Campaign of the month: QX Business Services – December 2013

Take some deep breaths. Brace yourself.

This is it.

The moment every other day of the month is building up to. The announcement to trump all announcements.

e-shot’s Campaign of the Month winner has been chosen.

And the award goes to… QX Business Services!

QX Business Services

And their email hasn’t won for a single reason, instead racking up a huge list of email marketing plus points. A great combination of design, content, layout and various other attributes has meant the QX Business Services newsletter is a deserving victor.

To take advice and inspiration from their successful campaign, have a read of our analysis of their message’s excellent qualities below:

  • Excellent image/text ratio.
  • The simple instruction ‘download pictures to see more’ is a good touch, to encourage recipients to view the email in all its glory.
  • However, the email still keeps its structure when images are turned off.
  • Also, no information is lost when the images are turned off either.
  • The email looks great and is completely on brand with their website.
  • From an aesthetic perspective, the whole message is simply laid out, nicely spaced and has a very appealing flat, clean design.
  • The “learn more” and “have a look here for more information” links are enticing calls to action.
  • It has a subject line which will pique the interest of subscribers by asking a question.
  • Finally, the copy of the message is concise, straight to the point, readable, engaging and quickly answers the question posed in the subject line while also advertising the company very succinctly.

Once again, a huge congratulations and well done to QX Business Services for this sterling example of email marketing excellence

Christmas Advert Reviews 2013

The busiest time of the year for retailers (as our Christmas Marketing Infographic explains) means intense competition for TV advertising campaigns. John Lewis blew £7 million on theirs, while Asda’s looks like they spent £70. So we thought we’d take a more in depth look at an array of eight clips that will be hitting our screens over and over and over again between now and December 25th. The gap in quality, effectiveness and ideas is astounding. From the charming to the charmless, the pompous to the plain, this is e-shot’s no holds barred critique:

 

Morrisons

Morrisons: Ant and Dec look more and more like ITV’s stylists have got hold of Merry and Pippin from Lord of the Rings with every passing yuletide. Nevertheless, this advert is actually not that bad. Yes there’s an unexplained dancing gingerbread man, the sickly Geordie duo and an annoying take on the song “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, but the food looks amazing and tempting which is a pretty direct aim of a Christmas advert. 6/10

 

Coca Cola

Coca Cola: Have you ever analysed the lyrics to the choral music in this advert? “The holidays are coming, it’s always the real thing”. What does that even mean?! Anyway, I can be as pedantic as I want, but Coca-Cola have Christmas marketing sorted. To the extent that they’ve even managed to breed the urban myth that before Coca-Cola got involved Santa didn’t even wear red and white robes, and any deviations from their beloved annual clip would cause uproar.

Social media feeds are filled with slightly pathetic, nostalgic and overexcited love for the advert whenever it is first shown on TV each festive season. Though it doesn’t even seem like they have to do anything to make their Christmas campaign a success every year, if it ain’t broke… 9/10

 

Mark & Spencer’s

M&S: Let’s face it, M&S basically invented food porn. But since they abandoned the sexy voice talking over leisurely-poured custard or a carving knife slicing into a well-stuffed turkey in slow-motion, their adverts haven’t been as exciting. Well, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley falling into an Alice in Wonderland style fantasy world and losing her clothing for a moment is nearly there. Oh and then when the advert goes all Aladdin her clothes disappear again. Nice try, M&S.

Eventually, Helena Bonham Carter shows up, as do numerous models, things become a bit Wizard of Oz and then Huntington-Whiteley’s back in the “real” world. It’s probably too long, over-ambitious, and an odd mix of classic fantasy, fairy tales and festivity. But it shows off a wide range of the goods that M&S sell extremely well. Although it will hardly linger long in the public consciousness. 6/10

 

Lego

LEGO: This clip’s piano loop feels like we’re about to watch a Microsoft or Google advert, but quickly the quirky and imaginative selection of LEGO’s possible uses dispels that idea. The father and son team is really well worked to tug on the heartstrings, and the advert wins extra bonus points because it isn’t too blatantly Christmassy! No fake snow or paper-hat-filled family meal is thrust down your throat, instead relying on the simple attraction of paternal bonding. 6/10

 

