Fab.com – BEST unsubscribe process EVAR

Fab.com's AWESOME unsubscribe page

Fab.com’s AWESOME unsubscribe page

The other day I got sick and tired of my inbox getting daily e-mails from Fab.com.  It’s a fine site, but I don’t need a daily e-mail from just about anyone. 1  Naturally, I sought out the unsubscribe link at the bottom of one of the daily e-mails and clicked.  What I found was not the bland “Please confirm this unsubscription action.” page, but rather a “Oops!  Perhaps we came on too strong!  Sorry about that, how about we dial down the crazy just a tad?  Would that do the trick?  Listen, baby, we can work this out.  Maybe just a few e-mails a week about things you might really REALLY like?”  I’ve included a screenshot above, I loved this page so much.  Heck, I loved it so much I closed the browser window and didn’t unsubscribe. 2

What I like about this page is that:

  1. It isn’t a robotic “confirm unsubscription” link, but a very human and personal sounding page.  Unsubscription pages are basically kiss-off pages where a company loses contact with a person.  In such cases, it’s easy to write off the user as a lost cause.  This doesn’t have to be the case.
  2. That personal sounding message really made me stop and actually re-think what I had come to that page to do.  Did I really want to unsubscribe?  Maybe I shouldn’t try to go cold turkey?  I really wouldn’t want to miss out on something amazing… 3
  3. I was presented with some very simple options for managing the e-mail frequency.  I could, with a single click, turn off whole swaths – or even whole days – worth of messages.  I’m guessing for many people, this might be the right way to tone back e-mails.  I think they could have gone farther with this – by adding a button where you could dial back the amount of e-mails.  As a tongue-in-cheek message, they could indicate the current level of e-mails were at an “11”4 and a javascript dial to bring it on down to a 1 or 2.
  4. The first full paragraph of the “opt out” message is particularly interesting.  Fab.com suggests that if you unsubscribe, they won’t be able to even e-mail you a receipt for an order.  Surely there is a middle ground between marketing e-mails and confirmation/order e-mails.  But, by eliminating the line entirely, they ensure someone who was once a customer of Fab.com is unlikely to unsubscribe since they’re more likely to order there again. 5  I’m willing to bet that Fab might have very slightly higher e-mail retention if they gave the option of turning off all-but-confirmation-style e-mails.  Even if that’s not the case, such a policy is likely to increase the retention of previous customers.

Here’s what I would do if I were over at Fab.com and helping6 in their e-mail marketing department:

  • Monitor and track the number of users who go to their unsubscribe pages and don’t unsubscribe.  If people don’t unsubscribe when they visit that page for the first time, I would make a point of having their e-mails dialed back, with as much as a 75% reduction effective immediately.  Later, this could theoretically be increased slowly.
  • Do some A/B split testing7 on whether a playful e-mail marketing dial has any effect on customer retention after they visit the unsubscribe page.
  • Do some A/B split testing on how the sheer number of e-mail messages sent affect the percentages of people hitting the unsubscribe links.  At the end of the day, you just don’t want a potential customer going to that page – nothing good can come of it.
    • Assuming there’s X daily sign-ups for the e-mail marketing, you’re going to want an unsubscribe rate of Y to be less than X.  If you never send a single e-mail it is very likely no one will unsubscribe.  On the other hand, if you’re pounding your customers multiple times an hour, you’re probably going to lose them all.  The optimal result for an e-mail marketing campaign is a difficult thing to pin down.  Success for a given e-mail isn’t necessarily a binary thing, but a sliding scale of success from “did not click unsubscribe,” to “did not mark as spam/junk”, to “opened e-mail,” to “visited site”, to “made a sale”, to “made a sale of an item featured in e-mail.”
    • Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn send reminders – usually reminding you about your friends and suggesting things you’ll want to see. 8  However, I probably don’t receive more than one e-mail a week from any of these sites.  If these older, more established, sites don’t e-mail me more than once a week, Fab.com should really re-think starting with a default of daily e-mails.

