In my last column, I talked about lagniappe: a little something extra; the 13th donut in a baker's dozen. Its function is to thank and reward opt-ins for handing over their precious email addresses and allowing you to market to them. It keeps your email welcome in the inbox and your readers opening to see what's next.
I asked for email marketers to talk about their lagniappe, and got these great examples:
We look for ways to [provide lagniappe] in every email we send to our radio station listeners. When we gather our listeners' emails to join our clubs, we always get their birth date. Several stations have worked with clients to provide a "birthday present" for the listeners. WSNY, in Columbus,Ohio, worked with the local ice cream parlor. On a member's birthday, they receive a Happy Birthday email from the radio station which includes a coupon for a free ice cream cone from Maggie Moos. At Star 102.5, in Des Moines, IA, the station sends a birthday greeting with a free lunch at a local restaurant. Clients indicate the redemption rates have not been significant, but it's very customized and personal and a warm-fuzzy for both the radio station and the client sponsor. We get many "thank you" emails from the listeners who are flattered we remembered their birthday.
For our humble bathroom cleaning product, we did a viral email campaign featuring a standup routine on the pain of cleaning, by a comedian featured on "Last Comic Standing." It had a link to the product Web site to view outtakes and get a discount coupon. It worked!
For our Web site Grand Opening, we let our email list know that we'd be sending emails every Wednesday until Labor Day with special offers, discounts and prizes. Our first email was to promote an auction to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. The highest bidder would receive 10K in furniture as well as design consultations from some HGTV celebrities. This was in conjunction with a local radio station, and we had a positive response. Our second email was a bit of a nail-biter, as this was the first test of how well our "weekly" emails would go. We were happy to see that our unsubscribes were not any higher than average, though our open and click rates were slightly lower. With this email, we gave away $100 gift cards by hiding them under the cushions at our stores. We had a fairly tepid response and were a bit discouraged. However, our third email was a scavenger hunt on our website asking customers to decipher the clues then go to our site and find the answers and win a free item of furniture. Well, the response was overwhelming -- so much so that all prizes were won within the first two hours.
Isn't it interesting that no matter what type of business you're in -- radio station, bathroom cleaner manufacturer or furniture store -- you can use email to reach, delight and build relationships with your customers. Thanks for the wonderful examples, and, to those of you not yet employing lagniappe in your email program...
The Email Diva