By Anne Holland, Founder
When the economy starts slumping, many marketers start sending specials to their email lists more frequently. After all, zapping out a special offer to your house list is about the cheapest and easiest way to drum up some fast responses. It’s also a pretty big mistake.
Why? Because if you send too many specials, too frequently, to the same exact people, they become tone deaf and they stop adoring your brand name and wanting to buy from it.
Compounding this problem is the fact that the people on your house list are usually Your Biggest Fans. They are on the 80-side of the 80/20 rule about profitable accounts. They are your evangelists and word-of-mouth spreaders. They are the email audience who, if treated right, will have an astounding lifetime customer value.
Example: I’ve been pounded no fewer than 10 times with different ‘special offers’ from a particular home decor brand in the last three weeks. I’m a multiple-time past purchaser. Although I eagerly clicked on the first couple of email specials, now when I see an email from them in my inbox, I snort with boredom and hit ‘Delete.’
What can you do to keep both the bottom line and the house list happy?
Try giving your biggest fans a big reason to open your email. As a fan, I don’t just care about specials. I care about YOU. I would love a behind-the-scenes story, perhaps some photos and bios of craftspeople making the products. Or maybe a story about what the purchasing directors are seeing trend-wise for the coming year (things I can look forward to buying from you.) Or perhaps a funny, home-made music video made by the guys in shipping ...
The more I know about your brand -- the people’s faces, voices, stories, etc. -- the deeper my personal connection is likely to grow. As a member of the house list, I begin to feel like an insider. And the next time I get an email from you, I open eagerly.
The good news is, this “infotainment” email tactic raises short-term sales as well as customer lifetime value.
Want a real-life example of how this can work? Check out Sherpa’s classic Case Study of how Land’s End’s weekly email newsletter was partly responsible for lifting the brand’s online sales from $138 million to 218 million in 2001, during the worst of the last economic downturn.
Their highest-response newsletter of all time was about a local tractor auction ... but it sold a lot of chinos! Includes 10 useful creative samples. Open access until June 5th.
Lands’ End Discovers Stories Work Better Than Sales Pitches in Its Weekly Email Newsletter