Adventures in Mobile Marketing

Email Review: Kiva

Here is the email:

Kiva enables the Western internet user to get involved in microlending in third world countries. I’ve given Kiva gifts to family and been a Kiva lender for 5 months now. The email is one of the few I’ve received. Mostly I get little text-only transactional emails when a lender makes a payment (about once a month). This “Kiva Staff” email is very rare.

The challenge for Kiva, to me, is to visually leverage their entrepreneurs. This letter- about a young man that has an internet shop in Menin, Nigeria- could say so much by using a still photo as a link to the video, which is what that they have on the website.

More importantly- they need to address any possible confusion with the prolific Nigerian email spam, since their email could easily be scanned or grepped as that. The single-spaced letter, with no graphics, and rambly writing really connotes that. So I’d format it professionally and include graphics of the entrepreneurs. I’d also leverage some quotes from Bill Clinton or Oprah on the service to add credibility.

There is some hidden personalization, which reminds me of Dylan Boyd’s recent post on Email Wars: “When Personalization Goes… Odd,” regarding Ben & Jerry’s. They do the work of looking up my funds, but they hide the information below the long rambly letter (which, admittedly, I did read all the way through!). They should highlight that at the top with first name personalization to signal to me that they have provided news I, individually, may be interested in.

If their goal is to reach out to lenders to increase lending activity, they should definitely brand their email visually and include photos of entrepreneurs, as well as highlight the personalization efforts. It will increase email opens, reads, clicks, and of course, site engagement.

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Written on Wednesday, 06. August 2008 at 15:11 In the category Basics, design, mechanics, techniques. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Read the Comments. Trackbacks- Trackback on this post. Share on FriendFeed

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  1. Totally agree re: Nigerian spam confusion. I for one could easily have marked this as spam if I was just scanning my inbox. There’s only so much your “from” line can do when your email body looks like a 419 scam.

    It sure seems like they’re leaving themselves open to actual spammer/scammers imitating their emails – pretending to be Kiva to solicit money from people.

    The name personalization helps somewhat to legitimize the message, but a scammer could easily drop the last name and create a bunch of versions w/different first names.

    I’m guessing from this they don’t maintain any email marketing staff. Would be nice for a group of industry people to get in touch w/them and see if we could be of any help…

    Comment: Justin Premick – 07. August 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  2. That’s a good idea Justin!

    Comment: banane – 07. August 2008 @ 12:45 pm

  3. I’ve actually emailed them before, around Xmas when I joined. I’ll send them another note.

    Comment: banane – 07. August 2008 @ 12:46 pm

  4. Hey, you’re on you’re way to becoming a fundraising consultant! All solid recommendations, but those should just be part of a larger engagement strategy. Props to them for doing as much as they have on what seems to be a very limited budget.

    Comment: Nancy Purcell – 07. August 2008 @ 11:11 pm

  5. Agree with Justin. Also, I’d add…why the from name of “Kiva Staff?” Why not simply “Kiva?”

    dj at bronto

    Comment: DJ Waldow – 11. August 2008 @ 5:52 am

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