Use Bounce Back Offers to Get Repeat and New Business

Thank you for your order. Please take 15% off your next purchase.

Levenger Sketch Book

A major form of revenue for businesses is the bounce back offer. Many companies today are using this strategy to build stronger repeat business with customers who have recently purchased. For example, the other week I purchases a holiday gift for a loved one (don’t tell) from Levenger and in the box was a printed sheet offering me 15% off on my next purchase.

I wasn’t insulted by the offer and felt quite good about receiving the great item I had purchased as well as a valuable offer for my next purchase. And believe me – there is plenty more I’d like to purchase.

I’m sure this is the case with your current customers as well.

Let’s take a deeper look at the impact a bounce back offer can have for your business… [private_member]

Loyalty

In today’s economy, customers are looking for businesses that offer value and quality. This includes quality products and services at competitive prices. Customers are also willing to pay a little more for a higher quality product or service if they know the product will have lasting quality as well as purchase services they know will having lasting impact on their personal enjoyment or advancement.

In short – customers are looking to be loyal to quality businesses they can trust to provide value to their lives.

A way businesses can offer value is by showing their appreciation for each customer’s loyalty. In return, a strong bounce back offer is essential to show your customers that you want their businesses again. It shows that you’re not just after one sale. It shows that you are willing to offer value for their next buying decision.

There are many ways to offer value with a bounce back offer and it doesn’t always need to be an offer (although many consumers are looking for this today). A couple ideas that come to me off the top of my head for, say, a waterfowl outfitter include:

Sending a follow-up email (or print mail package) to clients with pictures, thank you letter, sticker, and an offer to hunt again next season (with up to five friends) for 20% off this year’s rate

Since most hunting seasons take place in the fall, send a follow-up email or print mail packages to your customers from this season giving them a discount on next year’s hunt as well as an offer to allow them to give a hunting package as a gift

Send an exclusive, preferred customer, email to your clients from this past season (and other seasons) for an exclusive, first chance offer on a new hunting package you have in store for next season (customers love when they get first dibs on something special)

Send an email to this season’s hunters thanking them for their business and offer them 20% off next season’s hunt if they purchase before the end of the year

Build loyalty and long-term relationships with your customers this season by sending them something valuable as a bounce back offer when you thank them for their purchase with you this season.

New Products and Services

In one of the examples above, I mentioned that you can market your new products and services in bounce back offers to your existing clients.

If you have done some research for new products and services your business can provide, one of the logical places to begin marketing that new item is to your existing clients. By sending them a valuable bounce back offer that introduces your new product or service, you’re likely getting your new item in front of them when they’re at their peak excitement of their original purchase. Chances are high that they’ll be satisfied with their original purchase that they’ll feel good about purchasing more from your trusted company.

For example, think of getting a new tree stand in the mail from Cabela’s and being so happy with finally being able to touch the product that you almost miss the offer in the package for 10% off your next order for new tree stand attachments and accessories. You think, “I love this tree stand. Do I want to buy the hand rail attachment so I can steady my aim when that trophy buck walks by? Yes I do!”

Are you offering new products and services in the future? Think of using bounce back offers to introduce these items to your existing customers at a time when they are likely to feel emotionally connected to your trusted company.

Partnerships

Bounce back offers can also work for companies willing to work together to market their products to each other’s customers.

Lots of companies offer package insert programs so other retailers can insert printed offers into the outgoing packages. Some companies have taken this strategy to the Web with transactional emails they send to their customers.

Are you an outfitter looking for a way to expand your reach next season?

Try testing a few email ads on the transactional emails or a printed item in another company’s outgoing packages.

You could try asking a gun shop for an opportunity to exchange bounce back offers to each other’s customers. You could offer a 10% discount to their customers who purchase new shotguns or hunting rifles.

“With your order of your new Remington 870 Shotgun, take advantage of 10% off guided, guaranteed waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin”

There are lots of ways to take advantage of bounce back partnerships.

Conclusion

Bounce back offers have been around for a long time because it’s a strategy that works for businesses.

Think about ways you can offer value to your existing customers at a time they feel emotionally connected to your business – as they’re receiving your product or service or just after they have received the product or service.

Can you think of any other ways you could take advantage of bounce back offers?

Please share your ideas in the comments below.

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image credit: BitchBuzz

Successful Email Campaigns

A remarkable, consistent email campaign can prove valuable for your customers and increase your site’s traffic and visitor involvement

Mailboxes

image credit OWENthatsmyname

A regular email campaign is one of the best ways to connect with your customers while also driving traffic to your site as well as driving sales of your products and services.

I’ve been paying attention to a few email campaigns in the hunting industry over the past few months and a few have stuck out as being very impactful with their design, content, and innovation.

