Top Tips for embracing SMS in your B2B marketing

Top Tips for embracing SMS in your B2B marketing

We are all addicted to our mobile phones, both for business and pleasure. But what makes it all the more appealing for B2B marketeers is that we are happy to use them to interact with our favourite brands.

SMS can boost your results, no matter what your industry, and used well can have a positive and amplifying effect on your communications.

Check out our 5 top tips for making the most of SMS Continue reading

e-shot is evolving


PUT your brand in the Palm of their hand

We are delighted to announce that on 1st March we will be adding SMS messaging to the e-shot™ services broadening your campaign capabilities.

After you finish work this Tuesday evening, 28th February, our crack team of developers will be busy releasing our latest e-shot update, so when you log in on 1st March things are going to look a little bit different.  Continue reading

Would you trust and buy from a company that has an amateur looking email?

Designing and building an email sounds easy, yet there are many different factors that quickly make us email designers lose our minds.

Often I’ll design and build an email that looks awesome in Gmail but it somehow looks broken in Microsoft Outlook!

One reason why many of us have had this problem is because email clients have different rendering engines from one another, making email designers go a bit loco trying to appease them all.

Whether you’re new to email design or you’ve been doing it for years, it’s vital to know how different email clients like Gmail and Outlook render emails. It’s best to know what’s under the hood and how it works, because the rendering of the email will decide how your email looks.

The question is, would you trust and buy from a company that have an amateur, broken looking email?

If the answer is “no” then keep reading!

Continue reading

Every. Bloody. Episode.


Click here to see the animated gif.

Game of Thrones returned to our screens in the UK on April 7th 2014 for a fourth season. If you’re a fan of the sex, swords and sandals series you won’t need reminding – my excitement is certainly reaching fever pitch. The type of anticipation I’ve only reserved for a select few show returns of the past few years – Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Sherlock, House of Cards, every single Scandinavian crime drama etc.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons I eagerly opened this email from NOW TV. Seeing the subject line “Games of Thrones Seasons 1-3. To miss it would be scandalous” my brain probably stopped reading at “Thrones” and I clicked open hastily.

What’s interesting is the excellent main image in their email. It didn’t have to be revolutionary to get GoT fans interested, yet the animated gif revolving between Joffrey, Ned Stark and Khaleesi is an eye-catching opening.

On the other hand it’s a relatively risky approach.

Continue reading

Campaign of the month: March – Evolution Complete Business Sales!



The moment has come. Please get to your feet and give a big hand to the Campaign of the Month award winner for March 2014…. Evolution Complete Business Sales!

Their campaign is a brilliant example of email design. Plus, from the colour scheme to the font, everything is in strict keeping with their distinctive brand identity.

That’s not all. The main picture is impressive and eye-catching, but without dominating the email unnecessarily.

In fact, throughout the message the picture to text ratio is spot on. Photographs never overwhelm the email, even though here they help create intrigue about the message.

This aspect of the email means that when the message is viewed in an inbox that doesn’t automatically display images, such as the pesky Microsoft Outlook, the email’s text still gets across.

But there isn’t an intimidating amount of text either.

The social sharing buttons at the top are sleekly presented and designed, without fading into the background too much.

As for the content, there’s very few ways as perfect for encouraging good subscriber engagement as two incredibly esteemed British Olympians staring out at you! Evolution CBS’ email boasts Steve Backley OBE and Roger Black MBE, alongside leading business coach Paul Hannam.

The email isn’t overcomplicated with lots of topics, and the aim of the message is clear; find out more about the iPerform® Programme.

With two big, bold calls to action to “Activate MY NO RISK TRIAL”, the email is straightforward and a very well thought-out way to generate interest.

Making Evolution CBS deserving winners of our Campaign of the Month award.

To find out how you could create such effective emails, easily and quickly, give e-shot a call on 0203 320 8777 or visit our website today.




Increase your email marketing ROI with CANDDi’s deep insights on your website visitors.

Since the first email was sent in 1971, it has been an increasingly powerful method for reaching out to wide audiences in a personalised way.

 Email, the king of mass personal communication

Recent research* has highlighted that email has become more and more important in customer acquisition, now accounting for almost 7% of total new customer acquisition, a seven fold increase in four years and far more than all social media combined.

g1 If email remains one of the most personal communication channels, the reality is we know very little about what happens after someone receives it. If that’s ok in some situations, but for B2B marketers engaged in high value sales it can be a real challenge.

Who to follow up with? What are they really interested in? When is the right time to contact a prospect?  

Most Email Service Providers offer two sets of reports to help answer these questions: opens and clicks through.

Though many use the opens report to generate a list of leads to call back, on the basis it corresponds to people who had a certain level of interaction with the email, the results can be disappointing. A sales development representative going through that list inevitably faces the situation of speaking with people who didn’t engage with the email, or even didn’t open it.

Clicks through are more reliable but still provide very limited insights on the level of engagement of the visitor with a website.

Indeed, there’s a massive difference between a click followed by an immediate bounce and someone looking at your offering for 5 minutes and coming back three times on your website in the next couple of weeks through a search engine query on your product or brand name.

Increase your email ROI knowing who’s been on your website and what they’ve looked at

In the same way that personalisation in the email can increase the conversion rate by 25%**, identifying the right prospect and knowing precisely what is important to him and when to engage with him improves the outcome of sales interactions in a dramatic way.

CANDDi addresses this problem with a tracking tool that builds a detailed profile of each unique website visitor. Used in conjunction with emails, CANDDi tells the B2B marketer not only who clicked through, but who the visitors are with their social media information and what they have been looking at over the different visits to the website: pages viewed, videos watched, documents downloaded, forms submitted, searches made…

“With CANDDi, we know what they are interested in before we even start to talk to them” – customer in the charity sector

Precisely answering the questions “who is on my website” and “what’s happening after the click on my email” CANDDi helps B2B companies increase their ROI by focusing of the right prospect, knowing what they are interested in, and receiving alerts when they are back on the website.

Companies now have a way to go beyond opens and clicks through, to focus their efforts on the most relevant leads, thus keeping their sales people maximising their time on discussions that matter.

Contact CANDDi on or 0161 414 1080 for a free online demonstration and conversation on how to integrate with


Frederic Abrard


CANDDi is a partner of Forfront e-shot and fully integrates with e-shot’s email technology. 

*Custora e-commerce acquisition snapshot 2013, study on 72 million customers from 86 US retailers across 14 industries. Available at



Valentine’s Day Email Marketing

Article by: Tom Hughes

In 2013 something like £18billion was spent on Valentine’s Day. It’s an unfathomable amount, but just goes to show just how much the day is seriously big business. Its big enough business that companies as wide-ranging as rum brands and electronics retailers theme their marketing for the day – it’s not just the obvious romance-related firms like restaurants and florists that suddenly go all pink and flowery.

So we decided this called for an examination of some of the best and worst examples of Valentine’s email marketing around.

Café Rouge & Pizza Express

Two of the big players in the UK for special offers and promotions are Café Rouge and Pizza Express, so naturally they got in there early with their standard Valentine’s Day emails. We recently looked at Café Rouge’s inventive tube strike marketing but their Feb 14th offering is sadly less creative – although the line “Paris is always a good idea” is perfect for a French restaurant. It hits the nail on the head in terms of what their subscribers are looking for at this time of year. Whether that’s because they’ve got a hot date, or just because they’re after a good deal, their design is easy on the eye too.

cafe-rouge pizza-express



Their previous effort “Love at first touch” uses a Valentine’s theme (and a pun) to sell their iPod Touch – but this year they’ve chosen something even more cleverly worded. I’m a big fan of the line “Include a few love letters” to both represent Valentine’s Day and as an opportunity to show off the engraving they provide. Big thanks to Vikki Ross for this suggestion.





UncommonGoods were featured in our five exceptional examples of retail email last week, but, like Café Rouge, in their 2013 offering they’ve gone for the risk-free, standard approach for Valentine’s Day and opted for “top 10 gifts” for him and her. What saves it for them is simply letting the oddball collection of items on their site speak for themselves.



Sailor Jerry

Another thanks goes out to Vikki Ross for this spot, and it’s my favourite of the lot. To begin with, they’re on to a winner with the subject line “A sale, hell yeah. A Valentine’s sale, hell no.” As we’ve seen with Barack Obama’s election-winning campaigning these sort of soft swearwords really improve email open rates. Nice to see a brand sort of make a Valentine’s email while maintaining that they are most definitely not making a Valentine’s email. The broken hearted tattoo art and the copy of the email all add to this tone of voice, I particularly like the lines “Yes, we ARE having a huge-ass sale — but it’s only because we need to make room for our Spring Collection. Far be it for us to commercialize this modest holiday.” Top marks.




iStock have produced a really poor effort. They’ve gone for the classic approach of mentioning Valentine’s in the subject line and loosely selling their product with the holiday, while not actually making the email very Valentine’s themed or relevant. Well, they do have this stock of Valentine’s pics to buy but their whole email feels cheap – and the photographs they’ve chosen aren’t especially exciting considering their business is supplying pictures!



