Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Reminder Emails About Reminders

Tracking a lead’s activity is easy using Marketing Automation. And while tracking inactivity is just as easy, it can be even easier to annoy those that don’t respond by reminding them to respond. And then reminding them to respond to your reminder. And finally reminding them there is still time to respond to your last 3 reminders. Yikes, you see where this is going.

  • You send out an email with a special offer.
  • After 3 days you send the same email with a different Subject Line to those who didn’t respond.
  • 5 days later you send a “Still Time” to those who still haven’t responded.
  • 7 days later you send a “Last Chance” email to those who haven’t yet responded.

At best, you are training your by now catatonic leads to actually ignore the first few emails, knowing they will be receiving reminders as a deadline approaches. Once they are trained to ignore certain emails however, it won’t be long before the rest of your emails start to get ignored.

At worst, you are probably annoying leads that aren’t responding for a reason. Maybe it’s the wrong product or wrong person or wrong time.

Now if you work for a large enterprise, with multiple BUs, imagine what would happen if your leads get bombarded with multiple reminder emails from multiple campaign from multiple business units. How would you feel if you received 6 reminder emails, all related to different offers, from the same company, on the same day! It happened to me. I unsubscribed.

  • If you only send one email campaign every quarter, then reminder emails are completely appropriate. But if you’re like many clients and send campaigns weekly or even monthly, use Reminder Emails strategically.
  • Don’t include them as routine steps in your campaign template, otherwise you will definitely train your leads to ignore the originals over time. Use reminder emails where they really matter. The big stuff.
  • Make sure someone controls the overall volume and timing of emails from all sources within your company. Gating the flow of emails can get complicated with hierarchy rules, but at its simplest, It’s easy to create a little program that checks to see whether someone has received any marketing email within the last X days and if so, the campaign only sends the current email when the answer is no. This mandates a small break between the consistent onslaught (er, I mean flow) of emails.
  • Finally, get proactive about motivating people to update their preferences. This should cut down on having to rely on reminders in the first place. It’s a hard sell to get someone to actually go to the trouble of updating their preferences, but if you make it worth their while, everyone wins. Knowing which content a lead has chosen as relevant is worth double its weight in gold, so make sure the reward for divulging this vital info is of equal value. A new car perhaps? jk.

BTW: Sending an email reminding people to respond to reminder emails requesting they update their preferences usually doesn’t work :)

Steve Kellogg
Eloqua Certified Marketing Automation Best Practices Consultant, Astadia

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