Tesco

Tesco: I’m a bit of a sucker for super 8mm-style home movie footage, not to mention Rod Stewart’s sultry tones. And to Tesco’s credit, the 1970’s footage that melts into the modern day is incredibly convincing, not really relying on clichés and making the actor’s ageing believable. The song eventually ends after a few final shots of food and fun, the Tesco logo appears with their famous “Every Little Helps” slogan, and I think it’s an incredibly effective and enjoyable campaign. 9/10

 

John Lewis

John Lewis: Their 2011 “For gifts you can’t wait to give” advert really seemed to connect with public sentiment. I reckon 2012’s effort was just as successful and innovative as John Lewis continued their Christmas marketing winning streak. However, this year’s ad is just plain boring. Admittedly it has nice animation – even if it is a shamelessly pale imitation of Watership Down mixed with classic Disney. The music is dreadful, as Lily Allen’s dull mockney voice dribbles out an excruciating version of an already dull song by Keane.

Anyway, there is one way John Lewis have triumphed at Christmas TV marketing in the past three years – and it probably just about justifies the £7m spent on this year’s effort – they’ve got people talking and the unveiling of each advert has become a mini event and newsworthy occurrence. But for content, festive spirit and enjoyment this only scrapes 8/10.

 

Debenhams

Debenhams: Models, luxury jewellery, more models, excited kids, Budapest, ice skating, lots of pretty lights and a romantic plot that’s slightly clearer than an arty perfume advert. This Debenhams ad takes elements of M&S and John Lewis’s campaigns – without the surreal experimentation and tear-jerking animation – there’s even the obligatory sexy underwear shot and a slow female sung backing ballad. It’s the opposite of ground-breaking, entirely unsubtle and not particularly memorable, but it presents ranges of the department store’s products in an attractive way. Boring, but nicely done. 6/10

 

 Asdas

Asda: This is awful. Just awful. Even if their marketing budget was 0.5% of the John Lewis advertising fund, it’d be no excuse. It feels as though a lazy 16 year old work experience kid was given an hour to come up with a vaguely festive concept to demonstrate how Asda are cheaper than their rivals. If their slogan was “our prices are as cheap as this advert”, then at least it would be funny. 2/10 

Unroll with it

There are a growing number of websites designed to clean out your email inbox. Competing against sites such as Sanebox.com and Mailboxapp.com, Unroll.me is my email manager of choice. It’s quick and painless to mass-unsubscribe from every subscription associated with an email address in seconds, plus it has a variety of other interesting aspects.

unroll.me

Unroll.me lets a user pick any of their remaining email subscriptions to be bundled into a daily “Rollup” email. You are then sent one email per day containing all of the chosen promotional emails received in the past 24 hours.

I realise from a professional email marketing perspective, on a blog run by an email marketing company, that talking about a product like Unroll.me seems counterproductive and counterintuitive. But bear with me for a minute.

When Gmail introduced their new tabbed browsing – splitting your messages into categories including a section for promotional emails – the internet (particularly certain email marketing gurus) threw a bit of a tantrum and panicked. If you Google “Gmail tabs email marketing” there’s thousands of results, each documenting the fear that Gmail’s changes would have an extremely negative impact on email marketing trends. As it turns out, Gmail’s alteration actually had a barely noticeable impact on click-through and display rates et al.

However, marketers still get asked if Gmail tabs are hurting our open rates. This is how that question makes us react:

When the 20th person asks if Gmail Tabs are hurting your open rates.

And that’s Gmail. Used by hundreds of millions of people, all the time. If their move to relegate promotional emails to a subfolder only has a negligible knock-on effect for marketers, then a niche company like Unroll.me is hardly an email marketing rider of the apocalypse.

But more than this; these sort of inbox-cleaning sites have the potential to be beneficial to email marketing.

Last weekend, for the first time in a long time, I signed up to a website for the sole purpose of receiving their email newsletter.

I was after the Nordic Noir bulletin. They’re a company responsible for a subgenre of Scandinavian films and television that I love, but to get their newsletter I had to sign up first to Nordic Noir’s parent company, Arrow Films.

I decided I’d be happy to receive the entire updates of Arrow Films – even the programmes and films I don’t care about – because I’d put their emails in my Rollup. The reason this decision seemed important to me is because I would never have hunted out an email newsletter in the past, but having Unroll.me made it seem like a decision I will be far less likely to regret. Even if Arrow Films pester me with irrelevant messages I won’t feel bombarded.

It’s a train of thought that demonstrates why Unroll.me isn’t an enemy of promotional email marketing at all.

