Twitter direct sales, email madness and unsubscribe nutterdom

The magical world of online marketing is never, ever dull. Here’s another post covering current digital marketing, copywriting and related stories.

Twitter tests direct sales in the USA

On 8th September Twitter launched a revolutionary test: a new way for users to find and buy stuff direct from tweets. Initially the test will involve a ‘small percentage’ of US users, with ‘some’ tweets from Twitter’s partners in the test including a buy button.
Facebook gets it wrong
Having slammed Facebook for their habit of using my activity to target ads in a particularly unsubtle and annoying way, I’m perfectly happy with tweets containing buy buttons, simply because it doesn’t – so far – seem to involve using my habits and preferences to target products and offers at me. In this case I am in charge of who I follow, thus what I see and don’t see.
Exclusive offers for people who follow partner organisations
The test is being billed as an “early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun.” Cool. And apparently users will be able to access offers and products not available anywhere else, giving sellers a way to transform cordial relationships into actual sales.
So far Twitter has partnered with Fancy, Gumroad, Musictoday and Stripe for the test, and more partners will be coming on board soon. The initiative will test making a purchase in just a few clicks, and it seems pretty damn simple: click the buy button in the tweet, review extra information about the product, enter your address and payment details and once everything’s confirmed, your order is sent to the merchant.
For followers only… fingers crossed
I presume users will have to actually follow partner companies to see tweets containing the buy button. In which case it’s fine with me. I’m happy to follow brands whose products I might like to buy, but I’d be most dis-chuffed if they somehow turned up in my timeline without my permission.
It’s a fine line. Facebook crossed it long ago, and I dearly hope Twitter, a social medium I love, doesn’t follow suit.

What your email marketing system CAN’T do for you

Read the bumph and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the best email marketing software does absolutely everything for you. And you’d be right… almost.
All singing, all dancing email marketing systems? Well, almost
If you’re lucky your email marketing software will be able to identify anonymous visitors. It will be able to build drip-feed campaigns to nurture prospects along the sale funnel and create beautiful-looking emails as well as gorgeous-looking landing pages. It’ll help you build flexible forms that change according to the person who’s filling them in. And, of course, spew out any number of magical stats to help you analyse how well or otherwise your efforts are performing.
But there’s an elephant in the room. Actually, it’s more like a woolly mammoth.
Woolly mammoth alert…
Your email marketing system may indeed shit wonders and fart miracles.  But unless the words you use in your subject lines and emails, on your landing pages and everywhere else are written with direct response in mind – eloquent, exciting, persuasive and clear – you’ll be whistling in the wind.
A lot of people think email marketing doesn’t work. But it works perfectly well. It’s remarkably powerful stuff provided you get the words right. Without them, all that cool tech, automation, information and eye candy means absolutely nothing. So get a direct marketing savvy copywriter on the case.

Always provide an opt-out. And make sure the blasted thing actually works

I don’t like to name and shame sinners. So I won’t. But it’s incredibly annoying when you get stuck in an unsubscribe loop.
In one email I got recently, clicking on the ‘unsubscribe’ link achieved nothing at all because the link was bust. In another case doing so didn’t stop the relentless flow of emails – I unsubscribed and received an acknowledgement, but still they came. In the third case, the unsubscribe link took me to a page that didn’t mention unsubscribing at all. Weird. And in the fourth case there was no way to unsubscribe.
Even if your prospect has actively opted in, it’s common courtesy to provide an opt out. Every prospect deserves an opt-out option, and you should include one in every communication, of every type. It also helps if it actually works!

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