I thought it would be beneficial to look at four of these successful campaigns and look at reasons why these particular email campaigns are successful…

My Outdoor TV

MOTV Full Email

My Outdoor TV Email

MOTV Snapshot Email

My Outdoor TV Email Snapshot

Website: MyOutdoorTV.com

Email Campaign: MOTV Minute

Example Email: Scent Free, From Head to Toe

I get at least one email from My Outdoor TV every week. They also have their daily updates that include only one link to an area on their site like Analyze the Hunt.

I enjoy receiving these emails because the content is always compelling to me as a hunter. In this example, Scent Free, From Head to Toe, there is a full article on the importance of scent control when hunting whitetail deer. The article specifically discusses rubber boots from La Crosse.

The email does a great job of showing users that if they click on certain areas of the email they will not only be taken to a page with the article content, but to a page that contains a video relating to headline topic. It’s very important to show the viewers of your email campaigns exactly what they can expect when they click on certain buttons, links, and other areas of your email. My Outdoor TV does a great job of showing a small video player preview in each of their emails.

The layout and design of the MOTV Minute emails are pleasing to the eye. There is lots of great white space. That makes it easy to read the text of the main article. The ads that are included at the right side of the image are not intrusive and they flow well with the overall design of the email. The header is easily recognizable as it has the My Outdoor TV logo with a similar background to the actual site. There are great buttons for viewers to click if they choose: “Email to a Friend”, “Web Version”, “Watch Now”, and buttons to My Outdoor TV’s other social media campaigns on Facebook My Outdoor TV and Twitter My Outdoor TV.

My Outdoor TV might try to include the tabs at the top of their Website so viewers of the emails aren’t limited to simply clicking on the buttons included in the email image. Even if the emails are full of great content, not all viewers will be interested in all of the specific stories. Including the normal tabs from the Website would give these readers more options for clicking through to the site – options they are comfortable with already.

My Outdoor TV could also include a More Videos on Whitetails section at the bottom of the email image.

My Outdoor TV does a great job with their email campaigns. It’s one I look forward to each week because of its great design and wonderful content. My Outdoor TV is a great example that you can use as inspiration for base your next email campaign.

Deer & Deer Hunting

Deer & Deer Hunting Email

Website: DeerAndDeerHunting.com

Email Campaign: Deer & Deer Hunting Newsletter

Example Email: Explore New Hunting Lands

Deer & Deer Hunting sends out their email newsletter at least once a week and sometimes multiple times each week. I like their email as well because they include so many options to click on including options from various areas on their Website.

Sections of their email include:

– New Discussions in the Forum

– New Videos

– Outfitter Highlights

– Contests

– Expert Articles (Snapshots only)

– New Photos

– Equipment Highlights

– Polls

D&DH also highlights some of the books from their immense library. It’s a great way to highlight some of your products in a way that makes sense and is relevant to your email viewers.

The D&DH emails are clean and simple in design. The design definitely focuses on the content, but the design is far from boring. The email images are clean and with all the white space, it’s clear where to click if you want to head to the site and view content.

You can definitely tell that D&DH are seasoned pros in the magazine businesses because they always have eye-catching headlines that grab attention and make you want to click through to read the full articles on the site. This is important for email campaigns because you’re ultimately trying to increase traffic on your site as well as drive customers to specific sections on your site so you can sell your relevant products and services.

D&DH does include tabs at the top of their email header, but they could even include the tabs from their site as I mentioned before with My Outdoor TV. Viewers of the email may not find what they’re looking for in the email (although there is so much great stuff in the D&DH email) and they may just want to click through to Deer & Deer Hunting Features section right away.

Deer & Deer Hunting has been one of the best hunting magazines for a long time and their success with magazines has spilled over into their email marketing efforts. They use their quality content and connect with their audience in ways that are engaging and encourage action through their email images.

Use Deer & Deer Hunting as a guide for your own email marketing efforts.

Field & Stream

Field and Stream Email

Website: FieldandStream.com

Email Campaign: Field & Stream Newsletter

Example Email: 34 Gear-Winning Reader Tips PLUS Amazing Carp Shooting Action Photos

Field & Stream truly has an email campaign that I love receiving each week. F&S send out content-filled emails that capture attention and get viewers to click through to the Website.

What I find myself clicking on most each week when the email arrives is the great photos. F&S put together great photo galleries and they don’t a great job each week of promoting them in their emails. The subject line usually has something related to the featured photo gallery – Exclusive Photos of New World Record Brown Trout. It’s very appealing to open an email with this subject line (when the email sender is recognizable like F&S).

F&S, like Deer & Deer Hunting, definitely use the skills from their magazine marketing with their emails. They have great headlines to capture attention and entice opens and clicks. They also have remarkable content in their articles and descriptions, which are where all email campaigns should start.

