Happy Throwback Thursday! Thinking of launching a new email publication? Here are some best practices for sending it to your existing email list. ClickZ first published this article in November 2014 — but it’s worth a second look. Enjoy!

How do you view the opt-in permission you received from your subscribers?

As a blanket opt-in giving you the right to change send frequency as well as the types of email sent as you see fit? Or a narrow opt-in related to just specific types of messages or email publications that they agreed to receive?

It may seem like an academic question – until you have a new email publication or new type of email alert that you want to launch. Do you start from scratch and ask for an opt-in? Or do you just start sending it to all of your subscribers?

There’s no right or wrong answer; it’s a business decision where you have to weigh the risks and rewards of each option. But I’m always impressed by companies which go the opt-in route, as this is usually the tougher but ‘higher’ road to take. Here’s an example of a well thought-out opt-in campaign from T.J.Maxx.

Last month I received 19 emails from T.J.Maxx – that’s about 4 a week. Last week I saw this in my inbox:

TJ Maxx header

Intrigued, I opened it. In truth, I don’t open very many of their emails. They opened a store here in Georgetown a few months back and I cruise it about once a week; I’ve made purchases from them offline but I don’t believe I’ve ever bought anything from them online.

Could the subject line have been stronger? Perhaps. But it did get me to open it. And when I think about what I’d test against it – this one is actually pretty good. The beginning is very strong “You’ll love our new…”

The email itself appears below.

TJ Maxx email

The copy is very clean. They do a good job of describing the benefits of the new program in a concise way – and it’s clear that you need to click to get on the list (“Enroll Now”).

Notice the way they mention the frequency – “we’ll email you…almost every day.” They’ve done a great job of softly letting you know this is likely to be a daily email – but they’ve positioned it as a benefit by explaining the reason behind the frequency. Great job.

Let’s do the math. If they are sending roughly 4 times a week to everyone on the current list, then anyone who subscribes to these new alerts will now likely be getting 8 or more emails a week. This is a significant increase in touch points for T.J.Maxx.

The idea of clean design and simple messages continues on the landing page (below).

TJ MAxx landing page 1

My email address was pre-populated so all I needed to do was hit “Submit.” I’m not a fan of the word “submit” in relation to email sign-up and it appears twice on this page. It’s not likely to impact performance, but it would have been nice if they had continued to use ‘enroll’ as they did in the email. That would also have provided more continuity in terminology.

Notice that I wasn’t directed to a subscription management page, where I could see all the types of emails I receive from T.J.Maxx and update my email address. This page is dedicated to signing up for these specific alerts. It’s a good way to focus subscriber’s attention on the task at hand. Creating a dedicated landing page takes a little more effort, but this is something that can boost conversions in the end.

T.J.Maxx also does a good job post-enrollment (see below).

TJ Maxx landing page 2

The thank you page not only confirms your enrollment – it provides a link to visit the site and shop. This is a best practice that I implement with all my clients so you don’t ‘dead end’ new subscribers.

I was surprised that I did not receive an email confirming my subscription. On the one hand it wasn’t really needed since the thank you page was so well done. On the other hand, it might have been an additional chance to get me excited about the alerts. And if the alerts already exist, the first email could be the most recent alert that was sent. This would provide some immediate delivery on the promise made at sign-up.

I don’t know what the results of this acquisition program will be. They seem to be doing everything right, which would suggest that they’ll do a multi-effort series, suppressing those of us who have already subscribed. Even then, best case scenario is usually in the 25% range – meaning that a quarter of your existing list signs up for the new alerts. But they are doing everything right! If you are considering adding an email publication or new type of email, this article would be good one for your files.

Try this yourself and let me know how it goes!

Until next time,



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