March 24, 2009

Now That You Have My Attention... [Kodakgallery.com email review]

by DJ Waldow,

Kodak Gallery Email WarningYesterday morning - 12:26AM to be exact - I received an email from KodakGallery.com. Considering that I grew up in Rochester, NY, a stones throw away from Kodak, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the "'You press the button, we do the rest" company. However, times are not easy for Kodak as they are now competing with the likes of Flickr, Snapfish, Picasa, and many others in the online digital picture space. Their new terms of service have been modified to include a "minimum purchase" requirement. While this post is not a commentary on Kodak's business decision, Jennifer Cisney, Kodak's Chief Blogger, sent me an article with some background on why Kodak is making this policy change.

The reason for this post is to evaluate this campaign from an email marketing perspective. So, here we go...

Kodak Gallery Email Warning

Step 1: Open

The subject line of this particular email certainly caught my attention: "Please read. Our storage policy has changed." It jumped out of my inbox. It was different. There was a clear call to action. I opened the email. Check to Step #1. (It would have been nice to see a stronger preheader, but...)

Step 2: Read

"Your stored photos could be deleted." Nothing like a stern warning in bold, nice and big, red font. I envisioned a maternal figure reaching her finger out of my inbox and scolding me. Are they really going to delete my pictures unless I cough up the $4.99?! (Check out the Twitter conversation this news sparked). The email continued with some more red text explaining why my pictures (may) be deleted. A nice bonus tossed in there too - my personalized status. It seemed pretty clear what action(s) I needed to take. So, yeah, I read the email. Check to Step #2.

Step 3: Click-Through

Now that I read pretty much every single word of the copy, Kodak put me up to the next test. Would I click on a link? They really knocked it out of the park with the right side bar. "Three Simple Ideas" to spend my $4.99 minimum. Each box had a nice, clear call to action: "Create a pocket photo book" or "Buy Prints." I would have loved to see the entire image clickable, but I'll take the button for now. The only ding on the call to action of this email was the "Terms of Service" link that was above the fold. Maybe this was a necessity from the legal team, but when I clicked on it (just for fun), I was blown away with legalese. What if that was the first (and only) link I clicked on? Either way, I clicked on "Buy Prints." Check to Step #3.

Step 4: Convert

The conversion is what really matters however, right? Usually the answer is yes; however, in this case, I think Kodak would be okay with not everyone converting. While they'd love to use this email to drive more engagement (and more sales), it is also a campaign to "trim the fat." Reminds me of a traditional re-engagement strategy like Shop.org did in August 2008. I haven't converted - yet. But all signs indicate that I'll cough up the 499 pennies before May 16th.

An Interesting Tidbit

This email also had one of the world's longest email disclaimer footers I've ever seen. Seems like the attorneys were all over this one. Did you also receive this email? If so, what were your thoughts. Please share in the comments below.

DJ Waldow
Director of Best Practices & Deliverability at Bronto

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Comments

[...] Bronto’s write-up on KodakGallery’s change of service email (one of my clients, but I didn’t work directly on this) made me think of the basic elements of a good email. Sure, this is a rehash of what a dozen sites cover really well, but I’d like to put in my $.02 on what I, individually, think are the key elements. [...]

Submitted by Reggie Henderson (not verified) on

I also grew up in Rochester and try to use KodakGallery. Currently their equipment must be down because an order I placed on April 6th for 20 4x6 prints is still not finished. I contacted them and they said they're behind schedule and most orders are being completed in one week (despite the website claim of 1-2 days). Maybe they will finish my order and ship it after one week, maybe not, but I won't be using them again.

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