About a month ago, I joined Classmates.com. I’m not sure why; I never particularly enjoyed high school, and am already in touch with most of the people I was close to at the time. But I kept bumping into Classmates.com, so I figured I should find out what it’s all about.
Five weeks later, I’m intrigued by how Classmates.com works hard at engaging its members. Web site owners, especially those who have a forum or are contemplating starting one, can learn a lot from Classmate.com’s follow-up series. In the last five weeks, here are the subject lines of the emails they’ve sent me:
1. Welcome to Classmates.com, Valerie. Thank you for becoming a member. In addition to delivering my temporary password, it includes links to every important part of the Classmates.com site, making it easy to delve further.
2. Welcome to Classmates Connections: 50 photos to peruse. This one includes links to 50 photos of people who were in high school with me. How can you not look?
3. Meet 3 new members in your communities this week, Valerie. Here links are organized by special interests, taking advantage of the power of targeting.
4. Valerie, here are 2 easy ways to be the popular person at Shrewsbury High School. This one encourages you to add your photo, and includes links to 10 classmates who have very complete profiles – showing people how to become more engaged by giving them specific examples.
5. See 31 notes new notes in Shrewsbury High School this year, Valerie. This email links to bulletin boards with comments by 31 classmates. Note how compelling the specific number “31” makes the subject line.
6. Introducing 2 new ways to see who’s new and get more info. This mailing encourages you to sign up for Classmates.com’s “new member alert” emails and to email fellow classmates for updates. Classmates.com is not leaving member communication to chance!
7. You’re drawing a blank, Valerie. Here’s how we can help. Almost any day of the week, that subject line will ring a bell with me. The whole purpose of this email is to encourage members to use photos – Classmates.com knows the strength of visuals.
Email and web forums make it easy for any web site owner to engage customers and prospects, but it doesn’t happen by chance. While Classmates.com isn’t selling product, it nevertheless provides a superb example of compelling subject lines, strong targeting, and the power of personalization, among other things.