From the Trenches - Am I a Rebel or Just Stupid?
Author's Note: The following isn't a sales pitch, so it's safe to keep reading. A few weeks ago, I got this crazy idea to help Zinio promote one of our newer features called INSIDE. INSIDE enables readers to look inside any digital magazine Zinio carries and read it, along with two additional articles, for free.
This was my idea: To promote the feature, I’d select compelling photo layouts and articles from newly published magazines and send an article of the day to Zinio subscribers. This way, I could compel them to click on the images and try out the feature. That’s it. No hard-hitting sales pitch, no copy — just an article of the day. To see an example of our e-mail of the day, you can click here.
To see if the idea resonated with readers, I decided to send the e-mail to a segment of my opt-in list on a daily basis. When I first hit send, I felt excited, like I was a rebel who was being adventurous. Then I thought, “I am committed to sending one e-mail per day to people every day for one month. They opted in to Zinio, but not to an e-mail a day. What the heck? Is everyone on my list going to opt out? Am I a rebel, or am I stupid?”
Turns out, I wasn’t so stupid. And, those scary statements about frequency caps and annoying readers really do go by the wayside if you offer content that’s interesting, compelling and of value to your readers.
A month into it, these e-mails are still driving both trial and revenue. Many people still ask how they can receive these e-mails, and many companies ask how they can buy ad space in them or sponsor them. And best of all, they are being shared virally by groups of people who are fans of the content sent that day.
So what does this all mean for you? Well, I’m not advocating that after you read this you throw e-mail marketing caution to the wind, go crazy and spam your readers. But, I am advocating trying something new with your list — in moderation — every once in a while. Something adventurous, something crazy, something that sounds like a really valuable and great idea.
Jeanniey Mullen is the chief marketing officer for New York-based digital publisher Zinio and its sister company, VIVmag, an exclusively digital luxury lifestyle magazine for women. She's also the executive director of the Email Experience Council, an e-mail marketing trade organization. Reach Jeanniey at email@example.com.