I also love F&S highlights their readers. They have sections on their site and in their email like Winning Reader Tips and Featured Read Trail Cam Photos as well as other featured reader photographs. Highlighted the greatest of readers or clients is a great way to get them vested in the success of your business and any campaign you try like an email campaign. If your subscribers see an email with their photo they’re going to be thrilled and likely share it with anybody they can.

F&S also finds unique ways to put in advertisements in their emails that aren’t obtrusive and flow well with the rest of the clean layout. The ads fit well, but they are noticeable so any interested reader can easily click through the ad to see if they want to become a buyer of the advertiser.

Overall, Field & Stream is a great example of a successful email campaign. They give their readers something to look forward to each week as they always have great content (especially the photos). The headlines are always intriguing and I usually click through to read the full articles after checking out the latest photos in the gallery.

I would say that once on the site the photo gallery isn’t the best. It’s hard to use and you can only comment on the entire gallery instead of individual photos. It’s still a great service provided by F&S and I’m glad they allow their readers to show their interesting outdoor photos.

I’m also glad that Field & Stream highlights their readers. It’s great for their readers and it makes for great content.

Look at Field and Stream when creating or improving your own email campaign. They lead by example in the outdoor industry.

Update: I received this email from Field & Stream today. This email (view the email online – Fall Essentials from Field and Stream Clothing) is not for their magazine site, but for their apparel store. I like how they included the header in the email image. Check out the story behind this brand reinvention. It’s very interesting:

Field & Stream Brand Launches Clothing Line that brings Everyday Casual and Weekend Play Together

Field & Stream Brand

Bowhunting.com

Bowhunting.com Email

Website: Bowhunting.com

Email Campaign: Bowhunting.com Email

Example Email: Early Season Scent Control from Bowhunting.com

I don’t receive too many emails from the great folks at Bowhunting.com, but I’ve been impressed with their email images that I have received.

Todd Graf and his staff of expert hunters, writers, photographers, and videographers have been in the online hunting business a long time. I was excited when they started Bowhunting.com because I’m a huge bow hunter myself and I knew these guys would put out the best site on the subject.

Bowhunting.com uses a basic approach with their email campaigns, but their content and products are top notch so their emails still resonate with viewers.

Right away in Early Season Scent Control they’re giving a solid discount ($5 off $50 order), which is a great incentive for viewers of the site to sign up for the email list. If there are email exclusive offers there is a great chance of getting people to sign up as a subscriber.

Bowhunting.com’s emails have segments for useful products, how-to videos and links to lots of the latest blogs that have been written by their expert staff. There are lots for subscribers to click on as they go from their inbox to the site. They also have great photography for their product images, headers, and in their blog posts. People love visuals and Bowhunitng.com does a great job of using visuals in their marketing efforts including email.

I also forgot to mention earlier that the subject line Early Season Scent Control is a wonderful example of how a company can use timely events to be more relevant to their clients and subscribers. Bowhunting.com knows their readers are in the early stage of the hunting season so their providing content and products for their readers that fit the time of the bow hunting season. It’s simple and it makes sense.

I am looking forward to lots of great things from Bowhunting.com. They have a great staff of marketers and writers. I look forward to their next email.

Summary

These four companies all have remarkable email campaigns that use great content with great email image design to capture the attention of hunters through the email channel.

Some of the recurring themes that stand out in these campaigns include:

– Photos

– Great headlines and subject lines

– Sections with highlights and features

– Highlighting subscribers

– Simple yet effective design

– Similar look to the site

– Timely content topics

All of these campaigns are unique yet they all provide remarkable content and value for subscribers.

There is a lot of potential for you and your company to take advantage of email. When it comes to marketing the power to sell products comes through gaining trust of your list of customers. By setting up your email campaign and learning how to build your list with email subscribers, you’ll be on your way to creating a great audience that you can work to create trust with so they will become long-term customers.

Best of luck with your email campaigns and feel free to share any experiences you have had with email marketing.

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The secret to success is in your list

Let Me Tell You a Secret

image credit: Photo Mojo

There was a question in the forum about Email Campaign Results and Kevin of Hunting Life brought up a great point – “the hard part [of a successful campaign] is building a quality list of subscribers”.

Coming from the catalog world, I realize that the power of any successful company is their ability to build a strong list of quality customers. The power to build a list of customers who have opted into your products and services with their purchases or approval for you to contact them can make a business successful for a long time.

Building a strong subscriber base for your hunting company begins with the quality of your products and services. In order for Web users to subscribe to your email campaigns you’re going to have to gain their trust. You’re going to have to show them that you will provide valuable content within emails, whether it’s access to new information and products, exclusive promotional offers, or unique articles that relate to your business.

There are things you can do on and off your own Website that will gain the trust of your visitors and get them to sign up for your email campaign.

Let’s take a look…

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On Your Own Website

In order to build a strong subscriber base of valuable subscribers you’ll need to convert the people visiting your site. Those visitors who are coming to your site likely heard about your business via offline referral, searching a keyword phrase related to what your business does, or they followed a link from another Website (online referral of sorts).

These visitors are highly valuable as they’ve already shown an interest in what your business provides and they’ve taken the first step by visiting your site. It’s important to convert these visitors to subscribers so you can market your products and services to them via your email campaigns.

Let’s take a look at a few specific things you can do on your Website to convert visitors…

Put your sign-up in multiple places

Depending on how your Website is setup, there are many places you should be putting your email sign-up.

Here are just a few:

1| Header, right side or left side of your home page

I have seen email sign-up areas in multiple places on the home page and I’m sure all work depending on how sites test the conversion of getting subscribers. I like having the email sign-up near the top right of the home page, but I am in favor of trying it out in various places to see what works best. And what works best can change over time as well. I’ve seen it work on the left side very effectively as well. So continue testing.

For an example of the power of testing your email sign-up here is a speech by Tim Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Workweek on how he tests various things to convert first-time visitors to long-time subscribers.

How to Build a Successful Blog [Random Findings 8:00]

2| Main pages (other than the Home page) on your site

Most Websites today have at least a few pages other than the home page such as a products/services page, a photo gallery, a blog, a contact page, possible a store, maybe product reviews, and other areas hunting businesses feel are important enough to highlight in the top navigation menu on the site.

You can take advantage of these pages by using their specific content to show a benefit to subscribe to your email campaigns. One of my favorite email campaigns is Field and Stream because they always include great headlines for awesome photos in their gallery. Field and Stream has an awesome gallery of hunting photos and they always use these photos in their emails.

You can do the same for your hunting business with your own photo gallery and you can put the call to action email campaign subscription sign-up in your photo gallery and near each photo by saying something like:

“To get updates on the latest photos in this gallery subscribe today”.

This is a powerful benefit for your visitors who are looking for amazing hunting photos. If you can show that there is a specific benefit, people will sign up because they see the value in subscribing to your email campaigns. And the best part is these people are likely to be satisfied when you actually send them updates with your email campaign that includes photos. And once that trust is there you can promote your other services and because you have the trust of the subscriber, they are likely to convert over to buyers.

Use specific calls to action on each of your site’s pages as ways to share the benefits on your site with your visitors on a deeper level via email subscription. If you have a forum, tell your users that if they subscribe you’ll share with them the hottest topics in the forum each day. If you have a page that offers your various outfitting packages, tell your visitors that if they subscribe to your email campaigns they’ll receive updates on the latest hunts you offer as well as limited time discount offers or something along those lines.

There is a lot of opportunity with specific calls to action for getting people to subscribe to your emails on your pages.

3| Blog posts

If you have a blog for your hunting business (and I suggest you do) and you have done some keyword research and you’re targeting topics that will likely attract the attention of potential customers via search, you will get some new visitors to your blog posts and your goal is to convert these people to subscribers.

One way to do this is to include a call to action at the end of your blog posts. New readers who read an entire post on your blog are likely interested in hearing more from you. After all, they made it through an entire post. This is not an easy thing for writers as Web users tend to have little patience.

Since some readers make it through an entire post, why not offer them the chance to subscribe to your email campaigns by including a benefit call to action like this:

“For the latest blog posts subscribe via email”

Don’t let your quality visitors get away without getting them to subscribe to your email campaigns.

Testing Calls to Action

As Tim Ferriss mentioned in his speech, testing is very important for getting strong conversion on your site. And this is not only true for getting new visitors to subscribe to your email campaigns, it’s important for getting new and long-time subscribers to convert as paying customers as well.

Try changing your language with your calls to action.

If the current language at the end of your blog post isn’t working:

“Sign up for blog posts via email”

Try changing it up to something new:

“Get the latest blog posts and other benefits with our email updates”

There are lots of things to test with calls to action and it takes testing to find what’s best for your specific business.

Communicate the Benefits

Earlier I touched on the importance of communicating the specific benefits readers will get from each of your site’s pages if they subscribe to your email updates (ex: photo gallery).

Here is an example of how one company, Conversion Rate Experts, shares the benefits of their email campaign with their visitors in order to convert them to subscribers.

Lots of companies do a great job of communicating the specific benefits visitors will receive if they subscribe to an email campaign.

Make sure you share the benefits of your email program with your readers and visitors and get them to convert to subscribers.

Then you’ll be able to deliver on your promises (providing them what they actually signed up for) as well as providing relevant product and service offerings.

