Email Of The Week – Football Manager Live

With the transfer window closing recently with Chelsea’s record swap for Liverpool’s Fernando Torres, we thought we’d look at a football-related email this week from the Football Manager Live team.

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This campaign was sent by Sega (Sports Interactive) after I signed up to one of their most recent online games – Football Manager Live – an online version of the best selling game that has dominated the lives of so many footie fans over the years!

It must have been well over six months since I last logged in and used my account but I recently received this impressively customised and finely crafted email, which tempted me to give it another try.

So does it score a hat-trick or deserve an unfortunate red card?

We liked… the innovative use of personalised data. This campaign cleverly uses historical information from the game’s database. For example, ‘Diego Klimowicz’ – referenced in the email – was a fictional player from my squad when I subscribed (a very fine striker if I remember correctly!) and ‘Athletico Ridleyo’ was the custom name I’d created. By bringing in these elements, the email brings back great memories of my ‘career’, which couldn’t be recreated with more generic creative or design.

We really liked… the use of effective and entertaining copy. It’s personalised but it’s also had some thought, time and effort put in to make sure it’s well written, with plenty of positive statements including: ‘Dixon is in high demand’ and ‘come back and lead us to previous glories’.

It also provokes, with copy like ‘Surely Jonny Dixon cannot resist the temptation…’ and ‘There’s over £3 million available…” This is particularly clever as it relates to a promotion to re-subscribe and receive extra ‘fictional’ funds. A tempting call to action if ever I saw one!

We loved… the layout. It’s effective for two main reasons. Firstly it’s a classic tabloid paper back page, suiting the theme of the email perfectly. Secondly, it uses this iconic design, but also keeps it really clean and simple.

There are four main, identifiable sections, with clean and clear focal points, so you don’t get confused. There is also a clear call to action section with the resubscribe box in the bottom left corner.

It ain’t over until the fat email-marketer sings

But unfortunately, as they say, it’s a game of two halves. Despite the brilliant work done here, there were some real blunders within the technical side of the design – a real risk with such ambitious projects.

There are various instances of background images being used as well as other CSS elements which are bound to cause issues with some mail platforms.

Take a look at the example below, from Outlook 2007, which shows how it would appear in the inbox of the hundreds of millions of users on that platform and have a look here for how it deals with advanced CSS.

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Not pretty!

It also uses many ‘rowspans’ and ‘colspans’ within the HTML code, which can cause issues with structure and layout, confusing many email clients – that can only deal with very basic table structures.

Extra time

The lesson to learn from this is to think about how you might be able to use the data you store about customers to impress them. For instance, can you use a customer’s purchase history to recall fond memories from previous orders?

Unfortunately, there’s also another lesson which we see again and again: it’s vital to test your emails in the broadest range of email clients possible to expose any flaws in how they are coded.

Because we understand how important this is, it’s no co-incidence that dotMailer has some exceptional features to support this- have a look at our Email Client Analysis report. Using this you will be able to see what email clients you should be putting most effort into making sure that your emails render correctly.

So keep this in mind, otherwise, you might make it to the final of a ‘great email marketing campaign’ but you’ll never win the cup!

I, on the other hand, may get another chance… Excuse me while I go and renew my account…