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This past weekend I bought a new pair of sunglasses (… after losing my old pair that I held dear to my heart…) so I went to Lens Crafters and tried on every pair they had in the store. Then I tried them all on again (…what can I say, I’m picky!).

After finding a pair that I liked and getting the very important thumbs-up from my wife to make sure they actually looked good, I purchased them.

During the check-out process the salesperson at the store asked me a bunch of questions. I could see their screen as they scrolled through all the fields such as name, address, phone number, etc, etc.

Then, I noticed on their screen that it said “Email Address” and something to the effect of “Ask the customer if they would like to join our mailing list to receive updates from us?”

At first I was very impressed with Lens Crafters. It was clear that the higher-ups in the corporation saw the obvious value of building an email mailing list, knew to ask for the email address alongside other information, and even made sure to script things clearly to ensure they received proper opt-in consent to send mailings.

As I watched the salesperson’s screen, I saw her skip over the email section completely!
(In my head, I could hear the higher-ups at Lens Crafters groaning!)

I asked her “Why did you skip over the email address stuff?”

Her response was “Oh, you wouldn’t want to give us your email address because then we’d just send you stuff and people don’t want that.”

Yes, seriously! That is what she said.

First of all, we conduct research studies all the time and people are more than willing (and often times eager) to get emails from businesses they interact with. Heck, if Lens Crafters would have emailed me a coupon a few months ago, I probably would have gone out and bought a new pair of sunglasses right away.

Secondly, I think this situation highlights a major communication and strategy breakdown at Lens Crafters, which is an excellent way for everyone else to learn from their mistakes.

Lens Crafters had made a good strategic decision to really focus on building their email mailing list by asking people right at the peak moment of engagement, which is when they are buying something in their store. The problem is that this strategy came from “upstairs” and was not adopted by everyone else in the organization. This essentially dooms the strategy to fail or, at the very least, to not achieve the maximum results.

It is very important that if your organization is going to adopt a strategy like this, you need adoption from all levels in order to really make it work.

I find one of the best ways to help ensure adoption is to tell people not only what the new strategy is, but WHY they are doing that. I highly doubt the salesperson I was working with at Lens Crafters fully knew or appreciated why getting my email address was important. But, maybe if she was told that by me getting emails, I would be more informed about their products (including features, benefits, price, etc, etc), which would result in me needing to ask less questions in the store. Now the salesperson would understand that getting my email benefits them, benefits me, and benefits the company. At this point there is likely to be higher adoption to the overall strategy.

Of course, if would be nice if adoption was at 100% just because the people “upstairs” said so and in many organizations it may be like that. But, before you make that assumption for your business, be sure to check that everyone is on the same page and shooting towards the same goal.


I’m totally confident that all of you remember the November 1981 issue of Management Review where George T. Doran first used the mnemonic term “SMART” for setting goals. WHAT?! You don’t remember that issue? :) Let me give you the overview…

The idea is that it gives you a framework for creating goals that is as follows:

S = Specific
M = Measureable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant
T = Timely

A valid goal must meet all those criteria. I am a big fan of this framework because I think it provides a good way to ask yourself if the goal(s) you’ve setup are structured properly. After all, if I have the goal of being 6 feet tall, that isn’t particularly a good goal because although it is specific & measureable, it’s not attainable (… and I hear platform shoes are still not in style!).
[Read more @ Wikipedia]

This past weekend I was thinking about this framework while talking to my very good friend Elisha Chesler. She is a talented, passionate and energetic young entrepreneur who owns the Sunshine Learning Center, which is an incredible program that helps children with special needs. (She is also a long time Elite Email client.) She was telling me about all the milestones she’s accomplished in the past few months (…very impressive stuff!), but each time she would list a goal she accomplished, she’d follow it up by saying she wants something more. I truly love the attitude of always wanting ‘more’ and I think shooting for the stars is an excellent plan. But, one of the things I kept saying to her is that you don’t just arrive at those stars you’re shooting for, you need to make a pathway with small measurable goals and celebrate each one of those victories.

This is the same thing we always tell new customers when they are first embarking on email marketing.

Everyone wants to wake up tomorrow and have 100,000+ opt-in mailing list subscribers that are actively engaging with your content, but it just doesn’t happen like that. There is no short-cut and no magic trick for building your mailing list. The process takes time and effort, but the results are well worth it.

Of course, it goes without saying that the bigger your mailing list, the more people you can contact and therefore the more effective your email marketing can be. But, if you are just getting started and have 0 people on your mailing list today, you cannot set the goal of having 100,000 tomorrow. That goal would fail the SMART test (and probably just cause you to be frustrated).

Instead, you need to set short term mailing list growth objectives. How many new contacts do you want to add this month? How many contacts do you want to have at the end of the current quarter? While setting these numbers, you’ll want to choose something that is realistic. Even if your underlying goal is always that you want the biggest number possible, you need to choose something that is attainable.

After you achieve your first goal and your mailing list is starting to get bigger, you can move onto the second goal, then the first goal, etc, etc.

The key is to be patient and trust that over time (with your hard work and effort), you will end up with a really big mailing list. It just won’t happen when you snap your fingers or click your heels three times…. But it will happen!

If you login to your Elite Email account and go to Contacts > More > Get More Contacts, you will find a variety of tools to help you build your mailing list.


Yesterday was a big day, tomorrow is a big day and now we’ve made today a big day.

What am I talking about…?

Well, for fans of the Terminator movie franchise, you might be interested in knowing that yesterday (April 19, 2011) at 8:11pm Skynet came online.

What that means is that the infamous “Judgment Day” is set to happen tomorrow.
[Source: Terminator Wiki ]

Yesterday, director James Cameron actually tweeted “Skynet was supposed to go operational tonight.”

So, just to recap:

April 19: Skynet comes online
April 20: Database server upgrades at Elite Email completed
April 21: Judgment Day

Is that a coincidence? Yep, probably…
But, still, it’s worth mentioning!
[As a legal disclaimer the chance of our new database server turning against mankind is slim… very slim…]

In all honesty, I am very happy to say that we have successfully completed an upgrade to our database servers. We now have a LOT more power under the hood.

We’ve grown a lot in the past 12 months with new users signing up every day from around the world, and we needed to make sure our backend infrastructure is always a step ahead so we can continue to provide a flawless experience when using Elite Email.

This round of upgrades puts us way ahead and it was all done with less than 5 minutes of downtime.
[Kudos to our system administrators!]

Plus, these upgrades will help power all the new reporting features that we just released (in beta).

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Blog Admin