Visit Other Websites

You’re going to get some traffic to your Website if you’re doing things like paid advertising, sharing links with other hunting Websites, paying for listing in directories, listing your business in free directories, etc, but in order to grow your own audience you’re going to have to spend some time off your site looking for other Websites that share your target audience.

There is a lot of opportunity to grow you’re the audience on your site and the size of your email list by spending time off your own Website.

Let’s take a look at a few…

Guest Posts

One of the things I enjoy doing is writing guest posts on other blogs. Here are a few examples:

Bow Hunting and Pumpkin Pie – A tragedy

How to Start and Outdoor Conservation Charity

How to Keep up with the ‘Big Boys and Girls’ on Twitter

Guest posting is a great way to introduce you and your business to someone else’s audience. And it doesn’t only benefit you it benefits the blog you’re guest posting on because you’re providing the blog owner with quality content for their site as well as providing quality content for their readers to view and discuss.

Look for other blogs and Websites that share a similar audience to the one you’re targeting for your hunting business and offer to do a guest post. Site owners and bloggers usually welcome content providers with open arms.

Here is a great how-to on guest posting from Problogger:

How to Guest Post to Promote Your Blog

Interviews

Another thing you can do to get the attention of someone else’s audience and convert them to email subscribers is to participate in interviews.

Make yourself available to be interviewed on the topics you’re the expert in – what your business provides.

Ask other site owners if they would be willing to interview you via email, phone, or video for use on their site as a way to share your expertise with their audience.

Also ask other site owners with large audiences that you would like to target if you could interview them and then allow the interviewee to share the interview on their site with their audience.

By exposing you and your business to other audiences, you’re expanding the reach of your marketing message and showing your potential customers the benefits of your business.

These are just a couple of ways you can participate off your own Website that will bring traffic to your site in ways that will likely convert people to your email list with proper calls to action. You can also do things like participate in forums, blog commenting, etc.

The possibilities are endless and only know the limit of your own creative thinking.

Always Leave a Call to Action

Now, with all of this offsite activity it’s important to remember to include calls to action so the other audiences know what they’re supposed to do now that they’re aware you and your business exist.

Make sure when you participate in discussions on other sites that you provide ways for new readers, listeners, and viewers of how they can contact you and subscribe to updates from you.

When doing guest posts, leave your Website and email subscription link so people can quickly sign-up.

When doing interviews do the same or if it’s video/audio, tell the users the address of your site and where to look for your email sign up and what they can expect when they subscribe.

The work you do off your site can go to waste without quality calls to action.

Make sure you’re converting your new audience to subscribers so you can share your quality products and services with them via your next email campaign.

Maintaining the Trust

Once you get new subscribers on your email list it’s important to deliver on the promises that you mentioned that got them to subscribe.

With email, it’s easy for people to unsubscribe to your campaigns or worse, put your emails in their spam filter.

Make sure that your emails include the content you promised like the specific benefits you may mention like:

“Subscribe for email updates that include the latest additions to the photo gallery”

Make sure everything in your emails is beneficial and valuable for your readers.

Bonus – Break Rules!

I am a fan of breaking so-called ‘rules’ or standards on the Web.

Just because I may think that the top right is the best place for your email sign-up on your home page doesn’t mean that it’s the absolute best place to put yours. Try new things that nobody else has tried. Sometimes the best way to get the attention of visitors is to catch them off guard with things that are non-standard.

I like putting the email subscription call to action at the end of my blog posts, but maybe for you it works best at the beginning.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and set your own rules with your Website. See how your visitors respond and adapt to what they’re telling you with their actions.

The beautiful thing about the Web is that it allows you to adapt quickly to the needs of your audience.

Summary

Converting visitors to email subscribers on your site is important for building long-term relationships that lead to strong sales conversions for your business on the Web.

Try a few things on your own Website like:

1| Putting your email sign-up in multiple spots

2| Testing calls to action

3| Communicating specific benefits

You’re likely to see an increase in the number of visitors you convert to subscribers on your site.

Also do some participation off your site to extend your marketing reach to other audiences.

Try things like:

1| Guest posting

2| Interviews

3| Blog commenting

Make sure to always leave strong calls to action so that your new listening audience has a way to subscribe to your email campaigns.

As your email list grows, make sure you’re following through on your promises by providing valuable content in your emails. Make sure that everything in your emails is valuable for those receiving them. It’s easy for people to unsubscribe or to put your business in the spam filter so make sure you give them a reason to open the email and click through to your Website and ultimately purchase your products and services.

The strength of your business on the Web directly relates to the quality of your subscriber base. Grow your email list with quality subscribers and you’ll see stronger sales conversions for your business.

