Posts tagged personalized email

Personalized Marketing: What You Need to Know!

Personalized Marketing

162819605 250x166 Personalized Marketing: What You Need to Know!Nowadays, life is flying by us all so fast. So many companies, advertisements, and messages – it’s difficult to keep up. However, if companies and organizations knew how to reach the consumer on a personal level, people actually pay attention. You might have the exact product or service a customer desires, but if you do not appeal to their senses and emotions, they may never know it. If you learn to direct your marketing efforts in such a way that creates a spark, even if only briefly, you can create something that grabs a person’s attention enough to focus on your brand. Then, you will have a window of opportunity to take them further into your own brand and connect their emotions and senses to what you have to offer.

Personalized E-Mails

Did you know that “61% of consumers feel more positive about a brand if personalized marketing is used”? When a consumer receives an e-mail related to something they were recently researching they are more likely to engage in that email. For example, if a consumer visited a college website and signed up for courses, they may get an e-mail about purchasing textbook for a discount. They need textbooks and you’ve made it easier for the student to reach the ultimate goal of gaining an education.

SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.

Mass Marketing

Nearly half (44%) of all consumers are less responsive to non-personalized messages. Think for just a moment: if you receive a marketing piece from a brand you have had a personal experience with, and the piece references your experience, you are more likely to engage that brand than if you receive a mass marketing piece from a brand you have never engaged with.

SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.

Personalized Discounts

More than half (53%) of all consumers are very likely to purchase something from a company when a brand personalizes marketing through digital communications. If you’ve been shopping at a particular store and you give them your contact information, they will send you coupons to entice your return. You’ve already been there, so chances are, you’ll be back again.

SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.

Maybe a consumer will get a personalized marketing message that directs them to a website that includes their name in the web address. (Personalized URLs also known as PURLS.) People absolutely love to see their name in lights and companies are well aware of the power of this personalized marketing technique that’s becoming increasingly more popular. Is your company privy to the newest personalized marketing platforms?

From Mail Print’s perspective when we send highly personalized marketing pieces from our company our phones ring the week following the delivery of that mail piece at a rate 25% more than normal.

Brand Trust

If a consumer trusts you, they probably love your company, brand, and products or services and may not even know it. Gain their trust and you will likely gain their business. Are you aware that more than half (52%) of all consumers trust brands that enable them to share their marketing preferences more than brands that do not?

If you can put yourself and your company in your target market’s shoes, then you will know exactly what to create and what to avoid. You will save precious time and lots of money also. It’s a marketers dream. Consumers need to trust your brand, know your logo, and feel good about what you offer to them. If you can accomplish all of that, everything else is cake.

SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.

VDP Allows Bridal Service Companies and Brides to Get Personal

When Savvi Formalwear, a group of 35 independent formal wear retailers, wanted to connect with more soon-to-be brides, it chose the print and digital trifecta — direct mail, email and personalized landing pages.

All of Savvi Formalwear’s direct mail pieces were personalized using variable data printing (VDP), with coupons or incentives such as the two free airline tickets shown in the postcard in this post and a PURL that drives brides to a landing page with a store locator and Savvi Formalwear branding.

Savvi Formalwear is using the campaign to capture more of the $1 billion formal wear industry, that like other industries, has suffered because of the 2009-2011 recession.

wedding VDP Allows Bridal Service Companies and Brides to Get Personal


Not coincidentally the majority of Savvi Formalwear stores are located on the west coast where nearly 20% of the formal wear transactions occur. In these 35 stores, Savvi Formalwear is trying to lure as many of the two million brides that get married every year to their stores and services as possible.

SOURCE: IBIS World Report, Formal Wear and Costume Rental in the U.S., May 2012


pam VDP Allows Bridal Service Companies and Brides to Get Personal


Savvi Formalwear’s campaign, named SavviOne, included weekly mail drops across the U.S. and Canada to promote formal wear to couples planning their weddings. Using the power of personalization, Savvi Formalwear significantly increased the engagement and conversions in its multi-channel promotional campaign, according to Mark Morrow, president of Savvi Formalwear.

SOURCE: Case Studies,

Bride Puts Money Toward Print Pieces Not Cake or Dress

While most brides can spend the majority of their wedding budget on elaborate centerpieces, cakes and designer dresses, bride Robin Nelson, who works in the printing industry, invested her wedding dollars in a cross-media wedding campaign.

Nelson used XMPie solutions to personalize each piece of her wedding communications from engagement announcements to her wedding invitations which included QR Codes®*

Nelson said the campaign enabled her to gather more information about each of her guests to organizing the wedding to taking advantage of technologies that count RSVPs and help brides budget for dinner, drinks, the rehearsal dinner and after-ceremony reception.

SOURCE: “Happily Ever After: A Cross-Media Wedding Campaign” by Robin Nelson, XMPie Blog, Oct. 12, 2011

invitations VDP Allows Bridal Service Companies and Brides to Get Personal




With the use of variable data printing, there was no confusion on head count at Nelson’s wedding. Nelson attributes this to her guests who updated their RURL (Response URL also called PURL for personalized URL) especially in regards to how many children who would be coming with them).

The information Nelson got from her guests through the landing page they responded to allowed her to stay within budget, update her guest list and create a seating chart.

Nelson also downloaded the XMPie Marketing Console iPhone app that allowed her to provide final head counts and meal preferences to her caterer and vendors through report on-the-fly report technology.

So while some brides like the visual trimmings (cakes, bridesmaid’s gifts, etc.), savvy brides are tapping into VDP and digital technology to make their wedding planning less stressful and more personalized to all involved.

*QR Codes are a registered trademark of Denso Wave.


Customer Experience Soars from 20,000 Feet

plane Customer Experience Soars from 20,000 FeetAir New Zealand started in the ‘70s but is not stuck in the ‘70s. It knows batch and blast emails are a thing of the past. Instead of sending generic emails about promotions, it sends automated, personalized emails prior to, and upon return, of each of their customer’s flights.

Air New Zealand transformed its entire business in 2004 when if firmly placed the customer at the front of all its processes. The airline started from the outside and worked its way in by first purchasing new carriers, then lower fares, simplifying booking processes, and then shifting to internet sales and loyalty programs.

Sending Customer Emails of Value

Keeping with the theme of putting its customers in front of all processes, Air New Zealand built a powerful pre-flight reminder campaign. The email contained dynamic content that generated three popular messages that made it both pertinent and engaging. First the email included a personal greeting from and photograph of the actual Air New Zealand flight attendant who would be on the traveler’s specific flight. Many travelers would print out the email and show it to their attendant when boarding the plane.

Secondly, the email recapped the customer’s itinerary and lastly it offered a five-day weather forecast, which helped their customers plan and pack accordingly.

The pre-flight emails had an average open rate of 69 percent and an average click rate of 38 percent. The post-arrival emails had an average unique open rate of 62 percent and an average click rate of 40 percent, according to this Silverpop case study.

Engaging Customers with Humorous Video

Air New Zealand also gained customers, laughs, and massive viral exposure on the web with their series of in-flight instructional videos such as this one featuring Richard Simmons or this one using animation.

The animated video brings the safety pamphlet to life using animated versions of Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill and Melanie Lynskey from Two and Half Men. Making the commitment to regularly change their videos and include new stars and cameos keeps travelers tuned in to the safety message rather than sleeping through it.

The airline won awards for its innovative, quirky, and sometimes risqué videos.

Dynamic ROI through Dynamic Content

I can’t rave about Air New Zealand’s dynamic publishing push in its marketing because I don’t believe it or any domestic airline currently employs variable data printing. However, the possibilities for VDP in airline marketing is ripe.

Airlines could print custom booklets or magazines for all its platinum level members and populate them with articles on their favorite vacation destinations, favorite sports, favorite wines and the like. Imagine the loyalty that could be built by stroking the egos of men and women who fly 200,000 miles a year by handing them a magazine filled with the their name and family member’s names in print as well as content on everything of interest just to them.