Rakuten /

Finally, Oh dear. Picking the opposite approach to iStock, their email also fails. The message is completely overloaded with Valentine’s guff. Clichés abound, the whole thing is a sickly pink and covered in flowery decoration and hearts. It even ends with buttons marked “underwear” and “lingerie” after trying to bundle every single product they sell as in some way romance-related, from tech gifts to glam clothes. Also, at the end of the message the Valentine’s theme suddenly ends and it’s business as usual, which is a strange postscript.




1. Don’t just market for couples

Whilst Valentine’s Day is a time for couples, romance etc etc, don’t forget that single people exist and they will spend money at this time of year too. 60% of V-Day shoppers buy something for friends or family members – neglect these people at your peril.

2. Build a relationship with your contacts

Every time you speak to your customer base, whether by email, social media or in person, you are building a relationship. This is the perfect time to say thanks to your subscribers – send an offer, exclusive content, promotion or even send a survey to capture data from your contacts to continually boost brand awareness and improve your rapport with better personalised messages in the future.

3. We can help

I don’t just mean call us on 0203 320 8777 or visit our website to find out how we can help you get your email marketing spot on for Feb 14th and beyond, but take inspiration from the examples above. Don’t go nonsensically overboard like or boring and extraneous like iStock. Do be original and cheeky like Sailor Jerry, clever like Apple or tasteful and sensible like Café Rouge. Most of all, just don’t make your Valentine’s campaign look like a last minute afterthought.

Super Bowl Ads 2014


After our look at some of the best Super Bowl adverts of all time recently, we thought it was only right to return to the subject again, this time documenting the successes and failures in the multi-million dollar 2014 market.

The Seattle Seahawks weren’t the only winners at the Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2nd, while some brands lost almost as badly as the Broncos.

To kick thingsoff on a Seahawks-style positive note, Radio Shack’s effort is entertaining, self-aware and packed with great references, and it made me chuckle which is a good way to start.

From all of the adverts I’ve trawled through, I’d say this T-Mobile entry is hands down the most inventive and tongue-in-cheek. Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow didn’t get a new contract this year, but in this ad he showed he has a sense of humour about it…

However, my ultimate Super Bowl advertising champion goes to Bud Light. Mainly because of Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a mullet wig, playing “tiny tennis”. But also as there’s a ridiculous amount of other odd, expensive, candid-camera style gimmicks in there too.

On the other hand, it’s hard to say where Bob Dylan comes on the winner/loser scale.

He was a winner for featuring in the 2014 Super Bowl adverts twice, but it might not have done his waning musical credibility the world of good. The ex-folk singer lent his 1966 single I Want You to this advert for Chobani Yogurt, while he also appeared in, and narrated, the most American advert of all time. Seriously. It asks, “Is there anything more American than America?”

As we mentioned in our first article on Super Bowl ads, Budweiser seem to try to dominate the American Football event simply by overwhelming us with so many adverts. The beer brand tried this again in 2014 with not one, but two entries. They’re both a bit cheesy and over-earnest to be honest.

Predictably, considering how much the thirty second ad spots cost, lots of other big, universal brands all gave it a shot. Microsoft’s is touching, Coca-Cola’s strives for American patriotism as well as embracing diversity, Audi’s is plain awful and Maserati’s seems like it’s selling perfume rather than cars.

In fact, very few of the ads seem particularly entertaining, noteworthy or inventive. Chevy go for the comedy aspect but to be honest it just isn’t very good, and while the Toyota ad features The Muppets it still seems a bit phoned-in.

Of course, we won’t know for some time how successful these ads really are. Until sales figures are in plus social media shares and YouTube views slow down and can start to be totted up.

But in terms of their quality, a lot of money is thrown at the ads – on their stars, their soundtracks, their production values and their TV placement – but there’s an incredible lack of inspiration for the most part.

Certainly nothing close to Volkswagen’s The Force commercial from 2011.

Café Rouge are Going Underground



The day before London experienced two days of commuting misery while tube workers held a 48 hour strike, this email from Café Rouge popped into my inbox.

We’ve looked at brilliant reactive email marketing on the e-shot blog before. However, this great example by B&Q was reactive in the truest sense of the term; it appeared in the aftermath of extremely bad storms in the UK.

Café Rouge have gone one step further.

The tube strike was announced well in advance, so they had time to plan and arrange their topical email promotion to arrive in inboxes the day before the transport closures in England’s capital.

So when subscribers opened the message it couldn’t have been any more up-to-date and relevant.

As tempting as it is to swap my dull sandwiches for their moules marinières, my commute doesn’t involve taking the tube – so asking my boss to work from a French restaurant is probably not going to happen.

I’d imagine that’s the same for a lot of people.