[/private_member]

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7 Email Marketing Observations

How Long Copy Email Can Help Your Hunting Business

How to Use Current Events and Email to Trigger Your Customer’s Buying Emotion

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7 Email Marketing Observations

Over the past few years as I’ve worked on the Web doing various marketing-related things I’ve had some observations regarding email marketing.

Observing Life on the Porch

image credit: altemark

I subscribe to quite a few email programs. These programs include e-commerce sites, news sites, blogs, company newsletters, and more.

The various types of email I receive are amazing. What excites me the most is the constant improvement in the quality of the emails I get each day/week/month. I like the freeness of the Web.

Since there is no longer a free offline market in the US, the Web is the last place on Earth (for now) where individuals are truly free to conduct business in its purest form.

Web and email users are the benefactors of the immense competition on the Web for attention. Email users have the choice of the email programs they wish to subscribe to. Unsubscribing is only a click or two away. This is how the free market should work.

As a result, businesses are forced to continuously find better ways to connect with their customer. And this is how it should be. .

Whether you are new to email marketing or if you have been doing it awhile, there are a few exciting things going on you should be aware of to improve the quality of communication you send your customers.

The following are just a few observations I’ve had recently about the current landscape of email marketing and my suggestions on how you may improve your hunting business email marketing.

1) Testing – Instant Feedback

One of the great things about email is the ability to “Do it wrong quickly” and get results relatively fast. You can test subject lines, images, images vs. text, newsletters vs. product features, and so much more.

Email provides the opportunity for you to test so many things and continue honing your unique email strategy. With print, there is (relatively) a significant lag between the time you get excited about the testing you’re doing and the time the results actually come in.

With email, the results come in relatively fast and you can adapt your email program accordingly depending on the results.

The ultimate benefactor is the customer of course. You’re working to improve the way you communicate with them.

My observation is that email testing will accelerate in the future and it’s important to continue testing your email marketing even if you’re having success. Don’t stop bringing new ideas to the table even if they seem crazy.

If there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that just when you think you have your customer figured out they’ll throw you a curve ball and you’ll have to start all over again.

It’s this aspect of email and Web marketing that makes me excited to be a part of it.

2) Non-Openers, Non-Clickers, Non-Buyers, Buyers

In the direct mail world, marketers did a wonderful job on segmenting their customers into groups depending on their buying tendencies. The typical segments were frequency of purchase, most recent purchase, and monetary value of the most recent purchase.

Today, there are segmenting models that work to get the direct contact strategy down to a near individual level. It’s a great innovation and it’s an innovation that is seen online more so than offline.

Thankfully there is no USPS on the Web so companies are free to do all they can to please their customer (rather than pleasing arbitrary regulation/monopoly).

On the Web, segmenting is important, but it’s important to remember that your ultimate goal should be to get down to a one-on-one individual segment with each and every one of your customers.

Your customers are individuals. Each of them is different. Sure you can segment them based on a few factors, but you’ll never be able to truly connect with your customers unless you treat them as individuals.

This is my observation of where email is going – focus on individual needs.

3) Long Copy Emails for E-Commerce

I’ve been a fan of newsletter or long copy emails for a long time. It may be my personal verbosity, but either way I am fond of email programs that take the time to connect.

I think long copy is a unique way to connect with your customers. Sure, you can connect with your customers by creating great, short, creative emails, but lots of companies are trying this strategy.

My observation is that as companies work to connect with and gain the trust of individuals, long copy will become more prevalent.

This is my feeling based on a few things I’ve tried. I often get verbose with these blog posts and when you put thought and passion into your copy (and as long as the copy is valuable for your readers) you will form a connection with your audience.

4) Recipient Participation/Validation

Along the same line as connecting with your customers on an individual level, including your customers with participation is crucial to improving your email marketing.

Ask your customers to participate in the selection of a new product. Ask them to participate in a poll where the results are valuable to them.

Ask your customers to participate in new programs before you make the program available to the general public.

Give your customers valuable participation and they will respond in a way that benefits themselves and your business.

5) Emotions

One of the biggest things I’ve noticed with email is the emotion factor.

People react to their emotions.

Lots of people make purchasing decisions based on emotion.

When you create your emails, try to focus on the emotions of people. Focus on their worldview. What events are affecting your customers? What types of news stories affect the lives of your customers?

For example, if there is a hunting related news article that makes your customers angry then post a blog post or write a newsletter about the situation that will benefit your customers.

6) Value

As with anything you provide your customer, value is extremely important with email marketing.

It is one thing to try and trick your customer into buying the particular items you want to sell on them.

On the Web, customers respond much better to products and services that are focused on making their lives better as they see it.

If you continuously work to provide value to your customers you will succeed in not only email, but in all aspects of business.

