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Friday, Aug. 21, 2009 at 10:30 am

Nikon’s Email Marketing is Out of Focus

By Bryan Eisenberg
August 21st, 2009

nikon-d300-3I love Nikon. My dad had a Nikon. I bought my first Nikon SLR (an F3) when I was in college and a couple of years ago my wife brought me into the digital DSLR world by buying me a Nikon D60 for Father’s day.  So it pains me to see a company I love make such critical mistakes.

Last night, I got an email from them on my Blackberry.  Like most people, I typically just delete promotional emails, but I decided to hold on to this one, considering the headline said “My Picturetown – 20GB for just a few cents a day!”

You can see the full email by clicking the picture below.

Nikon email My Picturetown - 20GB for just a few cents a day! — Inbox

Broken Scent Renders Landing Page All But Useless

I clicked on their call to action “Store my photos and videos” and after the jump was offered “Sign Up For Free,” by the headline, followed by a form and a graphic proclaiming: “2GB FREE!”  Notice how all “scent” or messaging connection to the email is lost on this landing page (pictured below)?

Enter Member Information - my PicturetownAs you can see, there’s no mention of the 20GB at all (I wonder if it was a typo), let alone information about the e-mail’s offer of 20GB storage for just a few cents a day.  I was wondering how few cents it actually is: 2 cents, 10 cents or 99 cents?

Also I couldn’t help wondering what was up with the big empty box before the sign-up form’s confirm button.  What is that for?  I tried it in multiple browsers on my Mac and even tried it on a PC, but it remained empty.  Keep in mind that I only put in that extra effort because I planned on critiquing the form.  Most potential customers won’t bother checking to see if the form renders correctly in alternate browsers/platforms – that’s why it’s the marketing team’s job!

What Nikon Should Have Done

1. I hope Nikon are testing their email marketing offers before send them to their whole list. Otherwise that’s like being there for that perfect picture moment, the once in a life-time shot, snapping the photo, and realizing you left your lens cover on.  Send out your email to a small portion of your list 5-10% and watch the metrics and website analytics to see how people behave. Then tweak accordingly.

2. Nikon’s e-mail could have directed visitors to sign-up for the free service AND THEN upgrade to the paid 20GB account (they event offer a 200GB plan). It would also have been a good idea to repeat this information both on the landing page and in a follow-up e-mail after customers signed up for their free account.

Or Nikon could have offered their e-mail subscribers the choice of services directly from within their e-mail, with two separate calls to action, maybe with the second CTA looking like: “…or upgrade to a Gold 20GB account for only $2.99 a month.”  By the way, if you’re wondering where I got that price from, I had to Google “MyPicturetown,” and then really dig into Nikon’s website to – finally! – find the pricing info in their tour pages.

3. They should make sure their form works on all platforms and browsers. I can only imagine that that box has to be the terms and conditions. Sorry but my Mac with Firefox and Safari didn’t see a thing. Everything should be tested to make sure it works.

4. Their landing page design should have better visual impact. Currently, it has all of the design sensibilities of a 3 year old taking their first picture: no focus, no impact, no clear subject and leaves you wanting.  Nikon has a great brand, known for their great visuals, but what happened to this product team?

Nikon needs to work much harder than this if they want to acquire customers.  I already have a Flickr Pro account and a Picasa account. Others like me (very much in their target market) need plenty of reasons to change what we are currently doing. Maybe next time they’ll capture me at the right moment.

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Comments (37)

  1. thats interesting. i get a lot of stuff like that from companies. they do all these marketing campaigns that really arent what they turn out to be. great post btw

  2. Email marketing is notoriously bad with big companies. We recently bought a car and started getting the new car sale stuff within a week after purchase. I don’t know about you, but I typically wait at least a month before I turn in my new car for another! Big companies have access to so much personal information and habits, yet they never segment their lists…..terrible marketing and very short sighted.

  3. Thats wierd why Nikon is doing that.
    Maybe Nikon should had done what you have written in your post.
    Btw, i too like nikon and i am gonna buy one soon, i have a budget of 200-300$, thinking of a good model to buy one, can someone suggest one ?

