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We All Get Old Eventually

  |  August 17, 2010   |  Comments

Three ways to combat e-mail offer fatigue, and help your bottom line as you head into the holiday retail season.

I've been working at my company for two and a half years. During that time, I've had a number of learnings that shape my future thinking. Many times these learnings aren't new items, as much as they are reminders of things I should remember to do. Usually, after one of these learnings hits me, I walk away thinking about it for awhile. Today, I thought I would share two of these with you.

  • The first happened when I was showcasing our free iPad app and gushing about how good the high def images of professionally designed magazine pages looked on it. I was showing one of my favorite magazines on the iPad, Us Weekly, and I looked down and saw a beautiful photo of Cameron Diaz and…her crow's feet. "Yes!" I thought, celebrities my age do actually look like they're aging. I was so happy that, for one second, an iconic beauty was caught on camera looking like a real human.

  • This lead to my second realization. Oddly, it too is about aging. It was the day I realized that, "Yes Virginia, your e-mail offers will get fatigued" no matter how well you treat them. After watching one of the best performing campaigns start to show signs of lower and lower results, even though it was being sent to a new batch of readers.

Who knew? I mean, no one believes that as things age they aren't working quite as well as they did when they were younger. There's nothing you can do to stop it, but knowing about it enables you to be ready with a backup plan.

E-mail offer fatigue is a real occurrence. It happens, no matter how well you take care of your lists or how strong your brand is. I'm not speaking about list fatigue, I'm speaking about offer fatigue. The times where your welcome e-mail, your confirmation e-mail, or even your on boarding e-mails just start underperforming. In some cases, you need a creative lift. In others, you need a revision of your offer. And in some cases still, you need to redefine the strategy.

How do you avoid e-mail offer fatigue? Here are three ways:

  • Refresh your creative on your "notification e-mails" (e.g., your welcome and confirmation series) quarterly. Even though it's a new audience, trends for reading e-mail are changing fast as new devices come out, and you'll be surprised at the minor enhancements this will make.
  • Pull your website's top 10 search terms, and search.twitter.com's last day of entries about your brand and update all of your e-mail copy with phrases real people (not your marketing team) use to discuss your brand and offers. This can drive up to a 10 percent increase in results.
  • Test a "holiday" e-mail to people who have been on your list for over a year. By "holiday," I mean anniversary, birthday, or "thanks for your last purchase" e-mail. Sometimes people call this an unanticipated delight e-mail. This will spice things up.

These three ways can often wake up a consumer who has become tired or bored of the same e-mails from you. Or, it can help drive improved results from a loyal shopper.

In any event, this will help the bottom line, especially as we head into the holiday retail season. After all, you're only as old as you feel, and I'm not about to let my e-mails feel old and slow. Are you?


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Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen, a recognized women-in-business and tech, is known for her entrepreneurial style and her ability to build, shape, and grow brands into well-known dominant, successful entities. Jeanniey is a pioneer in email, mobile, and digital marketing; publishing; and brand-building. She now leads her own agency, YellowBean LLC, focused on assisting companies of all sizes with driving innovation and growth. Most recently, Jeanniey was the Global EVP, CMO, and subsequently Chief Growth Officer for Zinio, where she worked to define and implement strategies creating explosive growth through strategic partnerships with publishers, technology companies, brands, and consumers during her five-year tenure. Jeanniey has authored and contributed to multiple books, blogs, and magazine articles. She is a regular columnist for ClickZ, a blogger for Huffington Post, and a frequent keynote speaker. A serial networker, in 2005 Jeanniey founded the Email Experience Council, which was sold to the Direct Marketing Association in 2008. She sits on the Advisory Board for IndieFlix, and on the International Executive Council of the Internet Marketing Association. Jeanniey is recognized as both a Top CMO and Top Author on Twitter, and was most recently featured as Mover and Shaker by the Professional Woman's Magazine, and a featured Woman in Technology by The Legacy Series Magazine.

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