I received an email campaign from Charter Communications yesterday morning that rubbed me the wrong way. It was for an opportunity to receive a Preferred Customer rate for the next two years. I can see why I would be a preferred customer. I always pay my bills on time and have a few of the various add-on packages. Rewarding your preferred customers is a great idea for an email campaign. Just make sure your customers prefer you before sending one. Otherwise the reaction may be the exact opposite result you sought. The email\'s subject line read: “Don’t Miss Out! Lock in your savings for 2 full years!” The chance to pay less would be great, except I opened the email to find the exact same rate I am currently paying. The rate is already so exorbitantly high that I have considered getting rid of my cable altogether and watching TV and movies online and using Netflix. The savings I was hoping for weren’t exactly the price I already consider too much. Especially since they were asking me to commit to two years to receive their so-called “savings.” Upon closer inspection, the deal they were offering included little more than I currently pay for. It’s tough to feel like you’re being rewarded for being a preferred customer when they try to sweeten the deal with nothing you’re interested in. It’s not saving money when you’re paying for things you don’t want or need. Perhaps that last paragraph was more of a rant based on my distaste for Charter Communications and less on successful (or the lack thereof) email marketing. The reason I decided to bring this up on the blog is simple: Before you decide to reward your customer, make sure it’s a prize they’d like to receive. I felt more mocked by this email than like I was being treated as a preferred customer. It angered me. Polls and surveys are often an underutilized aspect of email marketing. That being said, they’re also an excellent way to gauge how satisfied your subscribers are. That way you can see who is happy with your services and award them accordingly. For the responders that are negative, you can reward them too. Put something together that will rectify their negative feelings toward your company. Then you can effectively reward your subscribers as preferred customers with savings they will appreciate.
Secular holidays like Earth Day and Human Rights Day may not hold enough weight to warrant time off from work but they are significant enough to get people’s attention. Many of these events are recognizable and therefore present prime opportunities for the savvy email marketer. Here is a simple game plan than will help you make the most of your secular email marketing campaigns: Choose Your Holiday If you see the potential in secular holidays, rest assured that there are more than enough to choose from. April Fool’s Day, Groundhog Day and New Year’s Day are familiar, but lesser known occasions such as Winter Solstice, International Surfing Day and New Beer’s Eve can be just as effective for the cause with the right strategy. There is certainly no shortage of options, but the most important thing here is being realistic about what you can handle. You could easily find yourself overwhelmed if you set out to tackle too many of these holidays, so choose wisely. Pick out the ones with the most potential and work on incorporating them into your marketing mix. Incorporate Your Theme A matching theme makes a perfect complement to any holiday email campaign. Those built around the secular versions can benefit just the same. Whether it’s Labor Day, Cultural Day or Geek Pride Day, a theme that captures the spirit of the occasion can go a long way in helping you seize the moment. Not only can this be done with imagery but also with well written copy that accommodates the holiday you’re working with. (Our Social Media Manager Andy Shore has a great resume of blogs showing you how to do just that with humor and maybe just a little irreverence.) With a little creativity you can easily incorporate a fitting theme that does its job of engaging your audience without conflicting with your brand identity or message. Present Your Offer Wisely Email marketers regularly go after holidays connected to big shopping seasons because consumers are usually spending. A well executed strategy can get people spending during secular seasons but whether or not your campaigns generate sales depends on your approach. Since these occasions generally are not viewed as a time for shopping, you have to work harder to convince them why they should be spending. Your offer must be timely, relevant and, most importantly, something people want. Secular holidays see more competition than you may think so you have to go above and beyond to make sure your offer stands out from the crowd. It is very rare for employees to luck out and get the day off for a secular holiday. If you are out to get the most from your email marketing efforts you shouldn’t view these events as a time to rest either. While your business kicks back, the competition could be gaining a sizable edge. There are plenty of opportunities out there but it is up to you to identify them and take advantage.
I hope all of you found some fun new toys under the Christmas tree or Chanukah bush this year (or however else your faith and family may bring you presents). While everyone was sipping on egg nog this past weekend, we were preparing a new toy for our users. We have added the option to insert a greeting into your emails. Holiday season or not, we could all stand to be a little friendlier. A personalized greeting in your email campaigns shows your subscribers that they\'re more than just an address. To include a personalized greeting in your email, first select the block in the editor that you want to add the greeting to. Within the block, click where you would like the greeting to appear. Select Greeting from the Insert Additional Elements section on the lefthand side of your screen. A box will pop up allowing you to customize the greeting. Dear is the default for the Primary Greeting but it can be changed. You can choose First Name, Last Name or both First Name & Last Name. The Primary Greeting will display whatever contact information you set to appear. If there is no information for a particular contact, the greeting will go to the Alternative Greeting. This can be something simple like Greetings! (which is the default). For example, if you choose First Name in the Primary Greeting, the Alternative Greeting will display for any contact who has the first name blank in your contact information. Personalization is a great way to engage your subscribers. People will be less likely to tune out your communications if they feel like an email is tailored exclusively for them. Targeted email marketing takes more than just adding a personalized greeting to an email, but it\'s the best place to start!