Browse to Amazon.com and you won’t have to look too far to find products you want to buy. In fact, you won’t have to look at all. The site will read your cookie, check your sales record and serve up products that it thinks match your interests. Email marketers can’t deliver that kind of personalized sales service even though the penalty of delivering the wrong offers are so much higher.
An Internet user who doesn’t see a product he wants to buy on a website will leave and may come back later. An email reader who doesn’t see offers he wants to use, will unsubscribe and never buy again.
Filter Your Subscribers
One solution is to filter subscribers at registration. Firefly Photography, for example, a photography business in Philadelphia, invites leads to leave their email addresses when they use the contact form, then refers them to a page where they can choose up to seven different kinds of newsletters and promotions. That ensures that subscribers only receive information they’ve indicated they want to read but it does limit the ability to cross-market, build desire or push a brand. A wedding photography lead might not be interested in baby photography now, but she could be ready to buy in a year’s time. Because she won’t have received the baby photography newsletters though, she might not order it from Firefly.
An alternative approach is ensure that the email messages themselves contain a wide variety of different types of products and offers so that there’s something to please every kind of reader.
Dell combines both approaches. Subscribers can choose to sign up for “Dell Outlet Home & Home Office Email Updates” or they can subscribe to “Dell Outlet Business Email Updates.” But having divided readers into individual and corporate leads, the computer company then crams a number of different products into each email.
A typical mailout will begin with a general but time-limited coupon code that dominates the top of the email. One side of the second part of the email offers three different products — the sample shows offers for a complete studio, a monitor, and a printer — while the other side offers a quick burst of content that pulls the reader down the page. And at the bottom of the email are six peripheral products that cost less but which might appeal to people who have bought in the past.
If It’s Not This Email, It Might Be The Next One
Whether you’re looking for a new computer, a new printer or a complete suite, there should be something there to keep you reading.
Even these kinds of emails though can’t contain products or offers that will appeal to every subscriber. No marketer, not even one as savvy as Dell, can have a 100 percent sales rate. But the emails don’t have to contain products that interest every reader.
They have to create the impression that even if this newsletter doesn’t have the offer a subscriber needs, the next one might. That’s enough to keep subscribers reading — and to continue reading until you serve them an offer they can’t resist.