7) Good Designers and Writers

One of the great things about having a great designer and writer on your email team is their ability to create unique email content that will generate sales and connection with your customer.

You can work on ways to change the subject line to get non-openers to open, non-clickers to click, etc.

Try to get each of your customers on an individual level with you so you can serve them as best you can. This is how companies make it big – they connect with their customers.

Your designers are truly important to the work that goes into any email strategy you put together. People are visual and when an image makes sense to them it can convince them to trust you and purchase from your company. If you earn their trust (you don’t break promises) they will continue buying from you.

Summary

The Web is about making connections and email is no different.

Marketers have to get rid of the idea of segmenting and get used to dealing with individuals.

Sure, it takes a lot more time, but it all benefits the customers and that is how the free market works.

As you’re working to connect with your customer, also work to create something (product or service) that will be scarce and fulfills a need…it’s not as easy as it looks.

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How Long Copy Email Can Help Your Hunting Business

Emailing is a crucial part of hunting business success. The trick is figuring out what your current customers are going to respond to and how to get new subscribers for your email list.

Reading at Breakfast

image credit: John Althouse Cohen

Email is another way to form a deeper connection with your customers. You can share information about your company and information about your company’s product or service.

One thing I like to do to keep up with what’s going on in the world of emails is to subscribe to emails from various industries.

Mostly the emails I get just highlight a couple of products. There might be a promotion…actually there have been a lot of promotions lately (these always cause a rise in response, but you can’t always give away the farm).

However, lately one company’s emails have been standing out:

Levenger Email

Levenger

At Levenger, we create useful and beautiful products that help people achieve their goals and fulfill their aspirations. You’ll find us in the post, on the Web and in store.

We’d like to tell you more about our company-who we are today, and how we evolved from a few good reading lights to an emporium of products designed for reading, writing and working with ideas.

I’d like to review a recent Levenger email and show how you can use their techniques for your hunting business.

Here is the original Levenger email: Steve’s Pick – 3-by-5 Things You Should Know About Index Cards

I’ll start out by saying that Steve does an awesome job of taking a seemingly boring topic and turning it into an intriguing email – that’s where passion plays a huge role.

Update: Here is Steve’s blog Well-Read Life and related post Dancing with Darwin: The vanishing index card is a useful species still

Blog Style

What initially stuck out about this email is the fact that it’s long-copy or written in a blog/letter format. It isn’t the typical product highlight that most companies send out – a few words and images of products.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with the typical product email from companies, but the great thing about the Web is that the competition is so great that everybody has to do something special and unique to stand out from all the noise.

This email from Levenger definitely stood out in my inbox.

I like the fact that it was in long-copy format vs. short copy.

One thing I’ve learned from writing this blog (as a result of my own long-winded and detailed approach) is that people seem to like long-copy formats.

If you can grab the attention of your customers with a unique topic and then provide then in-depth details, they will respond and form a more meaningful connection with your company and products or services.

Think about how you can write about the details of your company’s products or services. I think you’d be surprised at how people will respond to the details you may think are boring.

Effective Linking

Now, if you’re going to try a few long-copy emails for your company, it’s crucial that you effectively link to relevant pages on your Website.

Effective linking leads your customers to more information, which will lead them further along the buying process.

If you read my posts on this blog you know I try to effectively link to relevant information both on and off the blog. My goal is to provide you with more value than I can provide in a post. It’s up to me to make my content compelling enough to encourage you to click on the links. It’s also my job to make sure those links are relevant so you aren’t wasting your time by clicking on them.

The same concept is at work in the Levenger email. Steve effectively links to products on his Website. He links anytime he uses the full name of a certain product. He isn’t pushing the products on the reader; he is offering an opt-in for the readers.

It’s up to him to craft his copy so his customers will want to click the links and learn about the products and ultimately purchase.

Steve is really great with persuasive copy in his emails. He shows why his products are beneficial for his customers and he provides so many details and examples of satisfied customers. And he does it in a way that is unique to what his competitors are doing.

You can do the same for your hunting company. Are your competitors sending weekly newsletters, emails, etc. to their clients? Are you?

Are they sending out detailed, long-copy emails with links back to products?

I would love to see an outfitter send out regular updates on the outfitting industry. You could cover how hunting news, politics, and the economy are affecting your customers and your business. You could link to relevant articles, your own blog, and your own services (reduced pricing on a unique hunt maybe?).

There are lots of topics to cover about the hunting industry and how it affects you and your customer and long-copy emails are a great way to take advantage of the opportunity.

Remember Testing

While this long-copy email stood out to me, it’s important to remember that it may or may not work for you and your hunting business.

I encourage you to try some things with email. It’s a great way to stay connected with your customers and to provide information to potential customers. Create a regular email plan for your subscribers and create an effective (yet moral) way to gain new subscribers.

Always keep testing new ways to further your connection with your customers and increase sales. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it once you find a formula that works for you.

Test subject lines, long-copy vs. short copy, etc. There are lots of things to test for emails and the great thing is you get instant feedback on what works. This allows you to adapt your strategy and improve your customer’s experience.

Summary

What stood out about the Levenger email was the fact that it was different and it had the customer in mind. Steve really tries to improve his connection with his customers. He wants his company to be a source of information, value, and beneficial products.

Relative, unique, and effective emails are a great way to not only reach your existing customer base, but if your long-copy emails are effective, your customers will forward them to their friends.

Email is a strong communication tool for your hunting business. Keep testing new ways to reach your customer and you might be surprised at the positive results.

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What triggers our buying emotion?

Roll of Cash

image credit: Refracted MomentsTM

About a year ago I purchased a book from the publishing company & Store (Mises.org/store). I realize I could have purchased from Amazon, but I wanted to support this site’s store because I respect the information they provide. Most of their books are provided for free in .pdf form.

Anyway, after making the purchase I was put on their email list.

When I started receiving their promotional emails, which came out about every week, I realized I was almost always inclined to make a purchase. Normally I would not purchase, but occasionally I was driven by the contents of the email and I would purchase more books.

It took me awhile to realize what was going on with these emails.

A Little Background

I work in direct marketing and subscribe to many email lists. I attempt to create emails that will sell shoes. Thus, I subscribe to competitors as well as other retailers, big and small, to get ideas on ways to trigger the customer’s buying emotions.

Promotions like percent off and free shipping are strong offers, but it seems to be a fine line to tread with promotional offers like that. At what point are you training your customers to expect?

So it’s always a challenge to find ways to listen to what the customer is telling you they want.

What are they passionate about?

What do they want to buy?

Do they know what they want to buy?

There is a lot of testing involved concerning subject lines, image content, number of links, and time of day the email is sent, etc. There are thousands of things to test with emails.

Plus the Web is constantly changing and so are Web buyers so you have to continually test in order to stay in tune with your customer.

Back to Mises.org/Store

So I started getting emails from The Ludwig von Mises Institute and they kept blowing me away.

I finally realized after a few weeks what was going on.

The folks at Mises were sending out emails concurrently with present economic events.

The past few years have weighed heavily on a lot of folks’ minds concerning the state of the US economy. There is a lot of unrest and concern. People are looking for answers to ease their insecurity.

Mises was using people’s passion for economic understanding, financial security, and a need for knowledge by sending out emails containing literature that addressed specific current events.

Here’s an example of such one email:

Sender: Mises

Subject Line: Meltdown

Meltdown Available at Mises Institute Store

“Why the heck is this happening to us?”

That’s a strong question that tugs at the emotions of just about all of us these days.

Here I am passionate about creating my own financial well-being while the American economy collapses around me and I’m looking for answers on what to do.

Without even knowing the book, Meltdown: A free market look at why the stock market collapsed, the economy tanked, and Government bailouts will make things work existed, my question had a possible answer.

This is a truly brilliant marketing and use of email to spur the buying impulse in customers.

Current Event Emails and Hunting

Now, the Mises used strong occurrences in the US economy to trigger their emails. Even though this philosophy worked well for Mises during downturns in the economy, I think it would work just as well in a strong economy. Emotions are emotions and people live in the present.

People are affected by current events.

The same marketing philosophy can be applied to those businesses in the hunting industry.

Passionate hunters are in the hunting frame of mind even during the off season. They’re looking for news regarding their passion or hunting.

As an example, most hunters remember when CWD really came into the public eye a few years ago in the Midwest. There was a lot of worry and I’m sure the outfitters and guides in Wisconsin suffered.

Now, most deer in Wisconsin were not affected by the disease, but potential customers were still skeptical with their money.

Would it have been smart for an outfitter with a blog and an email list to send out an email citing the CWD occurrences and offering a deal on trophy whitetail hunts?

“Come to Joe’s Ranch for you chance to harvest the trophy of a lifetime. We know CWD is a concern for hunters today so we’re willing to step up and pay for all of your expenses if you happen to shoot buck affected by the disease. The only thing you have to lose is your chance at a lifetime buck.”

Now, I’m sure you can come up with something much better for your hunting business.

The main point is that using current events to drive your email promotions is a strong way to market to your customers and trigger their buying emotions.

So what are some of your ideas regarding current events, email and your hunting business?

Closing Thought

As I learn more about direct marketing and effective business on the Web, I realize the importance of building a strong subscriber list (email, RSS, etc). It’s really true, once you listen to your customer and create a truly valuable product/service; the power to market is in your list.

So get to work building that client and subscriber list.

And that reminds me…

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