Target Corp. inadvertently drew an early line in the sand between good data use and data use that was too personal for customer comfort. In 2012, Charles Duhigg reported in The New York Times that Target addressed a mailer, which featured coupons for cribs and baby clothes, to a high school girl. When her father complained to the company, yelling that his daughter was not pregnant, the company apologized; when the father called back a few days later, he was contrite. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of,” the father said, according to Duhigg. “She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”
Ever since the dawn of time, entrepreneurs have been giving away stuff for free. From the “lite” versions of apps, to samples in the grocery story, or straight up assaulting you with perfume every time you walk past the makeup department. Entrepreneurs of all sorts will fall over themselves trying to give you their stuff for free, all in the hopes that you’ll want to come back for more.
We just started using MailChimp because it seems to be the only one that offers a free account for small or new users. The problem is that there are so many steps for a potential subscriber to go through with both double opt-in and recaptcha, that we are getting at best complaints to worst, plain nasty comments posted on our Facebook page. We don’t know how many would be subscribers we lost because of this.
Many email newsletter software vendors offer transactional email support, which gives companies the ability to include promotional messages within the body of transactional emails. There are also software vendors that offer specialized transactional email marketing services, which include providing targeted and personalized transactional email messages and running specific marketing campaigns (such as customer referral programs).
The best email marketing platforms depend on your budget and desired features. Here are some to consider. MailChimp is free for up to 2000 subscribers, so it’s a popular platform to start with. Alternatives to MailChimp include Constant Contact and Aweber. If you need to include other marketing tasks, try Hubspot or Infusionsoft, which many larger businesses use. Whichever you choose, you can easily hire someone to help you set up your email marketing account and create an email newsletter template.
Postcards can still be an effective medium if you use one of the oversized formats. One of our clients mails more than 2 million prospecting postcards a year and has had great success with an 11″ x 6″ size. This is just large enough to stand out from the rest of the mail and yet not so large that it incurrs additional postage. Obviously, good creative and a relevent message help tremendously, but from a pure format standpoint, this size has worked best for our clients.
Note: If you want to attach additional files, such as a .pdf, we recommend that you store these files on a cloud storage service, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, and linking to these files within your blast. We do not support file attachments to an email blast as these file types tend to be larger, increasing your chances of triggering spam filters and preventing your blast from reaching your recipients.