How Shutterfly Does Email Newsletters

Playing Scrabble online?

There’s an app for that.

Finding great local concerts?

There’s an app for that.

Writing great e-mail newsletters?

Sorry, there’s no app for that.

Actually, if you or your company thinks that there is an automatic way to do e-mail newsletters, there’s none.

That is why we need to learn from the pros and if there is one organization that is doing e-mail marketing right, it is the Shutterfly’s Wink team.

What is Shutterfly’s Wink?

Wink is a great iPhone and web app developed by the guys and gals of Shutterfly.  Here’s a full review of the web version and iPhone version of Wink.

How Shutterfly Does Email Newsletters

Before jumping into e-mail (and social media, for that matter) campaigns, you’ve got to have a clear idea of what objectives you want out of it. A clear one sentence objective that has a clear call to action,  and can be tracked with one measure.

From the February 4th, 2010 e-mail sent out by the Wink team, it is clear that they have a very clear of what they are their objectives and how they are going to measure them:

The e-mail newsletter clearly states 2 objectives.


Objective: Inform users of Wink that the service has been updated.

Call to action: The first 400 people who act after they read this e-mail get a free photostrip credit.

Measure: How many users try the new version because of this e-mail.


Objective: Ask users for feedback.

Call to action: Send the team your feedback and they’ll send you a free photostrip credit.

Measure: How many user feedback messages the team receives.

Conclusion: Shutterfly’s Wink Avoids the Brochure Mentality

The brochure mentality is the mindset that tells us that as long people get our brochure, open it and browse it for a while; somehow they will get “aware of our brand” or that they will “eventually act on it”. Notice that how exactly the readers of a brochure become aware of the brand or act on it is not really defined, it is just left to, yes you got that right, pure chance.

This e-mail avoids the brochure mentality and clearly states what are the objectives of the e-mail, how to act on them, and provides an incentive to act on them.

Author: Damian Davila

Ideas and concepts from Damian Davila, Ecuatoriano thriving in Hawaii. Pro marketer and blogger. Find him at @idaconcpts on Twitter.

One thought on “How Shutterfly Does Email Newsletters”

  1. Spot on, Damian. As you can imagine, the response we got here at Wink was great. Customers were able to try the update to the free Wink from Shutterfly iPhone app right away, and we started getting genuine feedback immediately.

    Let us know if you have any additional questions or feedback about anything related to Wink. We’re always available at



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