July 13th, 2008 | 5 MIN READ

Making Emails Enticing to Everyone

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

As email marketers, we never know what mindset email recipients will be in at any given time. So a good idea is to design your copy and creative to speak to all personality types/buying modalities: competitive, spontaneous, methodical and humanistic. If this makes you go "hmmm?" make sure you check out our explanation of the buying modes in our personas webinar and webinar recap.

For example, I'm in the market for a GPS. I'm not actively researching one right now, but it's "on my radar." Being methodical, I usually research the heck out of something before I buy. I read reviews, compare products, compare retailers. I just don't have the time to look into my GPS purchase now.

But I recently received an email that caught my attention. The headline read:

"Initial GPS is All Sold Out! Here's A Magellan Instead from Comp-U-Plus!"

Though I'm usually methodical, if an email like this could cut out my research time and tell me why I can't go wrong with {featured product} and give me a deal - I just might wax spontaneous and convert today.

So, how does Comp-U-Plus "speak" to all four buying modes in this email? Let's break it down:


This would have made a good trigger email if I had viewed the Initial GPS recently on Comp-U-Plus as a registered, logged in customer. Or if I had added it to my cart and abandoned the purchase. But since that's not the case, I assume this email was sent to all subscribers.

First off, some people may be confused by the wording of this headline. "Initial" is a brand of GPS (I was not aware prior to this email), but also is an adjective, noun and verb. Worst case scenario, the message comes across as:

"Our first GPS is All Sold Out! Here's Our Second Best Instead!"


"GPS Personalized With Your Initials are All Sold Out, But We've Got Magellan"

Okay, maybe this is a stretch, but these are examples of lost-in-translation subject lines.

Assuming there's no confusion, this headline may appeal to the competitive shopper, who responds to best-seller merchandising. Unfortunately, competitives also want to own the best-seller, so offering a "consolation prize" is counter-productive. Same with humanistics who trust others' opinions. If so many people love the Initial, what about the Magellan makes it equally attractive?

Really, the body of this email needs to give compelling and persuasive back-up for why someone should buy a Magellan today from Comp-U-Plus instead of buying an the Initial from a competitor.

Before we move on, please note that nowhere in the email does Comp-U-Plus address back-orders or restocking of the Initial.

Competitive Shoppers

  • Likes to be the first to own a product, responds to new items, featured or best-sellers. Naturally, competitives want to win, so "...consolation prize! Grab it before it's gone too!" is fitting - although consolation prize does suggest someone is not a winner...
  • "...fastest GPS position accuracy in the industry" is a powerful selling proposition. The product description would serve competitives who prefer to scan copy better as a bullet list.
  • Competitives are less likely to comparison shop and read lots of text, so making a compelling sales pitch in the email copy is essential. This text is also readable with images off.
  • Offering exclusive web-only prices for a limited time speaks to competitives who like to have the edge on the regular folk.

Spontaneous Shoppers

  • Responds to sales, discounts, limited stock and time-limited offers (like day-only sales), so this campaign is appropriate.
  • Spontaneous are text scanners, so bullets would be better here, too. They like to see products in action, a link to a demo video would be great. Or an enlarged image.
  • They're interested in what others bought, and how popular. Including a customer review star-rating and “how many” reviews there are for the Maestro model may help that spontaneous conversion.

Methodical Shoppers

  • Likes product details, very thorough in researching a purchase. So providing a product description and link to more details is great.
  • Unfortunately, the product description doesn't explain how the Maestro model is comparable to the Initial. Methodicals like side-by-side comparisons.
  • "Fastest GPS position accuracy in the industry" is a powerful selling proposition - but as a methodical, I want back-up and proof before I believe the hype. But if I'm really interested I will read more, and hope the site has enough information for me to make the right decision.
  • I like the phone number option, I can ask questions of the CSR in real-time. I just hope the CSR is knowledgable about the product.

Humanistic Shoppers

  • Star ratings and a sample review would help persuade humanistics, who value the opinions of others. The telephone number is great too, he or she knows a person is available to talk through the purchase and answer questions.

The gratuitous use of exclamation points aside, Comp-U-Plus' email includes something for every buying mode. It also provides links to other categories if the featured offer doesn't do it for you.

My recommendations would be to tweak the copy to include:

  • Bullet points to make it easier to scan
  • An average star rating and link to all reviews (unfortunately there are none that belong to Comp-U-Plus.com)
  • Some idea of how the Maestro compares to the Initial
  • Information on how to backorder the Initial.

And the landing page could definitely use some optimization:

There's no price on the landing page to confirm the promise made in the email (you have to click to see a pop-up, but that's confusing). If you need to hide prices from the public because they are so low, you could create a custom landing page for your email campaign that's not linked to from the rest of your site (like you would for an A/B test) and show the price.

What's worse is the recommendations for similar items, with star ratings, from other retailers (powered by Shopping.com) appear on the landing page.

*Smacks head*

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