If you’ve been emailing a subscriber for months and they haven’t clicked unsubscribe yet then it’s likely when they sign up to an inbox-cleansing site they aren’t going to suddenly leave you. Indeed, my personal usage of the mass-unsubscription feature was by and large to remove my address from around 30 companies’ lists that I had no idea I was signed up to in the first place (and who certainly hadn’t emailed me lately).

Putting those mass-unsubscription fears aside, another bonus of Unroll.me is having just one place to browse every day for all my chosen promotional emails at once. This means I’m paying them a concentrated amount of my attention span because I’ve got some free time when I browse, rather than seeing an email, opening it, and then being distracted by work or making coffee or a hilarious new cat gif.

Users can even specify for the Rollup to arrive in the morning, the afternoon or the evening – whichever time is most convenient and will most likely mean they have the a couple of minutes to have an in-depth read.

Additionally, if a company produces content that is really meaningful, important or often filled with real-time offers – such as restaurant vouchers that have a limited time before expiration – I refrain from putting that business in my Rollup. That way I ensure that I receive the vouchers as soon as they’re sent rather than consolidated into Unroll.me’s daily digest, just in case I’m too late to take advantage.

However, here at e-shot it dawned on us that from an email marketing standpoint it was crucial to investigate whether viewing and clicking on an email contained in a Rollup had any effect on statistics. Using e-shot’s sophisticated heatmaps and analytics we tested this, and can say (with relief) that even when an email is being displayed by the Unroll.me website, interactions such as where a user clicks are accurately captured 100% as they would be if an email reached a subscriber’s inbox directly.

Having said that, one figure that will drastically change if a subscriber is using Unroll.me is the display rate. As the Rollup doesn’t arrive until a set time of day, which may be hours after your email was dispatched, the display rate is distorted by the time that the Rollup is received. Nevertheless, even if display times and rates are blurred slightly, click-through rates remain as accurate as ever.

The death bell is prematurely rung for email marketing virtually every time there’s a digital marketing innovation, like the emergence of social media and all the other “threats”. In the same way as previous developments, inbox-streamlining services don’t need to be perceived as another menace to email marketing. That’s the typical industry kneejerk reaction, but as always if your content is worthwhile then you won’t feel a thing.

In fact, more subscribers confining their promotional emails to a daily Rollup could result in a surprise windfall for companies. I know that when I browse my Rollup during my morning commute I spend far longer clicking and reading than I did when I received several emails intermittently during my day. As long as the content is worthwhile, interesting or valuable, it won’t matter what form it takes when it reaches my inbox.

Caffeinated Content: Boost Your Product with Extra Energy

Are you half way through the day trying to tackle the final half? Need an energy boost during an intense sporting contest / video games session? Or are you just waking up and getting ready for the busy day? There are many reasons that people pick up an energy drink; but the most prominent of energy drinks seems to be Red Bull. You might not feel too fondly about it as it may remind you of that horrific night out in which you had one jaeger bomb too many – but love it or hate it, irrespective of your personal palate, it’s one of the if not the most popular energy drink around!

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about how it tastes, although truth be told, I’m personally a huge fan. I’m not even here to talk about how it sells 5.2 billion cans a year. Or that a toothpaste salesman called Dietrich Mateschitz introduced the blue and silver energy can in the 1980’s. I’m here to talk about their content marketing.

As James O’Brien said to Mashable; popular social media news site, “Red Bull is a publishing empire that also happens to sell a beverage”. In fact, Red Bull’s content marketing is second to none – with no one even remotely close to them.  You will find them everywhere, from short 30 second TV ads to a feature film (more on that later). But the approach of their marketing team is embodied in all their campaigns. Campaigns, which evoke astonishing curiosity, you’ll find yourself asking, “what is this?” Then once you act on that curiosity by clicking to see more, it is more often than not followed by the viewer screaming: “THAT WAS INSANE!”

e-sports: All this to watch 2 people battling it out on a computer game

E-sports: All this to watch two people battling it out on a computer game!
Source: esfiworld.com

They also organise events that gets people involved as well as excited – such as hosting events for an array of extreme sport. Not to mention e-sport competitions that followers flock to. I’m especially fond of events that your average person/team can get involved in, such as the soap box race in which they allow people to get a chance to be featured in Red Bull’s ever-growing archive of astounding content!

