You’re doing it wrong: Newsletter Marketing

A few weeks ago I meant to write an article titled "When daily deal marketing goes wrong." It would have been inspired by two newsletters I received in that week. The first from Incredible Connection who sent me a 'deal of the day' email at 16h03 (that's less than 8 hours to take advantage of the deal). The other was Dion Wired's newsletter promoting free delivery on online purchases for the week 15 - 22 February 2016, except their email was 2 days after the promotion had started.

Both Incredible and Dion, as traditional brick and mortar retailers, are rookies in the digital marketing space, and are doing it clearly in response to the threat of the success of online-only retailers, the likes of takealot and onedayonly. The trouble is because they are not doing it well, this exercise could potentially end up harming them instead.

I subscribe to two other newsletters in the form of Musica and Totalsport. I actually look forward to the Totalsport newsletters. What has been wonderful about these newsletters is they haven't been trying to moonlight the retailers as digital-only retailers with their newsletters. Their newsletters are filled instead with interesting facts about their product, promotions related to relevant/current events and trends and sometimes surprisingly welcome commentary. I've however accepted the weird layout of the sites as a reminder that they have real shops that you could walk in and buy stuff from. These newsletters server one great purpose in my opinion, they strengthen brand awareness and keep the retailers top of mind for their kind product.

Incredible and Dion have since normalized their newsletters and are now sending the in a timely fashion. Today however, it got weird again. Dion sends out a newsletter every Monday titled DionWired Blue Monday 1 Hot Price - One Day Only! About 30 minutes later, Incredible sends out an email titled No Blue Monday For You With These Daily Deals. Wikipedia tells me that this is a Contrast ad, a type of Negative Campaigning.

I'm just an IT guy and have limited marketing knowledge, but I don't think this will end well The wiki entry states: negative campaigning is greater image discrimination of the candidates and greater attitude polarization. The only opinion I have to offer is that this was done in bad taste and such an unnecessary move from Incredible Connection.

Here are 5 things I think could make for great promotional newsletters

  1. 1. Send them on time, while they are still relevant
    It doesn't help you or your customers to know about your promotions if it's too late to act on them. Most especially in the face of competition, who will reach your customers before you do.
  2. 2. Do not send a conflicting message to your brand
    Straightforward really, don't try emulate a different brand with your newsletter that is different from what your website (or physical store) says.
  3. 3. Offer 'value-added' commentary to your product
    No one knows a product more than the person selling it. A newsletter provides the opportunity to display this knowledge. Tell the audience what can be done with the product.
  4. 4. When doing promotions, make it exciting
    I didn't actually subscribe to all of them, but I around 5 daily deal newsletters a day. I quickly glance through them as part of my morning routine. I wait for the day I bring carry my credit card around just in case an actually great deal hits my inbox.
  5. 5. Do you!
    From this morning's Totalsport newsletter:
    "Your opponent, in the end, is never really the player on the other side of the net, or the swimmer in the next lane, or the team on the other side of the field, or even the bar you must high-jump. Your opponent is yourself, your negative internal voices, your level of determination." - Grace Lichtenstein.