Practical Ecommerce

Email Case Study: Allrecipes.com Makes Daily Frequency Work

For many ecommerce sites, sending marketing emails every day may be scary, fearing that recipients will unsubscribe based on the number of emails they are receiving. However, sending daily emails can make sense for many business models. In this month’s case study, I’ll explore Allrecipes’ daily email and discuss why it is so effective.

This article is the third installment in my “case study” series where I critique email-marketing programs from leading companies. The first installment, “Email Case Study: Analyzing J.C. Penney’s Frequency, Subject Lines,” we published last August. For the second installment, in September, I analyzed Travelzoo’s simple, text-based email program and suggested why it is so successful. For this third installment, I’ll review Allrecipes’ daily email newsletter, “The Daily Dish.”

Background

Allrecipes is a site where users can access thousands of recipes submitted by other users. The site has many other features allowing users to build out weekly menus with associated shopping lists as well as post their own recipes. Being a fan of Allrecipes, I frequent the site for recipe ideas and subscribe to its daily email.

Daily Email

Allrecipes sends a daily email entitled “The Daily Dish.” The subject line always reflects the dish of the day, and each email reflects a different recipe.

The subject line is simply the name of the daily recipe.

The subject line is simply the name of the daily recipe.

Content

“The Daily Dish” features one main recipe of that day. It also highlights an additional slow cooker recipe and a handful of other recipes at the bottom of the email. The recipient will likely find at least one item in the email worth clicking — if he or she is not interested in the featured recipe of the day.

The email highlights a handful of recipes that the reader might enjoy.

The email highlights a handful of recipes that the reader might enjoy.

4 Reasons Why it Works

For over five years I have been receiving this email. I don’t open every one, but I open many and typically will click on one or more of the recipes. I haven’t unsubscribed because of the volume I receive. There are a number of reasons why this particular email works so well.

  1. Proper Expectations. When signing up for “The Daily Dish,” I was informed that the email was a daily. Consumers are very sensitive to what they are receiving in their inbox — emails are permission based, after all. I was not surprised or annoyed at the frequency of the emails because I knew it as I was signing up. Setting these proper expectations in advance prevents high unsubscribes later.
  2. Value. By delivering a different recipe to the inbox every day, Allrecipes is providing a good service and value to their recipients. For those who don’t know what they are going to make for dinner that night or need good ideas for what to make for an upcoming event, the site delivers great ideas daily, without the recipient having to go back and search though thousands of potential recipes.
  3. Variety. Each day is a different recipe. Some may find that recipe to be enticing enough to open the email and read it. Some may not. The beauty with Allrecipe.com’s recipes and food in general is that — although a recipe itself may be specific and the chances a person will actually be interested in that exact recipe at the exact time is low — there is a good chance the recipient’s interest is peaked enough to click through the email and explore the site for other ideas.
  4. Sharing. People love great recipes and sharing them. For Allrecipes’ emails, many recipients will forward them to friends or family. In addition, recipients will likely keep the emails in their inbox because they provide valuable information. In fact, I have created a folder of enticing recipes that I keep for reference. Keeping an email in an inbox and referring to it later is perhaps the ultimate goal of any email campaign.

Summary

Many ecommerce merchants fear sending daily emails will increase the number of unsubscribes. But the key for a daily email, or any other email, is to provide useful information, and disclose to subscribers what it is they will be receiving. “The Daily Dish” does a good job of providing useful information and setting expectations in advance as to the frequency.

Carolyn Nye

Carolyn Nye

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Comment ( 1 )

  1. Elizabeth Ball October 17, 2011 Reply

    Daily distribution is fine but gosh you need an awful lot of material to push that out.
    Unless it’s business news, I don’t want to receive anything on a daily basis.
    I feel like Gap and J.Crew are emailing me almost daily and there’s no option to reduce their online barrage to once or twice a month which seems incredible with their level of technology and CRM sophistication!