Wedding season is coming. Congratulation to all the blushing brides out there and a high five to the ladies who remain single and happy (read: sane). E-mail marketing has a funny way of taking the sweet sound of wedding bells chiming to a small population and turning it into nails on a chalk board for everyone else. Crate & Barrel recently send out an eblast with the subject line “Engaged? Attend our Wedding Parties events. RSVP at stores today”
I did an e-mail marketing *facepalm* because I am neither engaged nor in a serious relationship and asked, “Why did I receive this?” I hit twitter to see if I was alone in my disdain for inappropriate e-marketing.
Out of all the things I’ve learned about e-mail marketing during my time at Compete, I remember my boss/mentor, Drew telling me two things that sounded almost holy in nature:
“Thou shalt always insert alt text for images”
“Know thy audience”
This e-mail from Crate & Barrel could have easily been avoided or made more relevant by allowing customers to sign up for e-mails and edit their account based on life milestones. Or, include an image that links to crateandbarrel.com and allow people to create an account, edit fields based on life milestones (engagements, pregnancy, graduation, etc) and create segments for e-mail marketing. The result? More relevant e-mails and happier customers. For b2c e-mails, it’s important to understand your customer and capture small bits of information to send relevant e-mails. For example, you can capture a customer’s birthday and then send them an e-mail on their birthday with a free shipping coupon. Less effective? Random wedding registry e-mails to everyone on your e-marketing list. Send me free shipping deals, Mari Kimono exclusive bedding e-mails, Kitchenaid accessories, but please don’t send me bridal e-mails or I’ll get cold feet and unsubscribe.
I get why it happened. Wedding registry is a big initiative for Crate & Barrel. I looked up the term “wedding registry” to see what websites receive the most traffic from this keyword search. The results:
Crate & Barrel is in the top 10 websites that receive traffic from the search “wedding registry,” and they’re spending money on paid search to acquire customers for this term. Volume of referrals is low, so they’re trying to beef up their marketing strategy, but I’d say that they’re probably barking up the wrong tree for blanket e-blasts to their whole list.
When it comes to e-mail marketing, know your audience or know when to not say anything at all. Remember that time you asked your friend if she was pregnant and she wasn’t. Oops. Foot, meet mouth. Same goes for e-mail marketing. Unless you’re sure about my status, don’t ask. In the meantime, I’ll buy my own flatware and skip the husband.
As the Online Marketing Specialist at Compete, Karen Costa specializes in the day-to-day online marketing functions for Compete.com-paid search, email marketing, social media, affiliate, etc. Before Karen joined the Compete team she was an online marketing coordinator for Bliss Spa and then worked for a couple of start ups. Karen says, "I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up!" Find Karen on Twitter as vanillabean45 or connect with her on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencosta