How to Stay out of the Trashcan or the Lessons Learned from a Parking Lot
Marketers of CE products should count themselves lucky. We have it easy; we’re selling fun stuff – toys that help people enjoy great music and entertaining movies and TV programming. But just imagine if you had to market one of the least sexy commodities on the planet – a parking lot. Whew boy, how can I make that interesting enough to get people to open my marketing emails?
You should take some lessons from Fast Park, a chain of 16 airport parking lots, including two at my home airport. This email showed up in my inbox; take a long look and let’s review all the lessons to be learned from it: see the email.
They had my email address. They got it by luring me into their frequent parker program to earn free parking. You can follow the example by entering all email signups into a drawing for something of value (a remastered record, or a gift certificate to HD Tracks, or something in your product catalog that is worth a couple of hundred bucks or so). If you have a product registration function on your site (you really should, you know), always ask for an opt-in to your mailing list. Make it a business-wide focus to get the email addresses of as many end-users, dealers, reps and salespeople as you possibly can.
A well-chosen subject line. I was a Nanosecond away from clicking delete when I saw the subject line “Travel Like a Pro.” I’ve been a frequent traveler for over 35 years but I’m always looking for ways to make it less painful and exhausting. They had me hooked. Good campaign manager software allows you to test subject lines with a sample of your list to find the one with the highest open rate and then automatically use the best one for the rest of the list. If your campaign manager service doesn’t have that feature, contact us. If you don’t know what a campaign manager service is, read this.
Relevant content that was about me, not them. I wouldn’t have gotten past the first bit of the email body if they started with blather about how great their parking service is or that they had a promotion going on. Instead I saw links to articles that could be of real use to me (the center of the universe). In fact, I did pick up some useful information from a couple of them. Start your emails with content that your customers would find interesting – like how to get better performance out of the gear they own now, or a review of a great sounding recording, and then move on to your propaganda later.
They encouraged participation. Note the invitation for sharing road warrior stories on Facebook and Twitter. They’re amplifying their content and outreach through social media – good idea.
They mixed in their propaganda. After softening me up with the useful content, I scrolled down and read they had had a new location in Indy, and that they run customer appreciation promotions and that they really, really love me. Awwww.
Lesson Six (the most important one) – They sent it.
Even if the email weren’t as well executed as it was, the very fact it was sent at all would have had value just by putting their brand name in front of my eyeballs for a fleeting moment. Your customers are being bombarded with your competitors' marketing messages through a variety of media. When your customers or dealers need the kind of stuff you sell, your brand name needs to be the first to pop into their brains. It will be only if you work tirelessly to stay top of mind through active outreach marketing.
What Fast Park Could Have Done Better
I have nitpicks with a couple of their choices. First they packed all their travel tips into one email. I would have saved at least two of the travel tips for later emails. I may be less likely to open next email I get, based on my assumption that there is little else they can tell me that would hold my interest. But I may be underestimating the Fast Park marketing team. They could follow up with more travel articles like the wine tourism article lower down the page. The subject line will be the key.
Second, they don’t seem to have a regular publishing schedule. I get their emails infrequently. While I appreciate not being badgered with too-often emails, once a month would better serve the goal of staying top of mind.
Third, they don't have a Linkedin profile. Frequent parkers tend to be business people and professionals; Linkedin would be a better place to connect with that audience than Facebook and Twitter.
Last Lesson – I’m doing “it” to you right now.
You were lured into reading this far because you saw content that looked like it could be useful to you. Now that I have your attention, let me remind you that CE Marketing Pros offers a service to help you with all or some of your email and other customer outreach marketing. If you are not doing this kind of marketing with regularity, swallow your pride and ask for our help. If you just need help with interesting content, we recently opened CE Wire – a place for marketers to license articles written by the CE industry’s best writers. Click here and sign up as a member (there is no obligation to buy) to read entire articles and sample the wares. It’s good stuff.
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About CE-Marketing Pros
We’re a full service marketing/advertising agency specializing in helping consumer electronics brands and retailers compete more effectively. Former marketing executives with two of the most successful CE brands, Al Ballard and Paul DiComo help brands STAND OUT in a crowded and confusing CE marketplace.
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