts, tweets and emails you might have missed last month…

Must-read articles, posts & whitepapers

The Email Subscriber Experience 2008 – 2013 (Return Path)

The Dangerous Tension Between CMOs and CIOs (Harvard Business Review)

10 More Habits Of Highly Ineffective Email Marketers (MediaPost)

The How-To Guide to Responsive Email Design [Infographic] (Litmus)

Responsive email design: 10 great examples (Econsultancy)

How to add a fixed-position CTA to your email newsletters (Campaign Monitor)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

@jacaldwell: platforms aren’t in silos, people are

@wac_intosh: Embrace showrooming by using it as an opportunity to trigger campaigns based on in-store browse. Some retailers over 100x ROI #MKTGwebcast

@iamelliot: ugh, searched “responsive email” on twitter..conjecture, whinging and marketing BS all over the place now. put me right off my Angel Delight

@emailrocks: @chadswhite Thanks Chad!  i’ve posted the Performance Driven Marketers Oath here

@EmailKarma: Shocker! Didn’t see this coming from miles away > Yahoo Recycled Emails: Users Find Security Surprises: #privacy

Also check out: Most Tweetable Tweets from Connections 2013

Great additions to the Email Swipe File pinboard email sent on 8/23/13 >> View the pin

Helzberg Diamonds email sent on 8/17/11 >> View the pin

Clinique email sent on 8/22/13 >> View the pin

Oroton email sent on 8/29/13 >> View the pin

Noteworthy subject lines

Hayneedle, 9/30 — A Home Made … guest-ready! First in a series of holiday hosting help – with $90 OFF! Plus Styleboards & more …, 9/27 — 40% Off Christmas Cards – Order Early & Save‏
Peet’s Coffee & Tea, 9/30 — Order Holiday Blend 2013 by Tomorrow + FREE SHIPPING‏
Hanna Andersson, 9/23 — NEW holiday arrivals + the big Dress & Sweater Sale is here!
Michael’s, 9/26 — Now’s the Time for DIY Holiday Décor‏
Pier 1 Imports, 9/16 — We’re looking for great talent to join our holiday team.
Horchow, 9/16 — NEW for Christmas: 4 Holiday Collections‏
Walmart, 9/19 — Get more Halloween for your money‏
Pier 1 Imports, 9/19 — Don’t be scared to get your Halloween decorations now.
Target, 9/30 — Cyber Monday in September? Oh, yeah.
Under Armour, 9/24 — Go Pink Or Go Home.
NFLshop, 9/29 — Your Patriots Are 4-0! Plus, Free Shipping on All Patriots Gear
NFLshop, 9/7 — Gear Up Patriots Fans! PATRIOTS VS BILLS, Sun. 1PM + Every Order Ships Free!
SkyMall, 9/12 — Parking Lot Party! Save on Tailgate Essentials at SkyMall‏
Walmart, 9/12 — Make a play for game day savings‏
eBags, 9/29 — Celebrate National Get Organized Week With 25% OFF 1 Item + an Extra Treat Just for You!
Zappos, 9/5 — Sandal season is officially over…
Gap, 9/30 — The first fall chill is coming…
Crate & Barrel, 9/24 — It’s time. Outdoor furniture covers are now available.
Clinique, 9/26 — The “it” shade for fall—get it now!
Lululemon, 9/17 — try doing “it” everyday‏
The Container Store, 9/25 — Bloggers Love our Home Collection by 3M‏
Lenovo, 9/29 — The World’s Smallest Desktop‏
WebMD, 9/20 — The Scoop on Poop‏
Sephora, 9/13 — We’re bringing sets-y back‏
Beachbody, 9/10 — Do Vegetarians Live Longer?
Threadless, 9/12 — Wisconsin is made of cheese, and other facts…
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 9/13 — What if your child had 36 hours to live?
ModCloth, 9/5 — Pug + #selfie = best email ever.
Jeep, 9/5 — ●|||||||● Your Jeep newsletter is here.

Most popular posts on last month

1. The Many Uses (and 2 Drawbacks) of Animated Gifs

2. Case in Point: Why You Should Audit Your Signup Process

3. The One-Two Punch of Subject Lines and Preheaders

4. Most Tweetable Tweets from Connections 2013

5. Sending a Welcome Series Is the New Onboarding Differentiator

Doing process audits may seem like a waste of time. After all, you probably won’t find anything major and there are lots of other things on your to-do list. But then again, you might indeed find something major and be super thankful you took the time to investigate.

Last month, I released the Email Opt-In Audit Imperative infographic that details research showing that more than a quarter of email signups that occur via the homepages of major B2C brands are not honored or experience significant delays in being honored. Since your most valuable email subscribers sign up via your website, these results are worrisome. And your homepage is just one of probably more than a dozen ways that subscribers join your list, so there’s potential for many more process breakdowns that could be slowing list growth.

