As the list of subscription services stack up like dishes in a sink, choosing which one to scrub from the budget can be tricky. Yesterday, Amazon Prime members received an update that limited ads would be introduced on the platform. They join an expanding list of streaming services to adopt an ad model starting in January. Is it just me or did it feel like they were trying too hard?

While the new ad-free tier is an optional add-on for $2.99, it felt like Amazon wanted to include every detail and feature to keep members from canceling their memberships, but it did the exact opposite.

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I’ll spare you the details of the original email, but feel free to read it on The Verge.

Here’s a minimalist version I drafted in my journaling session imagining what “better” might have looked like using Amazon’s Brand Font:

(On mobile? Tap to enable the lightbox to zoom in).

On the other side of the screen, more could’ve been accomplished with a lot less. While all of this is easier said than done, the internal team definitely could have 1) shortened the email, 2) focused on key messages, 3) tapped into email personalization tactics, 4) used more visual elements or referenced their most popular title with exclusive content, and 5) used clear and immediate CTAs to guide user actions that bolstered Amazon email KPIs. 

Amazon didn’t adhere to best practices for several reasons after analyzing their original email:

Length and Attention Span: The original email is lengthy and causes the reader to tune out. People often skim through emails, so a long message leads to important details being missed.

Information Overload: The email tries to over-explain “value” with a comprehensive list of benefits. Instead of confidently communicating with brevity, Amazon diluted its message with the excessive use of bullet points. Focusing on a few key points is usually more effective.

Call to Action (CTA) Clarity: While the email includes CTAs, they are buried within the text. Any effective piece of communication should have prominent CTAs, clearly guiding readers on what to do next without searching through the email.

Lack of Personalization: Personalized content, such as addressing the member by name (at a minimum) or tailoring content based on their viewing habits, could also increase engagement and retention rates.

Minimal Visual Appeal: The email is text-heavy with no visual elements to break up the text or highlight key areas. Well-placed images, bullet points, and varied text formatting could help make the email more engaging and easier to read.

A simpler, more focused email would’ve met the need.

Like what you read or have some feedback? Feel free to reach out with a note anytime.

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