The drinks company uses every form of media under the sun, but engaging content is the engine powering all their campaigns. In 2007 they started their very own media house and utilised that to catapult themselves above and beyond their competition. Undoubtedly, Red Bull’s media house has content marketing on point. But how do they do it? How do they capture our attention beyond simply the insane flips, tricks and almost humanly impossible BASE jumps?

Storytelling:

Telling a story with content is what attracts us to a brand as readers, viewers and listeners. And they do it so well with both the cinematic photography and the professionalism of their experimental athletes they capture on film. Many have tried but never as captivatingly as Red Bull.

wired.com

Time to make history!
Source: wired.com

Red Bull even made history – Remember that guy who broke the sound barrier with his face!? Now that’s a story to tell! Red Bull’s sponsoring and documenting of Felix Baumgartner’s BASE jump from a record high 39 Kilometres (24 miles) grabbing 9 million people streaming live on Youtube. This was truly unique.

In 2011 they released a documentary film that followed a group of extreme snowboarders, who put their talent to the test. The Art of Flight generated $2million and stayed at the top of the iTunes Chart for two weeks. After watching the film I was instantly hooked on snowboarding and even took it up! Having a chance to do something so crazy was made incredibly appealing to me, and I haven’t looked back. From this, I realised that they are not just selling an energy drink that costs £1.29 in my local corner shop, but a lifestyle.

Taking flight! Source: dakine-world.com

 

Content marketing is used to give your followers something valuable and equally as memorable that they can take away, whilst ramping up brand awareness. And what’s more valuable than a story to share with everyone you know? As far as brand awareness goes, to them it’s effortless and it has even become automatic. Their content simply screams “Red Bull”.

And there’s a core message at the heart of all of their content – it’s in every picture, video and article that Red Bull produces. An appropriate message that relates well with Felix’s record-breaking BASE jump and all of their death defying stunts and athletes; “Red Bull gives you wings!”

Red Bull provides that extra boost to fly above and beyond the competition even when that competition is yourself.

A picture speaks a 1000 words, so with over 5,000 videos and 50,000 pictures circling the internet, Red Bull tells a lot of boundary pushing stories we love to engage with. Sometimes they reach the top of Apple’s download charts, and once in a while they’ve even made history.

As a result, scrolling through Red Bull’s multitude of beautifully taken pictures and well-crafted videos on the Internet could very well keep you up all night. Which is ironic; for once their content might be the cause of insomnia – rather than just the caffeine in their drink.

Tip of the Month: The Importance of Good Manners; Saying Hello with Welcome Emails – December

Hello! Bonjour! Привет! Shalom! ¡Hola! Guten Tag! Bonjourno! 今日は! 

Why Welcome Emails?

When a user signs up to your site, makes a purchase online or opts-in to receive messages from your company via any other method, the best thing to do is to react quickly and send that individual a welcome email.

Why bother? Well, welcome emails generate four times more opens and five times more clicks than any other messages. Within the first week of subscription, these individuals will be at their highest level of brand awareness and engagement, as a result more likely to recognise that this is solicited contact.

 

ebay_welcome

Every company should seize this great opportunity and period of peak user interaction, by saying hello and thanking the subscriber. It’s nice to be important but it’s more than important to be nice – you’re building brand rapport here after all!

Tips:

  • Optimise your subject line. It’s an important first step to achieving a pleasing level of user interaction. It should plainly state why you’re emailing in order to maximise opens and conversions. Try including ‘Welcome’ in the subject line.
  • Also use the subject line to give them an additional compelling reason to open the email!
  • Ensure that new subscribers are sent the welcome email within a week – the longer after a user subscribes that they receive the email the less chance they’ll still be engaged and in the same mind-set to properly read the message. e-shot’s Performance Filters will assist you in achieving this (call the team for assistance on 020 3320 8750 or check out e-shot’s features).
  • Think about what you want to achieve. If you’re after a short-term business boost then combine your welcome message with an incentive. For example, if you’re an online shop, then offer discounts or promotions to drive subscribers to order.
  • Set your subscribers expectations. What you will be emailing to them and how frequently, so they don’t feel like they’ve been duped into receiving messages that are far too regular for their liking.
  • Collect additional data to improve the relevance of future emails. Utilise the Profile Management tool from within e-shot (again, please feel free to call our team for help here).
  • Request that your email address be whitelisted (validate that you are a safe sender) – if you provide simple instructions how to do this then all the better. The easier it is for a subscriber to label your email as safe, the more likely they are to bother doing so, and consequently the greater chance your emails will successfully avoid the spam folder in the future.

