The Olympics, piggybacking and how to make the most of it

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the Olympics are just around the corner. Despite the tight regulations around branding, marketers have been hard at work already sending their Olympic themed email campaigns.

Piggybacking off events like the Olympics not only gives marketers the opportunity to tap into some of the stardust surrounding the event, it’s also a chance to break away from the norm; increase sends and achieve an even greater ROI on your email marketing.

But despite this, I’m constantly amazed by the number of retailers that seem to quickly ignore all the well-held best practices that have served them well in the past when it comes to seasonal email marketing.

Email marketer and recipient = man chasing woman of his dreams

The relationship between an email marketer and recipients can be likened to that of a man and the woman of his dreams he’s trying to woo. No words are wasted, no contact is without motive and not a single landmark date goes by without a gesture to show he only has eyes for her.

In much the same way, a seasonal email campaign offers marketers the chance to woo new recipients and to make existing recipients fall in love with them all over again. It’s an opportunity to make a gesture that either keeps them coming back for more or catches their eye for the first time.

Don’t just send out anything

Careful analysis of your database cannot be underestimated. One of the biggest mistakes any email marketer could make would be to send out a campaign without careful analysis.

It could be argued that the Olympics are fairly universal but other seasonal events will be more suited for particular segments. For example, a database of mainly elderly women are very unlikely to respond favourably to a campaign relating to the commencement of the new Premier League season, that is until you meet my mother!

Consider how campaign fits in with you overall strategy

It is easy to loosely attach the ‘O’ word to any campaign or to throw a ‘gold medal’ into the subject line without strategically weaving the theme into other aspects of the message. A lot of marketers lazily jump on a bandwagon without a proper plan of how the campaign fits in with the overall marketing strategy.

These campaigns will come across as desperate and, even if they don’t end up in the junk folder, they will end up as the email equivalent of that gift you got for Christmas ten years ago but never really used.

It’s another chance to send more emails

As mentioned earlier, seasonal campaigns are an opportunity to send more emails and reach more inboxes. There is a common belief in email marketing that the more you send, the more money you make. There is also research that suggests many businesses are missing out on opportunities and leaving money on the table by not sending enough targeted email campaigns in sufficient volume.

Events like the Olympics offer you another opportunity to score brownie points with recipients. It’s also an opportunity to win hearts and minds with your latest offering.

Don’t forget those who are not involved

In the midst of it all, it is important to remember those who might not be interested in the season or event your campaign is focused on. Use the information you gathered at the initial sign-up stage to segment your database and approach them with the appropriate campaigns. With something like the Olympics, it might be difficult to make that distinction based on sign-up information but with other seasonal sending, those distinctions will be easier to make.

Once you have sent a seasonal email, review your results and use this to inform future events.

What do you have planned for the Olympics?

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Tink Taylor

About Tink Taylor

Managing Director of dotMailer & Group Business Development Director dotDigital Group; Tink is one of the founding directors of the dotDigital Group PLC, formally Ellipsis Media Ltd, which was established in 1999 as a full-service digital marketing agency. With offices based in south London, central London and Manchester they drive site traffic and sales through strategy and design, providing smart, easy to use but sophisticated digital marketing products along with professional services.

Covering areas such as Search Engine Optimisation (www.dotSeo.co.uk), creative graphical design, strategy and implementation through dotAgency, email marketing through dotMailer, content management through dotEditor, and ecommerce solutions via dotCommerce, the dotDigital Group PLC is uniquely placed to provide the full circle digital marketing mix.

Tink is Managing Director of dotMailer, launched in 2000, designed to offer the features of a high-end email marketing system but with an intuitive easy to use front end. Tink has extensive experience in introducing the concepts of digital marketing to companies new to the field, as well as in servicing major brands such as the BBC, Shell, HP and Rank. Previously he had worked on the roll-out of global corporate CMS based intranets at IBM, giving him over thirteen years experience in interactive digital communications.

Tink speaks regularly in industry for not only the dotDigital Group, but also at events and tradeshows for the Direct Marketing Association and the Internet Advertising Bureau. His seminars are always well attended and received.

Tink joined the DMA’s Email Marketing Council in 2006 whilst working in the Deliverability Hub which produced the white page ‘How we Got Here and What Marketer’s Should do About It’. Tink also provided the Benchmarking Hub with an on-line survey application (formBuilder) enabling them to carry out their quarterly and annual benchmarking reports. Tink introduced Hotmail to the DMA’s Email Marketing Council as both parties look to form much closer relations with opportunities such as providing Key Note speakers at major events. Tink was instrumental in helping Hotmail bring the UK ESP community together at the deliverability seminar held at Microsoft.

Tink was re-elected to the council to serve another 3 years in March 2010 and remains Chairman of the DMA’s Partnership hub which promotes Email Marketing’s Best Practise where he has a remit of creating links with other industry bodies in the USA, UK and Europe.

Tink also sits on the IAB’s E-communications Council. As a result the IAB announced that it endorsed the DMA’s Best Practice Guidelines. In doing so the IAB and DMA formed a coalition which aims to raise industry standards and stimulate the positive development of email as an effective and respected marketing channel.

The IAB’s endorsement marks an important step towards establishing a consistent industry approach to email marketing standards and having Tink as a member of both councils was instrumental in bringing the two bodies together. 

Working with both the IAB and DMA Tink is one of the co-founders of the landmark joint event named Ready Steady Email, which is a hands-on email workshop designed to help delegates to understand and apply best practise.

Tink is available to speak at events, please contact him or dotMailer if you would like to invite him to your event.