How a Simple Confirmation Email Helped Catapult One Business to a $22 Million Valuation.

The success in the details.
Every little thing counts. I’m a detail-oriented person and always have been, so seemingly small efforts are noticeable and important to me.

I love little touches of creativity that take something mediocre and make it great. These are the stories of 3 companies that used the smallest of details to capture their target markets attention and sell more stuff.

We don’t support trips to the past. Yet.
Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit and an early investor and later the Marketing Director for Hipmunk, the uber-cool travel planning website, says people still tweet about Hipmunk’s error messages.

“We don’t support trips to the past. Yet.” is the message that appears if you try to book your return date in the past. “Why don’t you just move there? 30 days is the max.” is what you see if you try to book past the 30-day time limit. The 404-error message (for a website page that doesn’t exist) says, “You’ve gone off the map.”

Ohanian says this is simply “giving a damn” about your business. The smallest of details help you stand out in a big way.

In the case of Hipmunk, these creative error messages provide a smidge of entertainment during a tedious yet necessary task if you want to travel anywhere.

When was the last time you tweeted about an error message?

Your order has shipped.
Derek Sivers, the creator of CD Baby, a global music distributor for independent musicians, decided that the automated email copy to confirm shipment of a CD order (it started with CDs and is now all digital) simply wasn’t congruent with part of his mission—to make people smile.

Instead of the industry standard “your order has shipped,” Derek sat down one day and wrote this email notification, in his words, “in about 20 mins:”

“Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist lit a candle, and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterward, and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved ‘Bon Voyage!’ to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Friday, June 21.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.

Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!”

A Google search for “CD Baby private jet” will get you many pages of results for this now-famous email. People have talked, tweeted, studied, and written about this non-automated, automated email confirmation for years.

Sivers says it is still his most successful email to-date. In 2008 he sold CD Baby for $22 million.

Welcome to Mr. Porter, Mrs. Pizzolato.
My Husband is hip. Way hipper than me. This is how I know about Mr. Porter, and this is how I came to receive this box, which is one of the most fabulous packaging efforts I’ve experienced in all my years of online shopping.

Granted, plenty of items on Mr. will run you big bucks. Those are not the ones my Sweet Husband ordered for me. But no matter the price of what you ordered, you still get the sweet unboxing experience everyone who shops at Mr. gets.

We seriously lamented having to throw away the box. I’m still hanging on to it, and the shirts came on Wednesday. They gave Jeff the opportunity to write a personalized note to include in the box (which he did, and it was super sweet).

I got a welcome packet, printed on the most fabulous paper I’ve ever touched and sealed with a ribbon that says Mr. P on it. It tells me all about the style advice I can get, the same day delivery in certain cities, that they hope I’m delighted with my choice, and how I can get weekly style updates.

So much attention to detail has gone into the packaging and unboxing experience Mr. Porter provides.

Thank You.
I’ve gotten personalized, hand-written thank you notes from online courses I’ve purchased, dried flowers and extra samples in my Jane Iredale deliveries, and stickers, makeup pouches and super cute notes from Glossier.

Even the business cards I get from Moo have a love note in the box. I love to get mail that’s not a bill (or junk), and I love to open cool packages. Sometimes the package-opening is better than what’s inside.

Confirmation emails, thank you pages, shipping boxes, and error messages may seem like small, inconsequential business necessities. Most people leave them programmed with boring, standard-issue messages.

I hope this has inspired you to up your game with the small stuff and make everything about your business meaningful at every turn.

The most overlooked things in most businesses can be what catapults your business to rock star status. Tiny tweaks can lead to Big Changes.

Always behind you 1,000%-

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