  4. Oops Edit : i forgot to say, but i am gonna blog this on my blog too, with a linkback to your site, will it be ok ? – Here’s the site

  5. They’ve made a real pig’s ear of this. Email marketing really needs to be tested on a variety of different platforms to ensure it is working correctly and makes sense. If not done properly it can be worse than not sending the email at all.

  6. Well, isn’t that typical.

    Some marketing guy thinks this is a great offer – but he do not know anything about email marketing campains at all.

  7. Email Marketing is the last aspect of Web Marketing, maybe less important

  8. This is a perfect example of exactly what not to do. I see it all the time where someone comes up with an idea but it only gets partially implemented and turns out to be a true disaster. I understand that their trying to retain and resell to customers however something so poorly executed can actually cost customers in the long run. Maybe they will see the error or their ways and improve next time around.

  9. Email marketing (not spam)can be the most important part of your internet marketing campaign because generally you already have these people as either past customers or someone who is interested in your product. As noted the mistake here is lack of quality control and teting.

  10. In my country there is new act now against those kind of marketing e-mails. It has reduced all that kind of stuff.

  11. I think this is a great review. I do although think the author should spell check or at least critique the article before sending to the world.

  12. I’m not sure why I would pay a monthly fee for storage? I can get a terrabyte for AUD150! perhaps security? if so I’d be pushing that message because the thought of losing my precious pictures would be a much bigger draw than 2gb for free! I have 2gb on my keyring!

  13. Yeah well, my mac and firefox and Safari could not enlarge the images on this post either, so I guess nobody is spared from browser compatibility issues.

  14. You’d think a company of that size in this day and age would be able to do better. Hire a guru guys!

  15. Hey, great comments, but a question… since you said you love Nikon, I was wondering whether you relayed all of this to them directly?

  16. That’s really bad of Nikon to do something as low-ball as that. You’d expect more from such a large company.

  17. I´m an internet marketer and my expierience is, that big companies are very unflexible in case of email marketing. They are not open-minded for new and innovative ideas.

  18. thats interesting, thanks for sharing.

  19. Well, its a typo mistake or a test mail. Did you notified them about those mistakes? I believe it will help them to improve in their next attempt.

  20. I can’t believe that they have such a unclear email, it goes to show that despite the advances in technology if you use it wrong it could hurt you more than help

  21. i had a bad feeling for the Email marketing.
    What’s more,big companies are not flexible enough.
    In some extent,they are not open-minded.

  22. A great example of how big companies and still get the basics totally wrong, shame.

  23. Email marketing really needs to be tested on a variety of different platforms to ensure it is working correctly and makes sense.

  24. There is something wrong with Nikon.
    I love Nikon too. I still owe an FM and a few Nikkors.
    So I bought a Nikon digital camera and was disappointed.
    The reviews of Nikon cameras are all alike: hard to use, slow, not very usable.
    Also the software that came with the camera was horrible.
    To me, without any additional information, Nikon seems to have an engineer-driven product lineup.
    They are endangered. For example I wish I had bought a Canon …

  25. I can’t believe that they have such a unclear email, it goes to show that despite the advances in technology if you use it wrong it could hurt you more than help.

  26. Their landing page design should have better visual impact. it is true only then user will remain in the page.

  27. LOL, nice catch. That is too funny, it always shocks me when large corporations like Nikon can make such major mistakes.

  28. I love Nikon because I have a D40 with a whole bunch of lenses. I’m glad they don’t send me this marketing rubbish though.

  29. I prefer Canon to Nikon.Ninon coolpix looks more expensive than Canon powershot.

  30. It’s pretty sad that a company of this size doesn’t have someone on their team who knows how to optimize this stuff, isn’t it? I would be embarrassed if I were them!

  31. It’s those Japanese, they’re out of touch.

  32. That is a terrible landing page! They did nothing to help me trust their webform. Entering my personal information into a form linked from an email is usually a bad idea, they need to establish trust first.

  33. That’s annoying. It is really frustrating when you’re told one thing but another thing is what you get. :(

  34. t would also have been a good idea to repeat this information both on the landing page and in a follow-up e-mail after customers signed up for their free account.

  35. It means they hired somebody who does not have much experience in email promotion.

  36. You’re so right, they shouldn’t have done that, now people will just junk mail their email address. I hate it when companies just send you junk that’s unrelated

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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