 

And last but not least, don’t say too much. Decide what you want your welcome email to achieve and get it dispatched. If you’ve been polite and friendly, explained how often your newsletters go out, collected data and explained how to mark your address as safe, don’t then overload the message by also including a gigantic demonstration of your full range of products.

Keep it simple, keep it light and keep it helpful – and you should find subsequent emails are amenably received… so long as you don’t suddenly start sending out four times as often as you promised!

Wish you were here

Let’s face it, if you didn’t have any responsibilities, restraints or worries, then anytime would be a great time to travel. But while making people forget their jobs and commitments to jet off around the world is perhaps a bit over-ambitious, it’s not that difficult to at least tempt consumers with amazing once-in-a-lifetime trips, weekend breaks, great value holidays or even make the natural wonders of the world seem easily accessible.

The key to enthralling customers to your site’s particular travel opportunities is through a wide variety of marketing. Certain big-name sites do this incredibly well, to the point that receiving their emails or reading their Tweets is a pleasure, even if travel is the furthest thing from my mind. This may sound unnecessary – if people aren’t looking to buy then why bother? But think about it as a long-term ploy. When they do finally decide it’s time to get out of the country, they’ll think of your site because of the positive impression your sensational content has left.

TripAdvisor is an industry-leader when it comes to exceptional marketing content, and they set a real example to other companies in their field.

A crucial aspect of their brilliantly attractive content is its ingenious variety. While it would be easy to produce post after post of gleaming blue swimming pools and utopian beaches – which they do show-off, of course – they also exhibit incredible city apartments, desert canyons, European canals, mountainside cottages, tropical jungles, ancient ruins and other glimpses of the world. This mixture of locations helps keep their content fresh and interesting, rather than endless pictures of sunshine and blue skies that would quickly lose their impact.

With accounts on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest amongst others, TripAdvisor provide a wide array of content and have a huge social media presence. As well as allowing them the potential to interact and respond to users directly, this builds their brand by making it visible to as many people as possible. The social interaction creates an especially strong rapport with their customers and prospects while keeping their links and image fresh in the minds of users – no matter what social media platform they’re browsing.
10 natural swimming poolsFor instance, in this email from TripAdvisor they list a snapshot of some of the best natural swimming pools from around the globe. A really important thing to note, before diving into the content of the email, is their tagline, “Celebrating 100 million reviews & opinions by travelers like you!”

By professing to be a site that concentrates on reviews and opinions TripAdvisor are positioned as a helpful, impartial, unbiased source of information – as well as clearly implying how important their users’ input is (“travellers like you”). This is ingenious for making sure their brand is thought of in a positive light, because they’re not focusing on selling!

But that doesn’t mean they’re not selling, only going about it cleverly and subtly. At the end of the email – after the amazing glimpses of natural pools and astounding unique hotels that drive traffic to their website – there’s a craftily placed section called “This week’s special offers”. You might think it was badly positioned and an afterthought as it comes right at the end, but by prioritising good content first TripAdvisor are still aiming to gain business from the email, only at the same time as making their brand look more concerned with entertaining. Nobody likes to have offers shoved down their throat.

Admittedly, TripAdvisor are a huge multi-national brand with a different website for over thirty different countries. Nevertheless, their strategy doesn’t work well just for them – it’s an approach a much smaller site or agency could learn from.

Don’t go for the hard sell; be informative, entertaining and interesting. Let’s face it, travel is a visually enticing product, but it’s not easy to relay effectively simply by posting a load of photographs, your marketing campaigns need to be carefully planned to entice user interaction.

And that’s where email marketing comes in. It’s an unbeatable tool to tie together your cross-media marketing strategies. Think of it as a way to capture the essence of your blog, website, Twitter feed etc. – into one digestible, presentable message. Rather than having messages lost amongst cluttered news feeds, busy timelines or having to hope for site visits, email marketing puts you in your subscribers’ inboxes for when they’re ready to pause their hectic lives for a moment to enjoy your content.

If the content is worthwhile, enjoyable and impressive – as travel has the ability to be – then soon enough your emails could become highly-valued and, crucially, remembered. For that moment when a subscriber is beginning to plan their trip or holiday, if your email is fondly thought of and at their fingertips then you have a great chance of being the provider they turn to.

Ironic Advert Blunders

buzz

In Britain Blockbuster announced recently that they were going into administration for a second time, while in the US they revealed this week they were to close their 300 remaining stores by January 2014. The news came as a bit of a surprise – I was unsure that they still existed in the UK since essentially vanishing from most of our high streets years ago.

Whatever the state of their business strategy in recent times, they’ve been feeling the sting of bad luck for a while now.

The attached screenshots from Brighton’s local newspaper, The Argus, are from 2008. So rather than acting as a final humiliating nail in Blockbuster’s coffin, they are more an example of the sort of online marketing blunder that that goes devastatingly viral. And during an innocent attempt to gain their site traffic no less.

buzz2

Reading about a tragic death which was caused by a bee in a lorry’s cab, the article was excruciatingly placed next to adverts featuring the lead character from Bee Movie, released on DVD at the time.

It’s a perfect example of when advert relevancy goes horribly wrong, and seems to be a fact exasperated by the internet’s tendency to choose ads to sit next to articles based on the presence of related keywords.

2_511379[1]

In the pictured piece on the Associated Content website (now known as Yahoo! Voices), there is informative text regarding anatidaephobia, or the fear of being watched by a duck. The phobia is fictional, and therefore the article might just be a joke, but in an odd and almost ridiculous coincidence the advert in the middle of the page features a duck staring out of the page. The company, Aflac Insurance, have a duck as their logo and mascot but it has precisely nothing to do with their product. But it does make for a hilarious screenshot, or a terrifyingly cruel image if you happen to genuinely suffer from anatidaephobia and are searching for help.

Aflac and Blockbuster’s gaffes may have been one offs, but the fast food behemoth McDonald’s seem extra susceptible to these errors. Possibly because of the sheer breadth and budget of their marketing, but also thanks to a combination of misfortune, bad planning and badly behaving internet keywords, they trip up time and time again as the two attached photos testify.

11_511379[1]

It’s hard to gauge why the advert for their “$1 any size drink” was placed next to an advert about soaring American obesity rates, as the wellbeing conscious article doesn’t seemingly feature any mention of burgers or fizzy drinks – unless that comes later in the article.

Nevertheless, the following McDonald’s billboard seems even more idiotic as it’s placed immediately below a childhood obesity warning. Almost seeming like the definition of irony, these clashes of fast food and health warnings are incredibly amusing.

One thing that’s undoubtable is that when your advert is horrifically placed on a physical, gigantic billboard, you can’t blame internet keywords for the error.

8_511379[2]

 

You think this is bad? Check out what was advertised to via an ipad game for kids.

Marketing Ideas for Estate Agents

Email marketing is the most effective form of marketing there is, with a staggering ROI of £22 for every £1 invested on average.

But the crucial lesson many companies quickly learn is that simply trying to sell sell sell won’t work, and this is especially true in a crowded and competitive market like the property industry.

Don’t just use email to hound subscribers with your latest properties or promotions. So much more can be gained by gradually building a positive brand identity with worthwhile and interesting content that people want to read.

When it comes to the time to increase the sales pressure then turn to e-shot’s segmentation functions to ensure only relevant customers receive messages about properties they might be interested in – and make this even more successful by asking your subscribers to complete preference forms that detail their areas of interest.

For example, advertise two bedroom flats in South London to house-hunters who have expressed an interest in that area and those residential specifications, so you have the highest chance of great results.

In the meantime, have a read of our tips for estate agents below. See what steps you can take all year round to make sure your emails and valued and meaningful to homeowners, house-hunters, landlords, families and more.

winter

Winter (November to March)

1. Winter Housekeeping Ideas

Have energy prices gone up again your area? (Of course they have.) Well, why not suggest cost-efficient energy saving solutions? For instance, how to better insulate a property or advice on what might be causing energy wastage. Being helpful and informative so that customers and prospects can save some money during the cold and wet British winter months, will surely help your chances of acquiring new clients because they’ll think of you more fondly than your competitors.

2. Decorating Tips for the Festive Season

Christmas time is a bonanza for email marketing. You can send advice on how to stylishly and easily adorn the outside of a house with lights, intriguing home-based gift ideas or safety tips for indoor decorating, as well as just wishing subscribers a merry Christmas!

For comprehensive yuletide marketing advice and strategies, check out e-shot’s full Christmas Marketing Guide PDF here.

spring

Spring (April to June)

1. Gardening Guide

Supply advice about preventing weeds, when different types of flowers and vegetables should be planted in the spring for optimum growth or examples of popular garden innovations and quirky designs. Even refer customers to highly rated gardeners or landscaping firms – so that they make the most of their property when they decide the time is right to move.

 

summer

Summer (July to September)

1. UK Holiday Plans

While you’re obviously an estate agency – not a travel firm – simply being helpful with summer plans can really improve your worth and value to subscribers. And if you happen to sell or lease a residence that might interest people hunting for a getaway, combine these tips with promoting that property for maximum results.

Many individuals, groups of friends, couples and families enjoy spending time in Britain at idyllic country cottages or seaside hotels during the summer. Present yourself as supportive by suggesting ways to learn the little details people need to know; travel plans, local attraction guides and cheap hotel offers.

2. Cheap Weekend Getaways

Alternatively to helping with full holiday plans, you can still get involved by supplying weekend getaway ideas. Advise about nice local spots, bargain hotels, family-friendly activities, or even cheap flights to a tropical destination.

 

autumn

Autumn (October to November)

1. Boost Boot Sales

If somebody is moving house then what better way to offload their unneeded clutter than by making a bit of cash at the same time?! Even though car-boot sales/garage sales (or whatever you want to call them), can happen throughout the year, the autumn is often the most popular and best time to hold them.

Your email can provide tips on how to make attractive signs to advertise the sale, how you should be pricing items, or how to organise one on behalf of a charity.

2. Halloween and Bonfire Night Safety

As October turns into November, Halloween and Bonfire Night are great occasions for families with children. However, there are always a number of welfare issues that you can remind people about in emails. Safety tips for attending or hosting firework displays and handling sparklers, where to go or not to go when kids are trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving pointers, recommending child-safe costumes that are extra visible at night and so much more.

Again, while this doesn’t directly deal with homes or estate agency, the friendly and caring attitude of your messages, the family-friendly feel, as well as the usefulness of the emails, will have a huge impact on how subscribers recognise and identify your company.

And in the long run, this could be invaluable and priceless loyalty-building groundwork.

Betfred Gambles a Grand on Engagement

Over the past couple of years I’ve signed up to nearly every online bookmaker the UK has to offer. Chiefly because of their extraordinary offers for first-time users such as “Free £50 bet, no deposit required!” or “we’ll match any bet, up to £100”.

Moving from bookie to bookie is undoubtedly the best technique for a consistently unsuccessful amateur gambler, but it clearly doesn’t build the brand loyalty the companies are after, as these special offers result in little or no activity on that site once the free bet has been used up. I take the money and run, so to speak. Or rather, I lose the money and run…

Well, a clever piece of promotional email marketing I received from Betfred showed a gaming firm’s attempts to solve this problem and win back consumers like me who haven’t returned in months once the money’s run dry. I didn’t even remember ever signing up to Betfred – so I must have been an inactive user for quite some time!

betfred

In a similar vein to our articles on Myspace and Channel 4, Betfred want to reawaken their “sleeping beauties”, but what’s impressive (although pretty typical of the gambling industry) is that they’re throwing money at the problem of inactive users. Hearing you might have £1,250 sitting in your account, just waiting to be claimed, is an extremely powerful incentive to log in and have a look.

The warning “you only have until 5pm today before we throw in £250 more and move the cash elsewhere” is a great example of using urgency to extend the allure of their competition. Forcing you to check ASAP or risk missing out gets their site increased traffic immediately, rather than in a few days when a subscriber decides to finally log in. And then it encourages you to repeatedly visit your account, to check £1500 hasn’t been deposited the day after, or £1750 the day after that etc.

Of course, getting users onto their site and logged in doesn’t achieve anything in itself. I saw my account balance was still at £0.00, felt mildly disappointed and changed webpage. But it certainly improves the chance of a subscriber becoming interested when something catches their eye – even if they might not have visited the site in half a year.

Yet while a big cash prize like this is an enticement suited to a bookmaker, for all sorts of companies there’s wisdom to be taken from Betfred’s approach.

Rather than dangling cash as an incentive you could give the lucky winner vouchers, huge discounts, exclusive downloadable content or any other sort of gift associated with your products. Just as long as it’s tantalising enough to shake those “sleeping beauties” from their slumber.

Finally, underneath their money-motivation in the email is a simple explanation of how subscribers can update their details. This is an integral part of keeping your contact lists fresh and up to date, to ensure addresses don’t become invalid and to keep bounce rates low and deliverability high. To learn how you e-shot can help you keep your contact lists thriving and your data clean why not visit our website?