Is there enough crossover among your market niches to justify cross-brand promotions? Consider these best practices.
Cross-brand promotion is one of the thorniest issues in e-mail marketing, mainly because many marketers don't see the potential traps.
When you promote your other brands to your customers the right way, you build a strong list of subscribers who are fans already of your other brands or sister companies or who found your Brand B a better fit than Brand A.
But you invite trouble when you assume that your Brand A subscribers automatically want messages about Brand B. Adding newsletters without getting explicit permission first is an opt-out strategy and forces your subscribers to say "Stop!" to you.
That's not a growth strategy. Instead, you set yourself up for more unsubscribes and spam complaints, which hurt your deliverability and can lower your overall marketing performance.
Wrong and Right Ways to Cross-Promote
I'm not saying you shouldn't cross-promote. Your current customers are your best resource, after all, since they already know you and, presumably, like the products you offer.
However, you get the best results - both in ROI (define) and deliverability - when you let your subscribers decide for themselves which e-mail messages they want to receive.
You probably have enough crossover among your market niches to justify cross-brand promotion, but not enough to start sending hardware deals to your sportswear shoppers.
Even if your company's divisions are complementary - flowers, gifts, and specialty foods, for example - you still shouldn't assume that your flower buyers also want your fruitcakes.
This problem goes beyond permission transfer or assuming interest. What if someone on the Brand A newsletter list previously opted out of Brand B e-mail or opts out of Brand A e-mail and expects all communication to cease?
Even scrubbing the list against Brand B's do-not-e-mail list doesn't solve the problem when people opt out of one list but continue to receive e-mail from others at the same company.
Legalities aside, this is underhanded and certain to backfire on you through unsubscribes, inactivity, and spam complaints.
Cross-Promote Through High Visibility
So, now that I established a strong stand against cross-promoting without permission, here's how to do it right.
Without detracting from your primary message, keep your other options in front of subscribers, either to expand their subscriptions or as alternatives:
This increases visibility and also creates an atmosphere of credibility. If subscribers like your publications and want more of them, connecting the brands together will make them more likely to sign up.
You can even send a sample of another newsletter to your subscribers as part of your regular messaging schedule, with these safeguards:
Most likely, the content of each alternative newsletter will be somewhat different from your current one. The call to action should reflect this difference (for example, a bargain version of an upscale retail newsletter, or a men's version of a newsletter focused on women's interests).
One Last Thought
Go ahead and cross-promote your newsletters among your various audiences. Just be sure the registration reins remain in your subscribers' hands.
Until next time, keep on deliverin'!
Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Sept 5 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!
Stefan Pollard, who started his career in online marketing in 1999, was considered a selfless mentor and champion of best practices in e-mail marketing. He held the position of senior strategic consultant at Responsys where he was responsible for developing e-mail marketing and lifecycle messaging strategies to increase clients' ROI. Before that, Stefan led the e-mail consulting program for Lyris clients, frequently speaking at industry events on best practices. Prior to that, he managed the audit process and consulted with clients to improve their e-mail delivery challenges for Habeas. As an e-mail marketer, he spent several years building and executing acquisition and retention campaigns at E-Loan and Cybergold.com. He died May 14, 2010.
In Memoriam: Stefan Pollard
E-mail marketing community mourns the loss of a marketing pro dedicated to helping his peers and clients and working to improve an industry. Here are their tributes celebrating his life.
E-mail Marketing Expert Stefan Pollard Dies
An expert in deliverability is remembered as a champion of best practices and someone who selflessly gave of his time to others.
IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.
The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.
September 17, 2014
September 23, 2014
September 30, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT