Tag Archives: Olympics

LOCOG deserves a gold medal for email marketing


Well the Olympics was pretty stunning, wasn’t it? I think it’s fair to say that London 2012 delivered and then some. Olympic fever gripped the nation and left us all clambering for information as Team GB soared up the medal table.

As the main Olympic broadcaster in the UK, the BBC certainly gets a fair dollop of credit for the 24/7 coverage it provided across the full spectrum of digital channels. But I think LOCOG – the organisation in charge of running the Games – needs to be commended. The London2012 official website did a great job of providing real-time updates and the mobile apps were another leap forward providing information whether you were attending events live or just catching up on the train.

But, for me (as you can imagine!), the way LOCOG used email was particularly interesting. And I was very, very impressed.

Every day, I woke up to find a ‘Today at the Games’ email waiting for me. Across the spectrum it really ticked the box, offering a one-stop shop with all the detail and information needed to plan every Olympic day. Not only this, but one of my friends who went to see the handball received an email on the way to the event advertising related handball souvenirs that could be purchased onsite or online – a great personalised upsell opportunity.

In particular, these areas really stood out:

  • Calls to action – there are powerful calls to action throughout this email. Whether it is viewing further information (like medal tables) on the website, downloading the mobile apps or topping up your Olympic merchandise in the official ecommerce store, these are all designed to encourage engagement.
  • Personalised – the email I received was clearly targeted to someone living in the UK, supporting TeamGB. In fact, right up there in the top right hand corner, you can see the postcode you registered with and the country you are supporting. There are also links to allow you to change these options. Fantastic! With an event like the Olympics, where there is so much going on, selecting the right content for each recipient is vital to success.
  • Mobile – these emails are great examples of responsive design. When viewed on an iPhone (see image) the two-column structure you see on a desktop email client automatically shrinks to a one-column version. This makes it easy to read and visually appealing, no matter what device you are viewing the email on.
  • Images – this email has a great balance of images and text. Images are used sparingly to ensure that the email size isn’t too large but, when they are used, it’s in a way that really brings the message to life and engages anyone that opens.
  • Content – there is a perfect mix of content in this email. It’s actually quite long, which isn’t a bad thing at all. More important is the fact that content is varied throughout the email. There’s a mixture of news, features and calls to action. There really is something for everyone here; you don’t need to be an Olympic obsessive to get value but the message perfect captures the excitement around the games.
  • Sharing – links to social media channels are clearly visible in this email and, with the large numbers of social media that ran throughout the two weeks, it’s no surprise to see LOCOG making the most of this. The ‘forward to a friend’ link is also prominent in this message.

This is a real value-add email. With so much information being shared about the Olympics over the last two weeks, making sense of all the noise was a real challenge. This email hits home by providing a succinct but detailed companion to what many think was the greatest sporting show this country has ever seen.

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?