The Math On Chocolates

Once again, I’m going to create a pretend online business. And I need you to help me with some math

Here’s the business. From www.chocolatemessages.com you’re going to be able to send boxes of chocolates as gifts. In each box there’ll be thirty-six chocolates and on the top of each individual chocolate we can write one character in white chocolate. So we can write a message for you on the chocolates. You give us the message and we’ll write the words.

The happy recipient receives the box, opens the lid and reads something like, “To Julie, my love today and forever,” with each letter on a separate chocolate.

Or, “Happy Birthday Richard.”

Or, “Happy Mother’s Day Mom!”

Sounds like a fun idea to me.

Before I ask you my questions, let me tell you about my marketing model and a couple of assumptions I’m working with.

First, the model. Well, I haven’t figured it out exactly, but I figure on doing some deals with the major gift sites, flower sites and reminder service sites. Plus, I want my chocolate buttons on every site I can find that is connected with love and romance. Plus food and recipe sites.

One way or another, I’ll get the traffic. I’ll get my first time visitors.

Once I have that first time visitor I want to get “sticky.”

First, I’ll need to get a basic profile on the sender so that I can charge them for the purchase and email them with confirmation that the item has been shipped.

During this process I’m going to ask for a reasonable level of permission to market.

Perhaps one of the easiest “permissions” I can receive is to get permission to remind them when key gift giving events are coming up.

After all, chocolate messages are great for birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Those are some pretty key dates to remember. And let’s say I get a blanket permission to announce special deals and promotions from time to time. Now I have a customer who has made a purchase, and I am armed with permission to market.

In the assumptions for my projections, I need to know how soon after that first purchase I should get back to that customer with a promotional email.

Here’s what is keeping me up at night. (Or would be, if this wasn’t a complete fantasy.)

On one hand, I have a feeling that if I get back to my customer TOO SOON after the first transaction, I’ll appear to be too pushy and I’ll lose sales. On the other hand, I have a feeling that if I wait TOO LONG before making my next contact, that feel-good connection created by the first purchase experience will have faded into the past – and I’ll lose sales.

Do you see my concern here? I truly believe that if I push too hard and too soon, I’ll turn my new customer off. But I’m also sure that the best time to solicit a second transaction is fairly soon after the first — before all the other clutter that comes though everyone’s email inboxes reduces that “permission” to just a faint memory.

I don’t want to push too fast. I don’t want to wait too long. I need to get the balance just right.

So what do you think? Has anyone established a formula or base of knowledge that addresses this question?

If you actually have some experiences and figures that cast some light on this, I’d love to hear from you. And if I get a good chunk of quality feedback, I’ll share that knowledge in a future article.

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