Please take all of the above with a grain of salt.  I’ve got a web based SaaS B2B business that would really benefit from more A/B testing and e-mail marketing, and I’m not doing it yet.  :)

  1. Well, except YOU!  I love getting YOUR e-mails!  They keep me warm at night! []
  2. I finally did unsubscribe today, but that’s besides the point. []
  3. Then again, I have yet to visit the site after my first visit some eight or nine months ago. []
  4. After all, the user is at your unsubscribe page.  You stand a much better than even chance you’re going to lose them forever.  You might want to try to engage them a little []
  5. More likely than, say, someone like me – who has never ordered from them. []
  6. read: meddling []
  7. That link goes to a post on this same site where I express my frustration with the WordPress ShrimpTest A/B testing plugin.  I’m sure it was a great plugin – but it hasn’t work with the latest versions of WordPress for some time.  I keep meaning to crack it open, poke a round, and fix it up a bit.  Alas, it has not been a priority among other items. []
  8. I have friends? []

The biggest inkjet printer ever

Big Printer

Big Printer

The other day I wondered what people have done with their InkShields1 2  Then I got to wondering what people were doing to mount their InkShield printer heads and move them around.  Then I thought… hey!  It would be pretty awesome to attach an InkShield printer head to a Polargraph / DrawBot gondola.

I could see how an InkShield might improve a Polargraph.  You could theoretically have a small sensor to test the ink levels and pump more ink in from a larger reservoir – and never worry about a pen running out of ink again.

I could see how a Polargraph might improve an InkShield.  With a DrawBot string setup, you wouldn’t need a huge or expensive XY gantry – just a lot of string, two motors, and some other bits and bobs.

Posts in the DrawBot Adventure Series
  1. Wanna make a DrawBot?
  2. DrawBot Resources and Links
  3. DrawBot, the Adventure Begins
  4. DrawBots for the slow learner
  5. DrawBot - The Breakdown
  6. DrawBot - Parts Shipped!!!
  7. DrawBot - What would you draw?
  8. DrawBot - The Plan!
  9. DrawBot - The Hacks
  10. DrawBot - The Delivery?
  11. DrawBot - The Delivery, Part II
  12. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part III
  13. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part I
  14. DrawBot – The Software, Part I (and an existential conversation)
  15. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part IV
  16. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part II
  17. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part III
  18. DrawBot – Design Considerations
  19. DrawBot – Halp!!! No - seriously, a little help?
  20. DrawBot – The Face Palm
  21. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part V
  22. DrawBot – The Silver Lining of Failure
  23. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part VI
  24. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part V
  25. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VI
  26. DrawBot – Printed Parts
  27. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VII
  28. DrawBot – The Operation, Part I
  29. DrawBot – The Breakdown, Part II
  30. DrawBot – Printing!
  31. DrawBot – Printing, Part II
  32. DrawBot – Why are you crying?
  33. DrawBot – Calibration
  34. DrawBot – Pen Selection
  35. DrawBot – How to Recover from a Stalled Print!
  36. DrawBot – Drawing Success(ish)!!!
  37. DrawBot – Pen Selection, Part II
  38. DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!
  39. DrawBot – Another Successful(ish) Drawing!, and an Update
  40. Restarting a Stalled DrawBot Drawing
  41. TSP FTW!
  42. Speedier DrawBot Drawings
  43. Two new DrawBot links! And an update!
  44. Excellent DrawBot Slides
  45. Another Drawing Robot!!!
  46. DrawBot Practice Tip: A Watched Pot
  47. The biggest inkjet printer ever
  48. Why do DrawBots draw on walls?
  49. Maze Code + Polargraph?
  50. Ideas for improving my DrawBot
  51. DrawBot Aesthetic Re-Design Ideas
  52. The Eagle Has Landed
  53. I think I know what I want to draw next...
  54. This project is not going to overengineer itself
  55. Overengineered Spools
  56. Overengineered Stepper Motor Mounts, Filament Guides
  57. Overengineered Bolt Endcaps, Case Holder
  58. Sourcing DrawBot Parts
  59. DrawBot - A Tour!
  60. DrawBot - A Preview
  61. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot Poll
  62. Building an Arduino Drawing Robot - On The Cheap
  63. DrawBot - Printed Parts Tour
  64. Unidentified Foam Object
  65. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot - Take 2 (Or 3)
  66. DrawBot, now ACTUALLY wall mounted!
  67. A Study of Drawing Robot Pen Holders and Design Considerations
  68. Drawing Robot Pen Holders, Calligraphy Pens, and Thought Experiments
  69. Ideal Qualities in a Drawing Robot Pen Holder
  70. Enough talk! Finally a pen holder!
  71. DrawBot Pen Holder Post Mortem
  72. To Maker Faire!!!
  73. Skipping! How could I forget the skipping?!
  74. PlotterBot at Maker Faire Bay Area 2013!
  75. PlotterBot.com - a new site dedicated to drawing robots
  1. An InkShield is an Arduino shield that allows the Arduino to control an inkjet cartridge. []
  2. Photo courtesy of iLEZ iLEZ []

Driving Lessons from Google

Google’s self-driving car

Google’s self-driving car

Last Monday I noticed a funny looking Google vehicle while driving back home from Palo Alto. 1  It was a white SUV with a big Google logo on the back passenger side door.  Traffic was heavy and I didn’t get to look at the vehicle very long.  I’ve seen the Google streetview car before – and this was not it.  The streetview car has a tall device mounted on the roof with what appears to be four cameras pointing forward, right, left, and back.  The vehicle I saw last Monday had a device the size of a small toaster mounted to the roof with four white pipes – and it was spinning very fast.

My guess was this was the Google self-driving car.  When I saw this article the following day, picturing the exact vehicle I saw, I was certain.

I have to admit, when I saw this vehicle I was tempted, for just a moment, to drive slightly recklessly and unpredictably to see what Google’s vehicle would do. 2

My superego won out over my id, and I just observed the progress of the Google self-driving vehicle.  I wish I had seen the vehicle earlier so that I could have observed more of the vehicle’s behavior from behind it.  Here’s what I saw:

  • I was in the #3 lane on I-680 North and the Google self-driving vehicle34  was in the #2 lane.  Traffic was heavy during the late-afternoon early-evening commute and even though they were in a faster lane, we were probably both going no more than about 35 MPH. 5 6
  • They must have left at least at least 5 car lengths worth of traveling distance in front of them.
  • I didn’t see them switch lanes – except to take an exit.
  • Interestingly, with the ebb and flow of traffic, the Google vehicle was at times far behind me and even a little ahead of me.
  • Even though Google as a corporation is a person, and Google was likely present in that vehicle, it did not drive in the HOV/carpool lane.

If Google can drive for 300,000 miles without an accident, including travel in heavy traffic, I suppose there’s a few lessons we can learn:

  • The ebb and flow of heavy traffic is enough to basically normalize any efforts to “get ahead,” so you might as well drive as slowly, conservatively, and with as much following distance as Google
  • When traffic is congested, it might help to be in a lane farthest from the on/off ramps7
  • Always carry two backup passenger/drivers in your vehicle
  1. Photo courtesy of Saad Faruque []
  2. My guess – reduce my website’s PageRank and delete my Google+ page.  That’s worse than a ding on your driving record, right? []
  3. Along with it’s two passengers. []
  4. Prisoners?  How do you tell a self-driving vehicle you need to get out and pee? []
  5. The traffic was so bad that my Android phone, with the Google Maps directions showing me the way back home, displayed the dreaded deep-red path that indicates congested traffic. []
  6. I mention the Google Maps traffic congestion metric because I assume their vehicle was using the same information I was to make informed driving assessments. []
  7. Google didn’t have three physical people present, so they couldn’t be in the fastest HOV/carpool lane []