For a good long while this year I’ve had an idea in my head. An idea that took the fun of the Choose Your Own Adventure story books with email automation. An email game, but not like Mark’s Thwack-a-vole game where it’s all in one email, but consisted of a few emails. Thus, my Christmas campaign was born!
If you’re not familiar with the Choose Your Own Adventure books, the premise is that you read a chapter and at the end you must make a choice. Sometimes they end well, sometimes they don’t. Since it’s Christmas, I didn’t want anything too ominous, just keep the story reasonably light.
I’m not going to lie, there was a lot of work involved. The first issue was that I couldn’t find an ESP that would do what I needed. Mailchimp for example cannot do automation from a click in another automated campaign. Campaign Monitor can’t do it either – they recommended a third party integration to use with it, but actually, that didn’t do what I needed. Surely I can’t have been the first person to ever want/need this? After a few tweets, Get Response got in touch – they did exactly what I needed! The ball had started rolling…
Next I planned the decision tree. You’ll get anything up to 5 emails, depending on what decision you take. Each email has two decisions, but the more emails you have, the most decisions and more work! In fact, there’s 19 emails in total!
I’m not a great writer, so I found someone to write me a story on Fiverr, and a pretty cool illustrator too. This helped me to keep costs down too. All the emails had to be created individually and then I had to put the story, image and links into each one. Long winded…
I added a few little things to the email for the advanced email marketer too:
- CSS3 animation on the story endings wishing the reader a Merry Christmas
- Hover and active styles on the buttons to make them act like proper buttons
- A Scandi pattern made with 900 table cells – no images required!
Setting up triggers in Get Response is easy peasy, but it took a long time to work through 19 emails, and test them. I also had to make a separate site, with a landing page for signup, and another page which you land on once you’ve made a choice. To cut the work down, I used url parameters in the links which showed on the page to let you know which choice you made. I also created three page messages which displayed at random, questioning your choices.
Anyway, if you’d like a little bit of last minute Christmas fun, sign up here. The site and game will be up until the end of December 2015.