Marketing Madness - The Big Dance with your prospects

Marketing Madness - The Big Dance with your prospects

Every spring Americans follow college basketball.  Millions of people, both die-hard fans and those who only tune in just for the tournament will select a field of 64 teams, follow the games and watch the brackets whittle down to the Final Four.

Think of email marketing to your list like your own set of brackets.  Here's five ways your email marketing should mirror the way you look at your basketball brackets.

Understanding email addresses you aren't reaching

Every contact in your database is a valuable name. It's a relationship you have with that person. You need to maintain that relationship to keep permission to deliver to their inbox.

Sometimes you have a contact who you can no longer deliver email too. They may opt out, hard bounce or maybe it's a soft bounce.  What does that all mean and is there anything you can do about it?

Favorite Emails From 2014 Holiday Campaigns

The busy holiday season is now behind us.  I love the holidays...not just in the traditional way. I also love them from a geeky marketer's perspective.  Every day leading up to December 24th we receive so many emails in our inbox, from all our favorite brands and retailers. That's a perfect opportunity to study email marketing get ideas for the future. 

Here's a few of my picks from November and December of 2014. I selected one for each of three categories: traditional retailer, nonprofit and online retailer.

Traditional Retailer - Cabelas

Traditional Retailer: Cabela's

Subject Line: Happy National Free Shipping Day!

What I like about this email:

* The subject line stood out from all the other discounts in my inbox.

* The Christmas lights at the top give the template a seasonal relevance and are animated...they blink and draw my attention.

* There's a clear, concise offer I can use on my orders at the top, then the main focus matches the subject line and explains the free shipping details.

* The email is highly personalized. Where it says at the bottom, "Experience your closest Cabela's Store" the email closed with clear directions to my nearest Cabela's location.




Nonprofit: Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Subject Line: Can we count on you as the year ends?

What I like about this email:

* The top banner image area makes 3 important pieces of information stand out: statement of need, reminder of year-end tax deadlines for me and a prominent call to action button to donate.

* This is followed by a more personal appeal. It's not lengthy or dramatic, but provides more connection.

* Closes with another prominent call to action button.


Online Retailer - newegg

Online Retailer: newegg

Subject Line: ➋➍ HOURS ONLY: Our Ultimate Black Friday Codes UNLOCKED. Don't Miss Out!

What I like about this email:

* The subject line uses special characters to stand out in the inbox.

* The time-sensitive nature of the content is very prominent.

* I need to click through to see the deals. 

The "Don't Wait" button was animated - blinking at me.

* There are just enough examples of product discounts that I can see these deals are substantial and will want to click through for the rest. They don't give away all the deal info without clicking.

*It is anchored by a second category of deal offerings, which I can see happen every Wednesday. I'm going to want to open Wednesday's email.


Have you taken a look back at your own marketing from the fourth quarter? Now is the perfect time to review your campaigns and their performance. Take notes on what worked and what didn't to help you prepare next year.

What does your signature say?

Your signature on paper is unique. We all develop our own style after years of writing our name. So unique, that we can be identified in the handwriting of our signatures.  But, when is the last time you gave thought to how you sign emails?

Email signatures can be customized in just about any program.  Many people never take the time to set up a standard signature.   Here's a few things you should think about:

  • Do you have a standard way anyone in your business formats their email signature? If not, how do you know someone on staff hasn't forgotten to put your company website in their signature? Or worse, do you know if they put a giant, cutesy, animated graphic of a smiling unicorn that dominates their email messages? I've seen maybe not a smiling unicorn, but pretty close to it for professional signatures.
  • Did you establish your email signature on both emails sent from your computer/laptop/tablet AND your smartphone? Often your smartphone will need the signature set up separately.
  • You can use images for your signature.  A scan of your handwritten signature, a company logo, a professional photo of yourself...these are all acceptable.   Beware though, if your entire signature area is an image.  Many people read or view emails with images turned off. So, if you put everything  into one big graphic...your name may be lost. Try a blend instead. Type your name and your business, then add a graphic for the company logo.
  • Do you add anything to your signature to promote your business? How about a line that tells about an upcoming special event? Use the real estate around your signature to share a brief message or the landing page to an online promotion. Just be sure you change it before it becomes dated.

How you sign your name may seem like a simple thing and it's often overlooked. But it only takes a few minutes to set a standard signature. Taking those few minutes can say a lot about you.