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When Does Existing Customer Marketing Become Spam?

November 30, 2009

Can I have a choice, please!  Just because I bought something from you, or inquired about your product or service, doesn’t mean I want to get an email a day from you about your special offers.  Would I like to see a list of specials for the week? From some vendors, sure. How about for the month? From others, that would be fine. But daily? 2x a day?  That is a bit much.

One of my colleagues in the marketing world recently wrote about overdoing it with prospect nurturing… That’s problematic because you don’t have a transactional relationship with those you are nurturing.  In this post, I am talking about cross selling/promotions to existing customers – you can overdo it, so don’t.  Target your promotions to the right cross sections of your customers.  And do it infrequently.  Use a marketing calendar - map out who you are communicating with, what you are saying and how often.

If I buy fluorescent light bulbs from you, I might be a good candidate for other energy saving products.  A 10% off coupon for anything you sell does nothing for me - I have to do the work to see if I want to use it - but 10% a new type of energy efficient fixture might.  Please help your customers buy relevant items – don’t shower them with promos in the hope they’ll buy something.  And if you don’t know what is relevant to them, find a way to learn from your customers – make the communication two-way.

And when you create promotions, don’t overwhelm their inbox.  In the last week alone I have unsubscribed to 7 or 8 different vendor’s list because they were emailing me too frequently.   Look at your email lists and the unsubscribe rates.  Are they going up rapidly?  Are you emailing too much (usually of the wrong thing)?  Just because email is “free” doesn’t mean you should use it carelessly – a customer unsubscribed is still a customer that is likely lost.

Email is a great way – sometimes the best way – to stay in contact with your existing customers, but too often is too much.  Engage in a conversation using other methods as well – blogs, newsletters, user groups are a few examples – and have a more enriching, rewarding experience.

---> Update 12/1/09  I had to add that Omaha Steaks is doing this right!  I just went to unsubscribe from their promotional emails and was taken to a page where I could request to be updated once a week, once a month, only at Christmas or for holiday specials.  Nice job, guys!

How to Build a Remarkable Business by Focusing On the Total Customer Experience

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Written by leadingresults

Leading Results helps businesses stop wasting money on marketing and improves their business development results by putting POWER in their marketing. The POWER is the Processes, Organizational Support, Why (you do what you do), Expertise and Refer-ability. You get strategy, tactics and execution. We work with both individual businesses and businesses as part of a larger ecosystem. Be more profitable.

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