Tag Archives: Email marketing

Marketing, Not Annoying

As the weather warms up (despite a blizzard rearing its ugly head), I start to get ready for the upcoming golf season. For me, that means ordering a supply of balls. I’m too cheap to pay full retail price for the high-end balls that I prefer so I usually order from one or more sites that feature “recycled” golf balls. These are often “one-hit wonders” that some hacker dumped in a pond or the woods and have been reclaimed for sale. High-quality, low-cost = great value, especially for someone like me, who is only going to donate them back to the golf gods in short order.

English: Golf balls.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I placed an order last week for 100 balls. It was an easy transaction with good email communication throughout. It’s what happened over the next few days that is our topic today. You see, I’ve received an email from the site every couple of days, informing me about sales, coupons and other inducements to place an order. The issue in my mind is that I just did buy from them, and even I can’t go through 100 balls in a couple of days. This is symptomatic of a big problem for many brands. We try to use the very effective email channel to communicate and instead we use it to annoy.

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with trying to sell via email. Like other channels of communication, however, we can’t use it exclusively for that purpose. If customers are going to enjoy hearing from you, it can’t all be about “ME ME ME!” Providing information that’s helpful from the customer’s point of view is not announcing a sale on items the customer just bought a week ago. That is annoying.

What happened here is that one system – the sales system – wasn’t taking to another system – the marketing system. That might have been acceptable several years ago but today it isn’t. Even Amazon, whose systems are about as cutting edge as anyone’s, will show you remarketing ads for products you just bought. For example, I bought my daughter a snow blower in December through Amazon and yet I was seeing ads from Amazon for the same one I bought on Facebook. That’s not marketing – it’s annoying.

Put yourself in the customer’s position. You hate spam and you probably don’t like a constant barrage of “BUY THIS” emails either. Provide content of value – useful information that helps the customer. Doing so gives you permission to do the hard sell every so often. Don’t silo the various departments – make them communicate and integrate. And for goodness sakes, don’t be annoying!

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Filed under Consulting, Huh?

A Thought About Budgeting

Where are you in your annual planning cycle?  The end of March always seemed to be a time when I would have to begin looking at marketing budgets for the upcoming fiscal, so I had a thought you might want to keep in the back of your mind if you’re entering the process now.  It will be worth thinking about if you plan later on as well.

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of us spend a lot of time looking at the plethora of marketing channels available to us.  Mass media such as TV, more personalized media such as social, and very specific, time-based media such as search tend to dominate our thinking.  That’s the pattern I see with many of my clients at least, and it might be where you are as well.  It’s probably misguided thinking, however.  The reality is that how our customers want us to communicate with them is via email:

MarketingSherpa commissioned an online survey that was fielded August 20-24, 2015 with a nationally representative sample of U.S. consumers. We asked consumers, “In which of the following ways, if any, would you prefer to receive regular updates and promotions from companies that you are interested in doing business with? Please select all that apply.”

After summing up the numbers of consumers who prefer email at a frequency chosen by themselves and email at a frequency set by brand, email emerges as the most preferred way to receive updates and promotions (60%). Notably, subscribing to receive emails at a frequency consumers choose is twice as popular (49%) as subscribing to receive email at a company’s pre-determined frequency (24%).  Email is perhaps unexpectedly followed by snail mail (49%), leaving visiting the company’s website in third place (38%).

In other words, we need to stop thinking in terms of what’s new or what’s sexy and focus on our customers’ wishes.  While you’re spending your time trying to get them to follow you on social media (where the algorithms of the services will probably hide your message anyway), your customers are reading something meaningful.  You should be spending your time – and resources – on re-engaging your email database, building up open and response rates, not blasting out messages that fall on deaf ears.

Something to think about?

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Filed under Consulting, digital media, Helpful Hints

A Gift For Whom?

I received an email yesterday from a golf-related company with which I’ve done business as a consumer. I’m not going to name names, but I’ll bet you’ve had a similar experience as the one I’m about to describe, and you can feel free to hit up the comments, ratting out similar offenders. The note came with the subject line A Genius Gift For You. The body of the mail left me wondering exactly for whom the gift was intended.

English: Santa Claus with a little girl Espera...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enclosed in the mail was the following offer:

Tell us how (name of their product) helped to make your 2015 golf season great and be entered to win a $200 Amazon Gift Card.

So you’d like me to write you a love letter (which I assume will also require me to give you use of whatever I write in promotional materials) praising your product in return for a chance – and only a chance – to win something? How is that a gift, exactly? When your Aunt Sally comes in with a holiday gift, she doesn’t say “Hey, stroke me out a recommendation for promotion I can give to my boss and just maybe you can be entered in a lottery with all your cousins to win a nice sweater,” does she?

This isn’t bad advertising.  It’s not the equivalent of those horrible Michael Bolton in the snow ads from a couple of years back that never seemed to go away nor some of the random Santa appearances you see in an attempt to holiday up an otherwise bad campaign.  No, this  more Scrooge-like.  Do you want to give me a golf related holiday gift?  Maybe find 10 fantastic game improvement golf videos on Youtube, build a branded playlist, and send me the link?  Improve your game this Christmas!  Don’t like that?  How about a real sweepstakes then, one that doesn’t require me to spend even a second conjuring up what just might be  false praise? Enter me automatically and maybe even offer multiple prizes?

A gift or a present is an item given to someone without the expectation of payment, according to the dictionary.  This isn’t a gift.  Me sending along this free consulting advice to the marketing contact in the email – that’s a gift!  You want in?

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Filed under Consulting, Helpful Hints, Huh?