How is your company dynamically generating your email and print content? Are you making your content personality rich or is it the equivalent to a fast-food restaurant’s hand washing training video?


6 Tips to Make Sure Your Variable Marketing Project Doesn’t Crash and Burn

148132648 250x166 6 Tips to Make Sure Your Variable Marketing Project Doesn’t Crash and BurnIf your business wasn’t part of the early adopters of variable data printing, this blog post is for you. This piece will keep you far from the technical grenades that can burn you if you don’t prepare your database or file correctly for hand off to your variable partner for execution.

Data First, Creative Second

Start with the data, which seems counter intuitive to agency people and small businesses. According to Kristen Miller, of Mail Print’s Client Implementation Team, successful VDP projects begin with data and then move into the creative process.

Ideally you’ll start with an accurate customer or prospect database/mail list. Ideally the dataset has more than name and address, like age, income, presence of children in the home, purchase history, or frequency of purchases.  Next you can decide what you want to communicate and pick which data fields you’re going to drop into your communication to personalize the marketing piece.

Dear {Name}, We hope this note finds you well.  Since you recently bought {Gift #1}, we thought you would be interested in {Gift #2}.

Prospecting vs. Retaining

Often times mailing lists purchased from list providers can be a great solution when you are prospecting for new clients beyond wanting to personalize a piece simply with someone’s first name. If your marketing strategy is to get St. Louis based, women, 40 years old and older, with household incomes of at least $100,000 to come to a plastic surgery seminar, purchasing a list may make sense.

If you are a plastic surgeon who wants to get existing patients to consider a second procedure or new aesthetic service, using your customer data makes sense. Choose your segment and write your marketing copy and select your graphics to truly speak to that particular group of people.

Maximize the Power of Variable

It can be very profitable to build a marketing piece that uses different images, colors, and messages to match the targeted segment.  The true value of variable data printing comes in being able to tailor a piece to engage a particular segment of your target audience.  Simply playing the “name game” is somewhat passé.  Your goal is to create a highly relevant mail piece so the prospect can envision using your product or service in a particular way.

Beware of Capital Letter Land Mines

If you had a single person input your CRM data, you are probably in good shape consistency wise. However, if multiple people in multiple states have added to the database, you may be plagued with names that should be spelled DeAnna, but may appear as Deanna (first letter capped only) or DEANNA, which often happens off purchased mailing lists.

Fixes for Common Field Land Mines

Miller says she sees several other common “field” related problems with the two dozen large variable projects she produces for clients each month. “Some clients will want to address the prospect by the first name, but their data field is set up as a full name field. There is no clean way to segment out Mr. Glenn Smith vs. Glenn Smith versus F. Glenn Smith.”

Rosanne Kirn, who works on Miller’s team, says another common problem occurs with the company field name. If a data entry person has put Sudsy Soap LLC in the company name but the client wants the marketing piece to mail to Sudsy Soap, you have an immediate problem.

The solution is to build an extra field and name it “Pretty Company Name” or “Variable Company Name” and key in the name of the company without all the window dressing of LLC, Inc, etc.

Don’t Send Unneeded Fields in Your File

Variable data projects can quickly come to a screeching halt if too much data is sent – enough to crash a system.

Miller and Kirn once dealt with more than one million data records from a local retailer. This isn’t a huge number of records until you multiply that by the number of fields, (over 1,000 in this case) attached to that record. Then things can get ugly quick.

Miller recommends reviewing your file and only sending the data fields that are needed to produce the marketing piece. This will keep the tab delimited, .CSV, or .TXT file size manageable and prevent unnecessary delays in your project.

Netherland’s Retailer Personalizes 98% of Outbound Email

I recently read a case study on one Holland retail giant with 84 million web visits a year from 1.5 million customers, they did what some might deem impossible. began having one-on-one conversations with all 1.5 million customers. By doing so the mega retailer infused relevancy into its marketing campaigns on a massive scale and were rewarded with a 271 percent boost in sales per email blast.

The case study, by Responsys, discussed how the company with more than 100,000 products and 5 million shipments a year addressed the gap between old and new school marketing. By partnering with data mining firms that could integrate its CRM data with core customer metrics, was able to quickly and precisely send compelling content and product placements to customers based on their behavior and take it to a different level by aggregating the behavior of similar customers.


The Nuts and Bolts of Personalizing Emails

The email creative is built on a dynamic template. The VDP template eliminates the need to write and build hundreds of individual email versions. Relevant messaging and products are automatically filled into the header, call-to-action and body copy on a subscriber-by-subscriber basis at the time the email is sent.

The secret of the retailer’s personalization success is its ability to understand each customer’s motivations or needs and then build an automated targeting and personalization program around that insight. The program follows the standard site funnel: category or product list browsing (Browsed Overview Mail, or BOM), product detail browsing (Browsed Article Mail, or BAM) and product abandonment (Abandoned Cart Email or ACE). This approach is eloquently called “ACE, BAM, BOM.”

The data collection allows marketing to understand where a customer drops out of the purchase cycle and what that means. This information is used to reengage them. Layers of business knowledge are built into the system, therefore increasing the chance of conversion.’s leadership says the 98 percent personalization they’ve achieved with each customer drives immense value back into the business and sets the bar high for distance sellers and online retailers.

online retail, eretail, email, ecommerce, personalization

Personalization Results for Retailer’s personalized multi-channel program consistently performs at a 23 percent higher open rate than standard promos, a 68 percent higher click-through rate, a 67 percent lower opt-out rate and a 271 percent higher sales-per-send ratio.

To overcome the issue of precise targeting vs. volume marketing, taps its weekly intelligence of its email customers by compiling it into a Sunday circular, which features the best content and products of the week. Nearly two times the sale-per-send than standard promotional mailers demonstrates the effectiveness of this effort.




Retire Your 1980s Marketing Practices Along Side Your INXS Album

record, outdated, marketingThe 1980s Australian band, INXS (pronounced “in excess”) has yet to retire though critics plea that they reconsider.  The band’s name summarizes the excesses of that period, which include plenty of waste in the marketing industry — mass mailings, print overruns, static, soon-to-be-tossed collateral pieces, and one-way, non-triggered communication.

The spoilage and fallout of living to extremes or marketing to the masses has led us to today’s fine-tuned world of print on demand, variable data printing (VDP), and print automation. The pendulum has swung toward tighter controls, two-way communications, well-timed incentives, and just enough materials to get the job done and the results needed. Are you working smart or stuck in the world of give me 5,000 pieces instead of the 4,500 pieces really needed because it only costs me another $50 printing, one-way conversations, all delivered through one-channel vs. highly engaging multi-media campaigns?

When executed with tightly refined parameters and a laser-focused prospect list, VDP with multi-channel marketing is the new sensation because it generates higher results despite the smaller reach in most instances. Today’s marketing tools and digital print pieces reduce the cost of print communication by as much as 90% —shaving off the bottom half of the pyramid below.

With print on demand, there is no need to warehouse materials and no inventory obsolescence. Supplement print on demand with print automation and you also omit the last three line items at the base of the pyramid: external creative, internal creative, and fulfillment/distribution.

Printing, Communication, Marketing cost, obsolescence, cost of communication
Just in Time Printing Omits Waste

If you’ve ever had to throw away 7,000 image brochures because of a change in leadership, you’ve felt the pain of offset printing in today’s fast moving, ever-changing business climate.  It is Murphy’s Law that as soon as the annual report or other key piece gets printed, something will already be out of date.

Refine Your List, Blanketing Populations is So 80s

If you haven’t determined who your customer is, you can spend a lot of money blanketing populations of people and be missing those potential customers who are actually interested in your business.

If you’re pulling data from your internal database for your mailings, make sure your data is scrubbed and solid. A data quality survey revealed:

  • While 96.2 percent of organizations view data accuracy as an essential issue, nearly one-third of them don’t enforce it.
  • More than half of the respondents claim that at least 6 percent or more of the important information in their database is inaccurate or completely missing.
  • 63 percent of respondents say that five to thirty percent of their marketing budget is wasted as a result of bad data.

If you’re using an outside list company or broker for your marketing project, make sure it’s been cleaned or scrubbed (the process of detecting and removing or correcting any information in a database that has some sort of error).

Errors can be the result of human data entry error, merging of two databases, a lack of company-wide or industry-wide data coding standards, or due to old systems that contain inaccurate or outdated information.

When in doubt about the accuracy and deliverability of your list, hire a mailing expert or partner with a reputable mail house to provide:

  • Data Normalization
  • Data Migration
  • USPS CASS-Certified Address Cleaning, Parsing (Splitting)
  • USPS NCOA Processing, Duplicate Record Removal (AKA: “De-Dupe” or “Purge”), Data Standardization & Reformat
  • Genderization
  • Casing

Finally, make sure you’re using the tools of the 21st century in your marketing practices today and have retired the shotgun approach of the 80s. This is a period of refinement, not excess.


Refuse to be Ignored, Personalize Your Email Campaigns

Personalized, email, cross channel marketing, cross media marketing, variable data, database managementSending prospects or customers emails is relatively cheap, easy, and speedy. So it’s no wonder more than 89.2% of marketing managers say email remains as important or more important in their overall marketing strategy compared to two years ago, according to an EmailVision study.

What’s surprising though is most marketers are not personalizing their email campaigns. A Direct Marketing Association analysis shows that today there are more emails arriving in consumers’ inboxes, but that the percentage of emails with personalized content has dropped from 38% to 22%. The email may say “Welcome Peter Prospect,” but the rest of the message is not personalized in any way.

The reason is not laziness, according to Arthur Middleton Hughes of Email Insider. With emails going out several times a week for most businesses, there is not enough time for the creative and/or IT department to put dynamic personal content into the bulk of outgoing emails. Companies love the lift both frequency and personalization give emails, but frequency is easier than personalization so sending more emails wins out.

Some retailers are losing their best customers by sending too many emails. Customers that purchase one item every quarter, don’t want an email every day and probably don’t want one every week. So according to Hughes, frequency can lead to customer churn, which leads marketers back to better segmenting, testing, and full use of their database instead of the temptation of volume and frequency as a crutch.

Helzberg Diamonds’ Get Personal with Email Campaign

Helzberg Diamonds achieved 288% sales lift with a promotional email that spelled a subscriber’s first name using images of Helzberg’s charms. To make the campaign shine, the team animated the charms to swing back and forth on a necklace in the email.

Because of the technical challenges of the campaign, Helzberg checked more than 100 emails to ensure the personalization worked and that it defaulted to the word “friend” if the person’s name was too long or the occasional inappropriate entry in the name field.  (We all have seen “Dirty Dog Smith” on web entry forms and probably even names worse than that.)

The results shined.

  • 288% increases in sales (or 3x) compared to the prior week’s email campaign
  • 55% higher open rate than Helzberg’s average for promotional emails
  • 85% higher clickthrough rate

Because charms jewelry was a strong seller in the past for Helzberg, the team wanted to create an exciting promotion so customer wouldn’t tire of five or six emails about charm bracelets.

Laura Schraeder, Helzberg Diamonds email marketing specialist, said her associates on the campaign joked about sending personalized animations in ever email, but Helzberg is careful to avoid making such technically rich campaigns the new standard.

Any company can refuse to be ignored as long as they remember that the same rules of direct mail apply to email – segment, personalize, and match frequency with buying habits. Don’t flood your customer’s mailbox or email inbox because it meets your needs more than theirs. Show them that you know their name and their needs. Dazzle them with more than just your creative design skill.  Dazzle them with your attention to etiquette and your strong relationship building skills.

Personalized Marketing: Beyond the Name Game

**This is a re-post from Mail Print’s early days of blogging.  Our readership has grown quite a bit since then, so I wanted to resurrect an early post.  Enjoy!

