Email Sign-Up Scorecard: Sephora, Hot Topic, Kenneth Cole

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

Building a good list is an essential part of any email marketing program. I tried to sign-up for three marketers' email lists this week, two successfully and one not so much so.

First up was Kenneth Cole, which has a reputation for some very clever email creative. A sign-up button was clearly featured on the top of the home page, and when I clicked a pop-up appeared asking for my email address, gender, birthdate, zip code and mobile phone number, so they could send me text messages.

But…I don't want text messages. I want emails. I click the submit button without providing my mobile number, to find out that this is part of the mandatory information needed to get on their email list. There is a short code provided that I can respond to once I give them my mobile number to opt out of texts–but why the heck to I have to opt in to receive them in the first place, when all I want to receive are emails?

I'll pass, thanks. This just isn't a good way to start a relationship.

Sephora, in contrast, is a lot more fun. The first thing I see on their home page is an opportunity to win "Today's Big Thrill," which is 365 bottles of nail polish. Now, I need 365 bottles of nail polish like I need another hole in my head. But do I want them? Heck yeah, I do!

I give my email to enter the contest and am taken to another screen to give additional information and opt-in to their email list if I choose. I do, and almost immediately receive a welcome email confirming my contest entry.

Hot Topic also quickly sent a welcome email when I signed up for their list. I click on the "Get Email" button on the home page, and I'm offered two options. One is to simply sign up for the list, and the other is to create a HT+1 account and join their loyalty program.

I opt for the latter, and fill in my information (mobile number is requested but not mandatory, and there's an opt-in option for receiving texts). When the process is complete, I'm taken to a profile page where members can upload a photo, or share things like their favorite music or brands, should they want to share a public profile with site users.

What email lists have you signed up for (or thought better and decided not to join) lately? Let me know at


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