Bermuda

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

I used to know Sheldon Hearst, whose business was putting racks of 5½˝ x 8˝ take-one brochures in supermarkets. A marketer had a fraction of a second to catch the shopper's eye with a headline. The most powerful, most successful headline that was used for years: WET BED?

Kim Zinda's five ways to use e-mail marketing are:

* Provide subscription visibility.
* Employ e-mail onboarding programs.
* Use promotional activities to acquire new e-mail names.
* Append e-mail names to an existing database.
* Fine-tune your data.

I have no quarrel with anything Zinda says in her 937-word piece and have provided a hyperlink below FYI. Zinda's dealing with the technical aspects of e-mail marketing.

But once the electronics are in place--the right audience and the ability to reach them--what do you say and how best to say it?

I just ran across a Forrester Research report from July 2008 that predicts the volume of e-mail marketing will hit a high point of 838 billion messages by 2013.

Yes, the cost of e-mail is low. But with this huge blitz of traffic, the message must be compelling and relevant--from the subject line in the inbox to the landing page and the follow-up.

Always remember that, at any point along the way, the effort is a mouse click away from oblivion--whereupon ROI is nonexistent and your time spent is wasted.

We signed up for a six-day cruise from New York to Nassau, Bahamas, over Labor Day. Normally we are not cruise people unless the itinerary is fascinating. But a good offer came from Norwegian Cruise Line, and my wife, Peggy, took it. We knew it would be hurricane season, but we figured if a storm hit, the ship would go somewhere else. We could take a train to New York and avoid the hassle of flying (for a change).

On Aug. 13 and 14 we received a phone call and e-mail announcing a revision in the itinerary:

Due to unscheduled maintenance on the ship's propulsion system, Norwegian Spirit will cancel the call to Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas and instead overnight in Nassau, Bahamas. Please be assured that our technical issue in no way impacts the safe operation of the vessel.

We were given the option of canceling the cruise with no penalty. Those who opted to remain would receive a $50-per-cabin credit for any expenditure on shipboard excluding service charges and casino. OK.

On Aug. 29, two days before we sailed, word came via phone and e-mail that Tropical Storm Hanna was headed for the Bahamas and we would be detoured to Bermuda. OK.

What does this have to do with PR, pricing and marketing?

Plenty.

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