I always sign up for newsletter updates every time I purchase something online just to see the titles that would be used and, of course, the content within. Apart from that, I also take note of the timing of those newsletters.
Titles are very important because a viewer will decide right there and then if he or she would want to undertake the arduous task of opening the email after reading it.
I’ve seen lots of very generic titles:
More Offers From So & So Shop
Product Update From So & So Shop
Latest Shoes From So & So Shop
I’ve also seen slightly better ones:
40% Off Running Shoes And More
Use 50% Discount Code Inside For Latest Running Shoes
Find Out How To Get 30% Off The Latest GPS Watches
And then there are the really good ones:
Get 20% Off Shoes On Your Wish List
Get $35 Off NB RC1600. Details Inside
Garmin FR620 Price Drop Alert! 27% Off
The last three examples were more direct and focused on the products I had on my wish list, had previously browsed or was on a cart I abandoned. Sadly, I wasn’t able to purchase any of those products because of certain reasons (size not available, did not ship out of US, out of stock).
But the main thing is that the titles got me to do the hardest thing when it comes to email newsletters – opening them. The titles were very targeted because the merchants used the information at their disposal intelligently and it almost paid off save for the reasons I mentioned above.
90% of the time, if I’ve opened the email I’ll probably click on the link inside. Let’s face it, if the title tells you you’re going to get a product you wanted at a very good price, you’re going to open that email because you already made up you mind on getting the product. And you know you can get to that product page in just two steps:
i) open email
ii) click on link to product page
Anything that happens along the way are just barriers (mentioned earlier) to closing that sale.
In one of the newsletters, I noticed something interesting. Most newsletter content would target the receiver but there was one that went a bit further. The newsletter included a gift certificate and it suggested I offer it to a loved one or a friend if I could not find anything I could use it for.
The newsletter also included bits of categories I do not usually shop under but might appeal to the person I would share the gift cert with. The merchant was smart not to list too many categories, just a handful of educated choices.
For example, I shopped for shoes under the Men’s Running Shoes category. The additional categories in that newsletter were:
Men’s Sport Apparel
Women’s Running Shoes
Women’s Sports Apparel
So I took up the suggestion to share the cert and that store ended up getting a new customer.
For some reason, we rarely think about passing on a gift cert or sharing a discount code when it arrives in an email. But we have no problem spamming our family and friends with hoaxes about Microsoft giving out checks for forwarding email.
So, when the suggestion was mooted, I just went, “Yeah, why don’t I just do that?” And the gift cert was shared in less than 5 seconds.
If you look at the situation closely, it all boils down to telling people what you want them to do. That’s why call-to-action elements always have the words ‘Buy Now’ because that’s what merchants want shoppers to do. So, the suggestion to share the gift cert was actually a call to action too. A rather subtle one at that.
I’m written before about the timing for auto responders and e-newsletters. This time I’m going to share bits about the logic behind some of the timing of email newsletters.
From the timing of the newsletters as well as the headlines used, I can see that some stores have done some homework when I comes to newsletter marketing.
For example, racing shoes wear out way faster than trainers. A merchant who sells running shoes would know this and he or she could venture a guess as to when a runner who has previously bought a pair of shoes from the store would need a new one. One does not have to wait for marathon season to do this.
With this kind of knowledge at hand, you can craft a good title and suitable content that would appeal to the reader. The title can be less specific because the suggestion is to replace an existing product with an alternative or a list of alternatives.
Sometimes you have to take a step back and see how to time your newsletters. It’s not perfect science so you need to experiment wisely.
Here’s another example. I have a friend who has a couple of tiny dogs and she likes to dress them up during winter. I think that’s just weird but that just how I feel. Anyway, the store she gets her pooches apparel from will send her a newsletter with the latest winter wear just before winter and the latest hairnet designs before summer, before her dogs starts to shed. That’s just smart/logical marketing.
Another example on newsletter timing I’d like to share is from a store selling nutrition. This was actually from a case study.
There was a guy who is slightly on the heavy side and he would always receive a newsletter, from a store he gets his supplements from 4 times a year, right after Christmas. The content would promote shakes that would help him lose some holiday weight. He buys those.
He receives about 6 newsletters from them. 3 of which are just to ask whether he’d like a free sample of a certain supplement which he could get F.O.C. with his next order of his usual supplements. The answer is a no brainer but that gesture is what keeps him coming back.
The the 3 remaining newsletters try to up-sell stuff to him. Weight loss shakes after the holidays, indigestion remedies before the holidays and a detox pack in the middle of the year.
So, you see, if you market the right product at the right time to the right people, you should have a winner on your hands. Before you send out your next newsletter, draft a simple strategy first. Make sure you know why you’re doing it, what the product/offer is, who you are targeting and when should it go out.
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