Archive for July, 2010

No, it’s not my birthday. But if it was?  This morning I was thinking about the new email automation tools we’ve built, which in turn led me to thinking about the simplest ways to use these to build real, closer relationships with customers.

Like you, I spend my money across a range of organisations every day, and not many of them are stand-outs at making me feel special.  I won’t name names now, but it’s clear that most of them are more interested, still, in the next new customer and not very interested in impressing me.  Yes, of course some of them have retention targets and aim to keep these on track, but I don’t see this trickle through as caring, or even pretending to care if I feel special, noticed, acknowledged or valued.

It’s kind of back to front isn’t it. I care a lot about the companies I rely on to make sure my life ticks along smoothly.  I know if they are there or not, and when it suits them best for me to contact them.   I go out of my way to spend money with them, I often notice if things change for them, and some of them even tell me loudly when it’s their birthday.

Maybe you belonged to a club like I did as a little girl, that sent me a postcard for my birthday.   Along with the cards from my family and friends, this one would arrive and I noticed, and now some years later I smile when I think about how much it meant to me .  As each year ticks by most humans find that our birthdays are less and less special.  We’re very mature about it but, on the inside we dont feel like that’s very fair.  So, I’ve decided to start to talk to clients about Birthday Clubs.

It’s my job to notice this stuff, and in addition to the businesses I pay to run my life, I sign up for so much marketing material you’d think I’d be drowning in it.  Nope.   Many opt-in, purchase, and registration forms request a date of birth, but I can’t think of any that use it well.

I’m telling you because I think there is a lot of room in this space – it’s not a one size fits all, and it’s not likely that any one person will be so inundated with birthday love that they’ll have a freak out.

Automated emails can be set and forget, driven and personalised from a simple data file. They are unbelieveably cost effective, and just plain effective both at engendering loyalty and driving revenue. Use your imagination to jump out from behind your desk and stand in the shoes of your customer or prospect, and think up something that is bang on – relevant, good-natured and valuable to them, and have fun with it.

Construct a program that makes you feel good, and chances are you will spread that feel-good to your database.

I hope that some of our clients might see the opportunity to stand out with a genuine birthday offer and acknowledgement, that’s beautifully designed, high quality, and endearing.  I hope that you do too.  If you have questions or comments please leave them here.


P.S. there is an update to this post here – when it actually was my birthday, who told me they cared?

Here is a recent blog post on Great Birthday Email Examples.


  • you don’t end friendships or love affairs…you “opt-out” of them
  • you can’t read any text wider than about 600 pixels
  • you can think of 17 different ways to describe something as free without actually using the word “free”
  • the shopping list you give your spouse has all the important items squeezed into the top lefthand corner of the piece of paper
  • you look for the unsubscribe link in direct mail
  • you reject birthday cards that don’t have the postal address of the sender printed on the reverse of the envelope
  • your signature on cheques includes your job title, address, phone number, fax number and website address
  • you delete people from your address book if they fail to return your phone calls three times in a row
  • when people accept your dinner invitations, you send out another invitation asking if they’re sure
  • the photos in your wedding album don’t have labels…they have alt tags
  • you send everyone two Christmas cards…one text-only, the other with images and colors



The improbably named Deanie Sultana from Neilsen in New Zealand today says we are all on the band wagon, and the biggest number in the use of social media is for ‘looking at social media profiles’ i.e. 79% of us love to check each other out.

You can see whom what and how often in their press release of today, here.



Fifty-eight percent of 13,000 consumers surveyed recently have been driven to make a purchase in a store or over the phone by a marketing email, according to the recently published The Global E-mail Attitudes Survey.

While websites are the preferred place for consumers to opt in, the survey revealed that they’re also very willing to subscribe to email messages offline, such as when placing a catalog order (46 percent), at the point of sale (29 percent) or via SMS text message (13 percent).

In addition, two-thirds of consumers said email-inspired purchases have prompted them to further research a brand and its products. More than half said it spurred a peer recommendation.

More opportunity for pass-along and social media activity abounds too; roughly half of consumers revealed they’re willing to act as brand advocates in order to connect email content, such as special offers and promotions, to social networks.

The study showed that this activity is highest in the Asia-Pacific region.

The survey from e-Dialog consisted of interviews with 13,000 consumers across 13 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Australia, South Korea and China. It was conducted on behalf of e-Dialog’s Centre for Digital Marketing Excellence byLightspeed Research in April 2010.



Marketers like you and I are turning down so much ‘free money’ with each campaign.

‘Free money’ is what I call the additional subscribers, and potential sales that come as a benefit of doing a good job of what you were doing anyway.

A well planned, relevant and good looking email campaign, social media promotion, or mobile program should be compelling enough that at least a portion of your customers are moved to forward it on or tell others about it.

If you don’t consider this from the planning stage and make it easy for them to do so, and for their friends to act, then you are turning your back on a very profitable bonus. Profitable because you have already spent the money on the campaign! If you can generate extra sales and attract prospects it’s your payday allover again.

Sound good? Even better, its easy.

First, the subscribe path. Make it very easy to subscribe to your database. Make sure every website page on your site links to the opt in page. Ensure the opt in page makes it a fair exchange by clearly listing the benefits of subscribing, and of course easy to find, clear and enticing, with examples of the emails on offer.
Importantly, check that it reassures privacy – I’ve seen studies that show a simple plain English reassurance can much improve the chance of a subscriber joining your list.
Consider this: if you need to change your email address for any reason, and want to keep receiving your favourite email updates then you are likely to find it considerably harder to find an ‘update my details’ link than you are to find the ubiquitous unsubscribe button. Is that the same for your emails? Are you giving readers no choice but to unsubscribe? Adding an update or preference centre is simple and enabling.

Next, the SWYN opportunity. Simply, make sure your website content, blog posts, and every email campaign (unless it’s members only) has easy to see Share This links. This way your readers can do their job, telling their boss about what you can offer their company, their colleagues about your great newsletter, or their mum about a great sale. Good email marketing software will have this functionality for you to use. We’ve had clients see their database double with good use of SWYN.

Effortless subscribing and sharing…  Two ways to ensure you pick up all the free money that your marketing efforts deserve.

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