Yet while people might not follow the “try working from Café Rouge this week” suggestion in their droves, the email succeeds because it puts the restaurant right into subscribers’ minds with a great offer.

When lunchtime comes around, the “delay free” set menu might be too difficult to resist. Especially if your commute took twice as long as usual (and you had to skip breakfast).

Another company trying to use the strike for their benefit is Innocent Drinks who posted this picture on their Twitter feed (twice within two hours). The problem with Innocent’s tactic is that is seems entirely motivated to gain internet attention, without offering any sort of valuable promotion like Café Rouge’s two-course discount.

Innocent’s “London Transport Options” picture is overbearingly twee and whimsical, as if the whole tube strike was some sort of childhood adventure. Nevertheless, they know their followers well as the tone of the image has definitely worked from a social media standpoint – gaining a combined total of almost 5,000 retweets at the time of writing.

Clearly, reactive marketing can be an extremely worthwhile exercise, whether by email or social media. But only if it’s carried out as expertly as in these two examples.


london transport

5 Exceptional Examples of Retail Email

Sometimes companies get email marketing spot on or they really hit the nail on the head. Of course, there are times when it goes horribly and disastrously wrong, but occasionally you can find yourself surprised and entertained; reading to the bottom of the message, clicking, forwarding to a friend, or even deciding to make a purchase right away.

Below we have picked five examples of emails that come into the first category; instances of email marketing skill and imagination – for a variety of different reasons.

However, coming clean from the start, the below emails were stumbled across by hunting the internet – I haven’t actually received them myself (just in case you wondered why they’re all addressed to different people). I’m not scamming brands for small discounts and I don’t have multiple personality disorder either.


1. UncommonGoods



Key Strength: Content


This email from the unusual American shop UncommonGoods pretty much blew me away. I can’t remember seeing an email that so creatively tells a story using its quirky products, let alone an email that contains items as varied as a neck tie, luggage bags and a bowl made from a bike chain!

It’s playful and full of puns – which are always appreciated – but crucially UncommonGoods have devised a creative and fun way to display a range of goods while keeping you reading right through to the end of the email. It’s charming, funny and really effective.


2. Amazon


Key Strength: Relevance


The way Amazon’s targeted emails work borders on the telepathic. I’m sure it’s all down to complex algorithms rather than thousands of internet retail soothsayers, but their triggered campaigns are relevant to the point of being uncanny. It’s hard to find another retailer that could possibly compete. For instance, click on a couple of cameras on their site and the next thing you know you’re receiving a message advertising their bestselling or best-value cameras in the range you perused, in a effectively personalised email that must surely encourage an incomparable amount of site returns and purchases.


3. Dominos

Dominos 2

Key Strength: Timing


Two things Dominos’ email marketing excels at; timing, and making their messages mouth-wateringly attractive. This email ticks both boxes, timed to hit your inbox in the mid to late afternoon, for when the memories of lunch are fading, subscribers are starting to feel peckish and wondering what they’ll do for dinner. Obviously, the pizza retailer have also mastered the art of capturing truly tantalising shots of their pizzas, which really to add to the temptation to buy.


4. Dell


Key Strength: Design


Things aren’t going so well for Dell at the moment, their heyday is behind them and the computer market is fierce and unforgiving. Nevertheless, this email from back in 2011 shows some really great design, compelling arguments to buy, humour, eye-catching illustration and call-to-actions all over the place (without being too in your face). I particularly like the fact Dell’s email used simple black and white drawings to get their point across – managing to make their computers look great in a unique way without resorting to flashy photographs.

Plus, the entire thing reads a bit like a Buzzfeed or Mashable article – “5 Signs You Need a New PC” – with that catchy, engaging style they do so well. Oh wait, here’s a similar Buzzfeed piece.


5. Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway

Key Strength: Ingenuity!


Offering 10% off? A subscriber might click if they like your brand. 20% off? Getting warmer. 30% off? Very tempting.

But even promising 30% off in an email promotion might not cause subscribers to click through to your site if they’re not in the mood or feeling a bit grouchy. So, in this example, Rent the Runway have used an ingenious incentive to get click-through rates absolutely skyrocketing; an element of intrigue and surprise!

As far as a subscriber knows every single person that clicks might be ending up with the minimum amount, but by turning the discovery of their discount into an action that feels like a prize draw they have undoubtedly drawn an immense volume of interaction, site hits and the holy grail of potential sales conversions.



These aren’t the best retailer emails of all time, they’re simply very effective and different approaches to email marketing. There’s plenty of wisdom to be found in their techniques as well as tips that all users of email marketing could utilise to their benefit.

To help you create similarly stunning campaigns, why not give us a call on 020 3320 8777 or visit our website today?