Using the recipient’s name is an easy way to make your direct mail and email marketing relevant to the recipient, but I am often asked, “How do I use my data to create a more personalized direct marketing experience?”

The answer lies in using your data. I know many people have a hard time making the connection between “using data” and how that translates into variable direct marketing, so let’s look at some examples:

1) Getting people to interact with your web site is great, but making them search for information that you should already know… not cool.  (And not personalized or relevant.)

In the personalized email below, you’ll see all the variable information highlighted, including the location, price, discounted savings, show logos, dates and even a Personalized URL  The recipient doesn’t have to go to a web site and then search for the information that applies to them.

Variable Data Print Piece, VDP

By the way the video that plays at the Personalized URL, is a variable video.  The only video that plays is the one for the location of the recipient.  They don’t have to select or weed through the videos of shows that aren’t coming to their area.  Check it out at:

2) Write copy for each audience as if you were speaking directly to a recipient within that audience.

The example below is tailored to families.   The variable data in it speaks specifically to the amenities that a family will value, not to singles or seniors, and it certainly doesn’t try to address all the audiences at the same time.

Variable Data, VDP

3) Location, location, location. When proximity is important, tell them just how close they are.

Variable Data Printing, VDP

4) All customers are not created equal, so why would you offer them all the same thing?

Variable Data Printing, VDP

5) If nothing else, always use their name.

It’s easy to get creative with imagery, but don’t forget basic copywriting techniques, like using their name within the text.

variable data
MPvday Personalized Marketing: Beyond the Name Game
MJBank1 Personalized Marketing: Beyond the Name Game
ESemail Personalized Marketing: Beyond the Name Game
MarathonPC1 Personalized Marketing: Beyond the Name Game

6) And finally…

Just for fun, the piece below contains over 75 variables to make the direct mail piece relevant to the recipient.  Can you find them all?  I’ll give you a hint… there is variable copy within variable copy.

Variable Data Printing, VDP

Using variable data in mail, email and personalized web pages becomes much easier when you understand how to apply what you already know to create relevant marketing materials.  The significant improvement in response and purchase rates makes it well worth the effort.


He Who Personalizes His Incentives Tees Up for Success

teeing up for great direct mail and VDPIf we’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s to give away information to nurture relationships. E-books, whitepapers, and reports have become a standard carrot on blog and website menus.

Any successful company has a content-rich digital presence with a highly trafficked download area that is quietly capturing and developing relationships with customers who are not yet ready to engage.

To differentiate themselves from the pack, companies in several vertical market segments are getting really personal with their prospects to earn their business by offering more unique incentives to reward the action they want their customers and prospects to take.


A Hole in One

Pinehurst Golf Academy, a golf resort in North Carolina, wanted to drive enrollment to its Golf Academy. In a multichannel marketing campaign, it mailed a postcard that drove recipients to a personalized URL to take them to an online self-assessment of their golf game. Almost 12% went to the PURL and 26% of them completed the survey.

Based on their answers, responders were sent an eight-page roll-fold brochure with personalized and customized information regarding the weaker part of his/her golf techniques. Imagine the engagement upon receipt to get a tutorial to help their swing vs. a generic image piece or whitepaper.


Best Seat in the House

The Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania executed a direct marketing campaign to sell tickets and solicit donations. Through a direct mail piece that incorporated more than 120 fields from the subscriber database, their campaign was a winner. It resulted in a 2,466% return on investment, 60% renewal rate and more than $661,000 in renewals and donations.

A color-seating chart was included so subscribers could view their seats and decide to upgrade or not. More than 5,000 different combinations were possible in the variable print piece. And though Fulton Theatre didn’t give subscribers a reward, they succeeded by personalizing the solicitation piece to the point each recipient had ownership in the Theatre and took pride in maintaining their stake in that season’s experience.


