Improve Relevancy with News and Event Tie-ins

Everyone’s list of email marketing success factors includes the idea of relevancy. “Make your emails more relevant” urge experts everywhere. Great, but…um…how?

The same experts point – rightly – to the exciting potential in automated messaging, segmentation tools and similar. But one tactic that is often overlooked is the simple event or news tie-in.

Relevancy is raised where you can draw a meaningful connection to what’s going on elsewhere in the subscriber’s world.

It’s the same concept we apply in December emails: when an innocuous product offer becomes more interesting when presented as a holiday gift suggestion and accompanied by seasonal imagery.

So you can build content, offers and copy around:

  • Other holidays (whether conventional, like Valentine’s Day, or unusual, like “Talk Like A Pirate” Day)
  • The weather
  • Major news and events (cultural, sporting and political)

These tie-ins can work at three different levels.

The first is to build a direct link between your content, product or service and the event in question. Think a sunscreen promotion in hot weather. Or a fashion sale featuring colors and styles made popular in a recent TV series or at a red-carpet event.

The second is where the connection is more indirect. Think finger food recipes prior to a big televised sporting event.

The third is to simply borrow a current theme for your copy or to spice up a subject line. During a presidential election, “Our customers voted for…10% off + FREE shipping” makes a nice alternative to your standard subject line text.

Email also lets you exploit unexpected or unpredictable events that open a short window of opportunity for a suitable tie-in campaign. Keep a pre-approved template handy, so you can simply slot in a few lines of text, an image, a headline and a link to get an event-related message out quickly.

Prepare alternatives in advance, when you know an event is coming but are not sure of the outcome. So a sports merchandise retailer might prepare two post-Super Bowl emails, each featuring merchandise for a different team. As soon as the winner is known, the “right” email is ready for use.

The flipside here is that current events can impact campaigns setup weeks or months ago. A “leave the cold behind” travel campaign can look a little lame if the country is enjoying unseasonal sunshine.

It pays to keep an eye on current events and modify text, headlines or images as and when needed. After all, nobody wants to read about an “earth-shattering sale” if hundreds are homeless after an earthquake!

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