Jancis Robinson email news

Jancis Robinson email news
February 6, 2014 Rhys Harry

We were delighted that Jancis Robinson asked us to create a new email newsletter campaign. Described by Decanter magazine as ‘the most respected wine critic and journalist in the world’, Jancis is a prolific writer on her own website as well as for the FT and numerous other publications worldwide.

Jancis Robinson

That was the week that was

Jancis and her team of wine experts publish around 2 articles per day on JancisRobinson.com. In the past they sent out irregular email newsletters outlining some of their recent articles. Given the amount they publish they rightly wanted to move to sending out a weekly message, the aim being twofold; quickly summarise & link to the past week’s articles & promote subscription to the paid for content on their website – the Purple Pages.  

Totally automatic

We set up an automated email campaign that pulls new articles from Jancis’ site from the past 7 days & constructs an email out of them using just the article title & first few lines. We also fed in an introduction paragraph that Jancis writes on her own website before each weekly email.

No images

Although we weren’t feeding in much in the way of images we still needed to ensure that the email worked just as well in email software that has images turned off by default, this can account for around half of email recipients depending on what statistics you read.

Jancis Robinson

Responsive layout

Given that viewing emails on mobiles has recently overtaken desktop & webmail, it was vital the email degraded well on small, narrow screens

Jancis Robinson

Conditional content

One of the aims is to encourage more people to subscribe to Purple Pages – the paid for content on Jancis’ website. We decided that the promotional message displayed along the bottom of the emails would only be delivered to non Purple Pages subscribers, existing subscribers wouldn’t see adverts for what they’ve already paid for.

We sync information from Jancis’ website database so that her email list is segmented in to ‘Purple Pages subscribers’ & ‘non Purple Pages subscribers’. The automated email only inserts the promotional message into the latter segment’s emails.

Jancis Robinson


Location, location, location

Jancis asked us to make sure that the email is distributed at 11am every Friday – this gives her team enough time to get the week’s most interesting articles together beforehand. One hurdle we had to overcome was that her subscriber list is global – with many recipients in the US. Their timezones mean that an 11am email for the UK would land in their inboxes around 6-9am, possibly too early & could go unnoticed. We set up localisation data collection so that once a recipient opens an email, their server location is recorded and they are then placed into a geographic segment, we then set up different broadcast times for these different segments so that everybody receives the email as close to 11am their time as possible.

Subscribe to Jancis’ free newsletter – www.jancisrobinson.com

1 Comment

  1. me 6 years ago

    Clever stuff that geographical mail delivery timing boys.

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