View this Lands' End email largerExhibit A: Just a few weeks ago I received an email from Lands’ End with a subject line saying that it’s “Been too long!” Typically that’s the kind of language you’d see in a win-back email where a subscriber hasn’t engaged in a long time, but in this case this was the first email Lands’ End had sent since their welcome email more than 6 months earlier.

It appears that they uncovered a glitch in their signup process whereas email addresses weren’t getting added to the active list properly, and this email was their way of rebooting the email relationship. I don’t know how long the glitch persisted or how many subscribers were affected, but I suspect there was a very significant opportunity cost associated with it.

Exhibit B: Lowe’s experienced something very similar a few years ago. In January of 2011, I received an email from them with the subject line “Sorry we are a little late, but great values like these are worth waiting for.‏” The account where I received this email was used to subscribe to Lowe’s emails more than two years earlier, and I hadn’t received any emails from them until this one.

Exhibit C (added 10/16): Northern Tool had a nearly identical experience as Lands’ End. It also took them more than 6 months to honor my opt-in. Their first email went much lighter on acknowledging the problem and apologizing. They choose to only mention it briefly in the preheader, but they did add a prominent unsubscribe link, wisely recognizing that after such a long delay that some folks might not be interested anymore.

100813 Northern ToolKudos to these brands for discovering these problems, taking actions to fix them, and reaching out to affected subscribers. My experience has been that the vast majority of these signup breakdowns go undetected for years or get fixed unknowingly when updating or upgrading systems.

Make sure that you’re not missing out on valuable list growth by auditing all your email acquisition sources—and if you can do it ahead of the holiday season, then all the better.

Most Tweetable Tweets from Connections 2013

ExactTarget Connections 2013ExactTarget Connections was awesome! Beyond meeting tons of great people, old friends and new, there was lots of great content that kept me busy tweeting for four days straight. We’ve already shared 100 Tweets About Leadership and the Power to Lead from Within and Josh Kimber shared the 25 Top Tweets from #ET13, but I wanted to highlight some of the tidbits that I thought were critical.

Before I do that, if you were one of the more than 1,000 people who got a free copy of my book, Email Marketing Rules, during Connections, it would be awesome if you would sent a tweet of thanks to @ExactTarget, which made the giveaways possible. Thanks and I hope to see you at Dreamforce in November and at Connections 2014.


@HauteLook sends 200 different email campaigns each month. #ET13

Test call-to-action buttons with low commitment language. Ex. “Shop now” vs. “Buy now” – @meladorri #ET13


76% of subscribers have opened at least 1 email on mobile in past 30 days, according to ET data. #ET13

CareerBuilder saw a 21%-24% increase in click rates after moving to a responsive email template. #ET13

50%-62% of CareerBuilder’s email opens are on mobile devices. #ET13

Uber is “lifestyle meets logistics.” In addition to their cab-calling app, they have done on-demand ice cream trucks, BBQ sandwiches.. #ET13


Caterpillar’s four pillars of social media: listening, promotions, thought leadership, and customer service. #ET13

Warby Parker’s social media team responds to EVERY tweet, Facebook comment, and Instagram. #ET13

I’m impressed 🙂 “@WarbyParker: @chadswhite Yes we do! We hope you’re enjoying Kristin at #et13.”

When Warby Parker cannot answer a tweeted question in 140 characters, they record a YouTube video and tweet a link to it. #ET13

Nordstrom is highlighting top-pinned items in their stores. -Steve Patrizi, Pinterest #ET13


Sony powers their digital marketing efforts with purchase, demographic, and gameplay data. Engagement is up 23% so far this year. #ET13

Sony communicates with their customers via 30 different channels. #ET13

Not all data is information, not all information is insight, not all insight is actionable. -Matt Spielman, Return Path #ET13

Dying companies use data to react to changes. Thriving companies use data to predict future and act. -Kenny Tomlin, Rockfish #ET13

A Customer Company knows you are the same person no matter how you contact them. #channelintegration #ET13

The pinch point in marketing is generally content. – @mostew #ET13


Real discipline is not what you chose to do but what you chose not to do. -Jim Collins #ET13

“Great leaders build companies that do not need them.” -Jim Collins #BuilttoLast #ET13

“Smart people are a dime a dozen. What matters is imagination.” -Walter Isaacson #ET13

Get the Kindle Book editino of Email Marketing RulesIn celebration of Connections 2013, ExactTarget is making the Kindle Book edition of my book, Email Marketing Rules, available for free today through Thursday.

Just visit to download it for free (no coupon code necessary) and then install the free Kindle app to read it on any smartphone, tablet or computer.

Through 108 easy-to-understand rules, Email Marketing Rules is your guide to understanding the practices that lead to spectacular results, while steering you clear of trouble. Jay Baer calls it “the best book ever written about email marketing,” and Internet Retailer Magazine says it is “a must-have for any email marketer.”

>> Get Email Marketing Rules for free—but only until the end of Connections.