» Hi %%FirstName%%…? Oops!

This post was written by Matt Byrd, WeddingWire’s Email Marketing Specialist. WeddingWire was recently recognized by the Email Institute as one of the best brands for email marketing, alongside companies such as Amazon, J.Crew and Starbucks. Matt also spoke at MarketingSherpa’s Email Summit 2013 in Las Vegas.

 

It happens to the best of us. You spend hours creating a beautiful email, segmenting your list, testing repeatedly to make sure everything looks solid…and then, as soon as you press Send, you realize there’s a mistake.

Don’t panic!

Mistakes happen. After you’ve been staring at the same email for hours, it’s easy to miss something, no matter how obvious it might be in retrospect. Upon realizing a mistake has been made, focus on remaining calm, considering any potential damage and, if needed, taking quick action.

Begin by assessing the severity of the error. Is it something small, like a misspelled word, or is it more serious, like an incorrect event date or information about a promotion? Small mistakes can be embarrassing, but are typically not worth sending a corrected version of the email. Your customers will understand that you’re human and forget about it.

Larger mistakes often require sending a correction, otherwise known as an Oops! email. Don’t be afraid to send an Oops! email, but only send one if it’s necessary. Clients will appreciate the fact that you are correcting your mistake, and providing them with the proper information.

If you do send an Oops! email, look for ways to turn your mistake into an opportunity to further your relationship with your clients.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Extend your discount an extra day to give people more time to take advantage of an offer;
  • Offer them a special promo code to use at a later time;
  • If appropriate, provide an email address or phone number they can use if they are confused or have questions.

Most importantly, make sure your Oops! email is sincere and authentic. Don’t over-hype or over-complicate your message. Explain that a mistake happened, apologize for it, and offer the correct information.

Many marketers have even found that a well-done Oops! email has outperformed standard promotions! Customers appreciate honesty and being treated like real people. As a result, owning up to your mistake will have better long-term benefits for your brand and business.

» Inside the Inbox: The #1 Rule of Email Marketing

This post was written by Matt Byrd, WeddingWire’s Email Marketing Specialist. WeddingWire was recently recognized by the Email Institute as one of the best brands for email marketing, alongside companies such as Amazon, J.Crew and Starbucks.
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The #1 rule of email marketing is… that there is no #1 rule! Many resources try to suggest that there are finite rules and guidelines for email marketing. Common ones include things like “Don’t use FREE in the subject line!” or “Don’t have subject lines longer than 50 characters.”

Take a quick glance through your own inbox, and you will realize that those “rules” are outdated. The word “FREE” might have sent your email to the spam folder two or three years ago, but that isn’t necessarily the case anymore. Many new, complex factors affect how your email marketing performs beyond black-and-white rules about content and subject lines.

And 50 characters? Check out this subject line from popular online retailer Rue La La…it’s 177 characters!

“Vera Bradley, Charles David, Sweet Pea, Earnest Sewn, For the Table: Eco-Friendly Wood & Bamboo, Hello, July: The Month of Heritage, Honora, & The Baby Gifts They’ll Go Gaga For”

You might also hear things like “Don’t send emails on the weekends!” or “Don’t send emails after 5pm!” Again, factors like this are completely dependent on your audience. What works for you might be completely different from what works for another Pro. The only way you can find out what the best days are for your clients is to test – and test often!

As an example, you segment your database into three equal parts, and send an identical email to each group on three different days but at the same time. It’s important that only one factor change – so make sure it’s the same email at the same time, just on a different day. Otherwise, one of the other changes might also affect the results of the test. You won’t know if it was just the send day that had an effect, or one of your other variables.

Repeat the test a couple of times to ensure that the results are consistent. On the flip side, you could send the same email on the same day, but at different times. Maybe your customers open emails more at 2pm instead of 10am. …There’s only one way to find out: get testing!

» Inside the Inbox: Bridal Show Email List Dos and Don’ts

This post was written by Matt Byrd, WeddingWire’s Email Marketing Specialist. WeddingWire was recently recognized by the Email Institute as one of the best brands for email marketing, alongside companies such as Amazon, J.Crew and Starbucks.
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One of the perks of exhibiting at bridal shows is that you get to collect email addresses from the potential clients you meet. To get the most out of your bridal show experience, focus on making email address collection as easy as possible, and then create effective messages to reach out to those bridal show clients.

Some email service providers make email collection on-the-go a snap. For example, MailChimp has a handy iPad app (Chimpadeedoo) that lets you easily collect addresses and sync them automatically to your MailChimp database. Some bridal shows make it even easier for you by supplying a list of registrants’ contact information at the conclusion of the event, so you don’t have to worry about collecting their emails at your booth.

Once the event is over, here are a few suggestions for maximizing on your new list of contacts:

  • Timeliness: Make sure you follow-up with potential clients quickly after the event. As time passes between the event and when you actually send your follow-up emails, attendees could potentially forget who you were and that they gave their email address to you.
  • Relationship: In your email, mention that you are contacting them because of the specific bridal show they attended. This establishes that you already have a relationship, which will lend credibility to your message and keep it from seeming like Spam. While it’s tempting to lump several bridal show lists together and send one email, you should create different messages that contain the different names of the bridal shows. Personalization will pay off!
  • Relevance: All of these new potential clients are not the same! They should get specific messages tailored to their event needs. When you meet a potential new client, in addition to their email address, collect some basic information about their event, such as the date or location, and then group them into buckets based on shared characteristics. You can send an email with a photo of a winter wedding to couples with winter wedding dates, or offer a “Spring Fever” discount to couples with April and May wedding dates.
  • Privacy: If you are using your regular email account to send your emails instead of an email service provider (like MailChimp or ConstantContact), make sure that you don’t just copy and paste the list of email addresses into the “To:” field. Aside from looking unprofessional, this violates the privacy of everyone you’re emailing. Use the “BCC:” field to hide all of your recipients’ addresses. (We definitely encourage you to switch to an email service provider, though, as it will offer you many great features and allow you to track your emails’ performance!)

Email is a strong tool to move potential clients to booked events! Get started with Matt’s tips today, and check back soon for more top email marketing strategies for your business.