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E-Mail: Short Term Revenue or Long Term Customers

E-mail marketing is not a one-dimensional strategy that you can copy and paste across different brands. Yes, there are benchmarks that you can be mindful of, but no two brands are the same and individual customers should be treated as just that, individuals.

As marketers, we are always told to build our databases. This pile-high way of thinking personally for me is evidence of a poorly thought out strategy, it is an idea that more numbers = more revenue. It is basically ‘opt-in spam’. The more people I get, the more people I can dangle ‘buy now’ e-mails at, and hopefully, some of them will bite.

Not every e-mail should have the strategy ‘Buy Now’. Here are a couple of examples where the hard sell should not be at the forefront of your mind.

Thanks for signing up, now how much you guna spend! – WELCOME E-MAIL

This is your chance to introduce your brand. Never assume everyone knows you, and never miss an opportunity to deliver your brand values. The automated welcome e-mail from a website sign-up is not enough. You should be getting across your core brand values in a series of informative emails before you even try to sell to a customer. I’d be worried if you can deliver everything that is good about your brand in a single e-mail.

Come, get drunk and try not to touch the clothes – EVENTS

This should be an obvious one, but don’t lose focus of the main message; to drive customers to this event. When they’re at the event, then you can encourage the sale. You should also be sending this e-mail to a segmented database of nearby residents or workers of the store.

We used to sell just trainers, now we sell washing machines – PRODUCT LAUNCH

These types of e-mails are about customer exploration. Highlight headline messages about the launch, then encourage customers to visit the product specific landing page. People won’t necessarily be beating your door down, so guide them towards a page that can do a better job at selling the product. Just reworking a press release is plain lazy!

Get ready for V-Day with our new range of toasters – KEY DATES

If there is one thing that makes me cringe more than anything in this industry, it is the Valentine’s Day gift guide. A ton of products all red and sold to us with the hope that we will all go out and purchase red pants for the ones we love.

What I’m getting at, is don’t shoehorn a key date into your marketing calendar just for the sake of it. Every man and his dog will be sending out Valentine’s Day e-mails, so unless your products are relevant then there is no need to try and sell them as such. I honestly don’t know any man that buys anything aside from chocolates, cards and/or flowers for their other half.


The aforementioned e-mails aren’t the only ones you should be refraining from the hard sale with. In general, look at the objective of individual e-mails and whether they offer any value to the receiver. Shouting buy my products because….well…..just because, is not looking at a long-term strategy.

In my humble opinion, too many brands in the retail space fear a dip in key metrics so drive a hard sale to try and maintain them. The fear of a short-term drop means they don’t implement strategies that will retain their customers long-term. Remove the blinkers and look at how one channel influences another. A dip in one could see a rise in another.

Customers don’t shop, and engage brands through singular channels so start seeing your brand from their perspective.

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