pros and cons of outsourcingPERSONALIZATION – Anatomy of an Email Inbox – Dec 5, 2016

Today is my birthday.  Birthdays are personalizations that are the easiest things to know about someone and use to delight your email members.  As part of my topic today, I thought I would do an inventory of my inbox to see who is not being SOUR and using this information about me to catch my attention.

Now granted, it is only a little after noon as I am starting this, so some companies may still reach out to me, but the sad truth is that I haven’t seen too many messages recognizing my birthday.  Compare this to my Facebook friends who have been pinging me all day; 75+ and counting.  If companies want to have a relationship with me, shouldn’t they act more like friends?

So who did treat me like a friend?

Overstock.com – said happy birthday and offered me 10% savings.  They even used my name in the subject line and in the body copy and thanked me for the relationship.

Southwest Airlines – also used my name in the subject and I liked the engagement – subject line was intriguing:  “we brought the party to your inbox.”  It made me want to know what they meant, so I opened it, then it had a birthday theme and invited me to “take a swing at the pinata for some birthday fun.”  Again, highly engaging and made me want to click (which I did) to see what I would get.  So I actually got a pinata which I could swing at with my cursor.  I did and broke it open after several hits for a happy birthday song (in audio – the swinging and hitting of the pinata had audio effects too).  I could do it again for more birthday wishes.  Only did it twice, but looked like I could go on for a while if I wanted lots more birthday wishes.  GREAT JOB delighting me Southwest on my birthday.  Now that is a true friend!

UPDATE:  A few late arrivals came from Macy’s and Best Buy – thanks for thinking of me!

Not so good:

Hilton Honors – offered me a “gift” so made me think it might be about me, but was really just a regular seasonal email related to the holidays.

Starbucks offered me 1/2 off a Frappucino but it had nothing to do with me, my birthday or if I ever bought a Frap from them.  I haven’t recently, so clearly they aren’t using much personalization to talk to me.

And that’s it.  Everyone else was into their normal “spray and pray” routine – thinking about holidays and how to drive business in this most important retail season.  Given that my inbox contained over 100 emails, the fact that only 2 companies took the time to recognize this simple fact about me is just plain SOUR.

What gets me most is that the tools we have available allow us to delight daily with simple and sophisticated marketing communications that show we know and care about our prospects and customers, but as email marketers we fail to do so in a big way.  So many of us are so far from being great email marketers, it just makes me sad and SOUR.  We can do so much better.

Start today, ask yourself:

  • Am I using the persons first name in every correspondence?
  • What little things can I do to know my prospects and customers better and use this to show I care? Like Southwests birthday Pinata game or just by simply recognizing what you know about your members?
  • How can you use behaviors and engagement to send more relevant emails?
  • How can you build and leverage your systems to empower your email marketing and customer relationship management systems to help you have a real relationship founded on familiarity and connections.

Let’s be better!

About The Author : Sharon Swendner is a marketing executive and strategist.  She writes about CRM and email marketing and other marketing topics. Get in touch with her now to start developing insights and actions that drive ROI.