Recently this email landed in our inbox. By just looking at it for a couple of seconds we saw that this one is an example that we should share with you. This email message from Thalys is brilliantly simple, and the details show that a lot of thought went into this message. We’ve made you a list:
1 It has become a classic nowadays to start the actual message with some service announcements. That’s also what’s being done in this email. The view-in-browser link has almost become a standard formula. The request to add the sender to the address book – it’s a specific email address – can also be seen in a lot of email messages. In this one, it’s perfectly implemented.
But the most surprising element of this part of the template is the first line. The offer of this email message is captured in one single phrase with a link towards the landing page. Someone who knows Thalys and only goes to Paris when they get a promotion, doesn’t need more than that. But there is also a second reason why that sentence is positioned there. A lot of web based email clients and email apps on smartphones take the first line of an email message and place it neatly after the subject line in the inbox. This sentence is also known as the preheader. When looking at the combination of the subject line and the preheader, the message of this email is clear without even opening the message.
2 This area is being used for recognition. Show off your logo to the world. By combining this with a welcoming text, you will spark the goodwill of your reader.
3 Thalys thinks about its regular clients in this part of the email. Those people already know Thalys and their promotions. From here, they can immediately log into their account and register their place. The service element for existing customers is an important part of your email communication.
4 Thalys gives a clear overview of all services with this menu. The look and feel and functionality is almost identical to the menu on the Thalys website. It improves recognition even more for the readers who click. And again, for regular customers there is almost no difference between the email message and the website they normally use to book their trip. Click-throughs happen naturally.
5 Another one straight out of the “email marketing for dummies” guide, but one that isn’t put into practice by everyone. Research shows that when you put some time pressure on a promotion, click-throughs and conversions are higher than we you don’t use a deadline. When your offer doesn’t have a deadline, it often lands on the “read later” pile. And that pile often turns into the “never read again” pile. Thalys uses a deadline that is pretty far away. But returning customers know that the closer to the departure date, the higher the price. That means that you need to act fast to get a cheap ticket at the end of the month. Setting a deadline that takes your own characteristics into account, is an art.
6 A simple image that sets the tone for your product and next a clear and simple offer. Written in big chocolate letters that can easily be read. Nothing more, nothing less. Thalys promotes just one single offer, without overwhelming their readers with lots of other promotions, destinations and eye catchers. That is the power of a fast promotional campaign.
7 The call to action is clear and located directly beneath the offer. The text doesn’t say what the reader needs to do – click here – but what the reader should or can do – book now – . Pay extra attention to the word “now”: it is there for a reason! Also have a look at the use of colors. The letters are painted in the color of the look and feel, the background of the button is a contrasting color: one that has nothing to do with the fast train to Paris, but is just to stand out. The subtle shadow improves the feel of a button. And the be sure that people who intended to clicked are being left out, the zone around the button is also clickable. A little extra for clumsy fingers of mobile readers.
8 The doubters get a little extra. That offer is completely separated from the original call to action. That way there is no confusion about what the point of this email actually is. But an extra gift is just the little push those doubters needed.
9 An image makes reading more enjoyable. But pay attention to the position of the “Rock en Seine”. It’s on the right. Westerners read from left to right. Think about that when deciding on the positioning of your elements.
10 The mandatory service announcements are always at the end. Here you can find the fine print of the offers. But most readers already left for the landing page. The automatic nature of the message is also pointed out. Replying to this email will get you nowhere with Thalys. That is often a standard formulation with a reference to the unsubscription form, which is required by law. But surprisingly – and that does not happen too often – readers who wish to reply get a mini guide on how to get in touch with Thalys. Anyone else has an example that is as great as this one?