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Deconstruct This Home Depot Email Campaign

We haven’t asked your opinions on an email campaign in a while so I thought I’d put forward this message that hit my inbox earlier this week.
Take a look and add your thoughts on what they did right and where they missed the mark.


(Click the image to see a full-size version of the message.  A very small part of the message’s footer is not seen.)


  1. Steven de Blois
    Steven de Blois April 20, 2007

    The Home Depot Newsletter.
    Well done. All of the ‘best practice’ components including: a Theme/Tag Line “Mow Down….”, visible Call-to-Action “Find a Store”, CRM Builder “Enter Today” & a Value Add “Magazine article View It.”
    Ideas to improve click-through would include: Bullet Point text within paragraph to improve scanability, Cross/Up-sell of other eco-friendly lawn gardening tools & perhaps a Charity or Donation component to promote Home Depot’s Corporate Citizenship above and beyond the strategic partnership with the Clean Air Foundation.

  2. Kelly
    Kelly April 20, 2007

    Visually, I think it looks great, and I agree with Steven’s points above.
    Although there are three things that bother me a little:
    1. Too image-based – If images are off, all you get is a whole lot of small print! Also may cause deliverability issues. While the ‘view online’ link helps, if I’m really busy, I don’t think it’s enough to entice me to keep reading!
    2. Small print wording is great – but there’s so much of it! I would leave standard stuff (unsubscribe, address etc) and revolve the non-essential information between emails. Maybe it’s just me, but a lot of small print seems to scream “We’re hiding something!”
    3. The first call-to-action is a little weak, and the secondary calls – (enter today, view it) are down pretty low, I would go for a vertical layout, with those in a side bar.

  3. Natasha
    Natasha April 21, 2007

    * Trend riding (environmental tie-in)
    * Sufficient notice (i.e. two days before event…although I hope they do another “reminder” send).
    * Graphic heavy
    * Too many calls to action (albeit related)
    * “Subject” line with spammy keywords (save money)
    * “From” line not personal
    * Adjusting email preferences requires…registration??

  4. Ken Schafer - One Degree
    Ken Schafer - One Degree April 21, 2007

    Natasha says:
    “From” line not personal
    Is that what you mean? How would you personalize the from?

  5. Simon Rodrigue
    Simon Rodrigue April 21, 2007

    Ken and all,
    Thanks for the feedback and keep it coming.
    We appreciate it,

  6. Natasha
    Natasha April 22, 2007

    Hi Ken,
    From long-time lurker to two comments in one day 🙂
    This is B2C and a bit of leeway is allowed when it comes to being personal, no? Not so sure I need to have “corporate” sending me messages.
    Since there seems to be some focus on building a team of associates that help clients build their dreams (nice!), could email like this not be from…
    Cindy, Outdoor Living Associate
    Melinda, Home Depot Associate Team
    Frank, Dream Foreman
    …or whatever their actual names are at “corporate?”

  7. Colin Smillie
    Colin Smillie April 22, 2007

    My first thought was that its a good piece. Showing this to a friend who’s first language is not English, the “Mow Down” was not easily understood.
    The unsubscribe looks really crazy, mailing address, phone number etc..
    I’m also not clear on whether or not you can reply to this message.

  8. Hey Ken…
    This is a good looking email.
    Since all your providing is a screenshot can you tell us, was there any optimization for images being disabled or people viewing in the preview pane?
    Can we see a screenshot of what it first looked like when you saw it in your email client?
    BTW…if the email was in partnership with the Clean Air Foundation where is there branding, logo or link for that matter?
    Once again…good looking email :o)
    Another BTW… I just did the Home Depot survey found on the bottom of the receipt I received from my purchase in-store. It will be interesting to see if they tie the newsletter opt back to the survey. I will watch for this in the initial emails they send.
    Such as thanks for taking our survey and signing up to receive our newsletter type of thing (just to keep it relevant).

  9. Kelly
    Kelly April 22, 2007

    “”From” line not personal”
    If she means using a person’s name – I would disagree. Since Home Depot is definitely a well-known brand, then it makes the most sense to use that as the From name.
    Also, I def. agree about the “Save money” not being the best wording in the subject, but great job on keeping the subject line down to five words! I love it!
    Simon – glad to see you are paying attention & welcoming feedback! Since email marketing is always changing – the worst any company can do is become complacent about its program!

  10. June Macdonald
    June Macdonald April 23, 2007

    I think the subject line is perfect, ‘Save money’ is a definite attention grabber that demands action, combined with helping the environment is great.
    A couple tweaks I can think of,
    the sub heading in all caps is a little harder to read (vs. lowercase or title case) and that’s where the savings offer is. I would also be interested to know if addressing the recipient by name (Dear Ken) would lift response.
    The main thing I would be testing is the call to action, as “Find a store” immediately implies work and something the user couldn’t complete right away, and therefore might defer. Maybe, “Find your local store” or “Print this offer” … I’m sure they could come up with some great ideas that would propel the user to take a first action step. A “Find out more” small link for users who like getting a lot of info would be worth trying, too.
    To comment on an earlier comment, I applaud the completeness of the unsub info, some of it is I assume standard for CAN-SPAM compliance, but it demonstrates their commmitment to customer service, which reassures customers and increases their trust and receptiveness to all Home Depot offers.

  11. Johnn
    Johnn April 23, 2007

    Lots of good feedback above. Great reading!
    My two cents:
    * I like the photo size. If I was in the market for a mower it would catch my attention. Good call on the too-small text size in relation to the pic though.
    * I vote thumbs down on the subject. It doesn’t speak to me as a lawnmower customer. Plus, I get a lot of e-mails that promise me stuff in the subject line and don’t come through, so Save Money gets my guard up.
    * Send to a Friend. Does anyone have stats for their list of that people use that? My feeling is that the forward button is mostly used, and people don’t need to leave their e-mail application (assuming they’re being taken to a web form), nor do they have to give up a friend’s address to The Man (again, assuming link goes to web form).
    * Francais, along with Send to Friend, I’d shove down below preview pane territory. If they’ve segmented well, most folks will already be receiving the e-mail in their language of preference.
    * We had a huge footer/legal/unsub block as well that we successfully shrunk. To reduce this newsletter’s, consider putting address along very bottom centered on one line; remove disclaimer part and just link to account settings – put upsell of registration text on registration web page; remove excess verbiage in unsubscribe sentence and just use “unsubscribe” as anchor text – easier for folks to find that way too.
    * 10 days to propagate e-mail preference changes? Just wondering why it’s not instant.
    * I vote to just link “View this e-mail online” and get rid of the extra text at the top. What’s left is more action-oriented and scannable.

  12. Simon Rodrigue
    Simon Rodrigue April 23, 2007

    Again – I wanted to say thanks, we are taking this feedback to heart and will be including it as we continue to tweak the program. Your feedback is much appreciated.
    Ken anytime you want to put one of’s initiatives up for review please feel free.

  13. Mark Alves
    Mark Alves April 24, 2007

    Regarding “view this e-mail online,” those reading the message through a Web-based service such as Yahoo or Gmail might already believe they are reading the e-mail online. Perhaps “view this e-mail on our website” or a similar tie-in to the website would be clearer. Even “alternate version if having difficulty viewing message.”

  14. Craig Ritchie
    Craig Ritchie April 24, 2007

    Thanks for this analysis, one-degreers. Always looking for ammo in the fight against poor email practices — and this home depot email is much better than those I’m trying to improve.

Comments are closed.