Designer Tees

NewPage, a paper manufacturer, wanted to drive attendees to its trade booth at the HOW Design Conference. Its pre-show mailing offered designers a free t-shirt that they could personalize with one of four phrases and choose male or female tailored styles. The result was 47% of recipients visited the landing page to complete the survey for the shirt. Response was off the charts. NewPage had to take down the landing page temporarily to order more shirts.

NewPage’s one size doesn’t fit all approach was a hit with designers who like any new means to express themselves.

At the same conference another vendor built customer relationships by doing a mailing that directed attendees to a landing page to sign up for a free ride from the airport to the conference. Approximately 214 people requested a ride from the airport via the Personalized URL. An additional 42 people signed up for a ride via other channels.

This demonstrates an incentive doesn’t have to be something tangible or even printable. A free ride is just as desirable as a t-shirt, upgraded seat or golf swing intervention.


Best Practices

Is your brain spinning with great personalization ideas? Use these takeaways from the personalized approaches above to connect with your customers this year.

  • Know your customer. Researching your audience and truly knowing what will move them into action is the key to your campaign.
  • Move beyond a first-name basis. Make sure you personalize your call-to-action pieces using rich variable elements far beyond a prospect’s first name. Your data field drop ins might be their favorite magazine, trade journal, years in the industry or golf club brand, the more you can speak to them one-on-one the better chance you have to hit a hole in one.
  • A good carrot gets eaten every time. While it’s easy to give customers rims of informational pieces on your industry or niche, take the time and spend the money to build an incentive that speaks directly to them such as a golf swing fix. There are hundreds of directions a ball can go upon being struck, but Pinehurst Golf Academy was fully vested in making sure their new member’s hit their ball straight up the middle.

5 Things Flash Mobs Can Teach You About Email Marketing

email marketingFlash mobs are unexpected, irresistible, and often historic if they go viral on You Tube. Chief Marketing Officers should aspire for the same traits in their email campaigns.

Harper’s Magazine’s editor Bill Wasik invented flash mobs as an experiment about social conformity and people wanting to be part of the next big thing. His first flash mob failed.  Abraham Lincoln said, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”

However, Wasik’s meticulously planned his second flash mob, which was held in 2003 in Macy’s Department store. It was a success with 130 mob participants. The engage email power of planning always brings better returns.

Here are five other ways flash mobs can inspire you to construct email campaigns that will be included in the 2012 next big thing list.


Grab Your Audiences Attention
Flash mob and email marketing similarities start with the person who leads the performance. The person who initiates the flash mob is the equivalent to the subject line of your email campaign. This pattern interrupt stops the busy shopper.  In your case the busy prospect scanning his email.  As he scans the various lines he stops at your message simply because your compelling subject line appeals to him.


Engage Them So They Stay With You

Once they click, your email message needs to engage them just as a flash mob moves into Act II of its performance. One way to engage is to be relevant by sending a message that matches the interest of your prospect. A retail shopper who buys socks, white v-neck tees and plaid boxers will engage with your sales reminder that those items are discounted this week. Personalizing your message to reflect their interests, needs, and wants indicates that you know them and increase your credibility to the shopper.  You are more engaging, or rather your message is engaging.


Be Brief, Be Real

An average flash mob dance is three to five minutes. Keep your message brief because the average person spends just 15-20 seconds reading an email.

To keep your prospect from clicking the delete button, make your message conversational rather than a blatant sales pitch.


Keep it Clean

Just as a flash mob keeps its performances G-rated, keep your email list scrubbed and in good hygiene. Good list hygiene includes removing lapsed addresses (disengaged prospects) that don’t respond to win-back campaigns. Also, use deliverability tools such as feedback loops, tracking delivery by domain, and scoring content to avoid looking “spammy”.

Keep your marketing messages and images in good taste, too. got push back from its prospects when it emailed a subscriber solicitation for its online database with a seductive bartender on it. Though the campaign was supposed to play off the company’s bar tie-in, it didn’t win any customers among conservative PR circles.

There’s more to be learned from flash mobs to inspire better email marketing in 2012. Take 30-minutes during your lunch break to watch the 10 most viewed flash mobs of all time and let us know what you plan to apply in the New Year.