Editor’s note: Dani is one of our Customer Success Managers and she is preparing to return from her maternity leave. Even while she was away, she kept a keen eye on which brands are using email marketing to its true potential, prompting her to write this article.
Close to the point of becoming a new mum, I was excited to find out how the email marketing machine would treat me. I wasn’t disappointed by the number of brands wanting to communicate and offering ‘valuable’ content that would help me tackle the challenges ahead. But in all honesty, what landed in my inbox was a mixed bag.
Here’s my feedback on what I think marketers are getting right and wrong.
Parenthood is a roller-coaster ride of new experiences with each stage from early pregnancy through to toddler tantrums throwing up new wants and challenges. Brands were quick to capture essential data such as due date and gender right from the off and tailor a journey providing information and product suggestions relevant to each milestone.
Pampers offers good, solid information via a weekly email, although I found the presentation a bit on the dull side.
Ella’s Kitchen does well with a series of fun, timely emails providing useful advice on baby weaning via easy-to-digest (sic!) video content. Top marks for the multi-channel experience as I really liked their direct mail piece with colourful laminated charts and stickers. Unfortunately, the app needs some work as lots of the recipe links didn’t work.
Get your facts straight and don’t preach
Many brands adopted a ‘teacherly’ style that I found rather patronising. Even worse, delivering up ‘factual’ information that is merely opinion or hearsay. The app I downloaded that told me my 3-month-old baby was ready to sleep an 8-hour stretch was never opened again!
Beware the cliché
If I get told to “savour those special moments” one more time, I might just explode! Especially when accompanied by stock imagery of nauseatingly perfect parents. Bear in mind I’m likely to be reading those emails with weary sleep-deprived eyes, wearing my baby-sick stained pyjamas… yes Lansinoh ‘Happy Tummy Club’ I’m talking to you. Take a tip from real mum bloggers such as The Unmumsy Mum and Hurrah for Gin and inject some humour and a bit of real life into your content.
Go beyond the obvious and continue to collect
With eager new parents unusually willing to share data in return for advice, it made me think that brands were missing a trick. Why not collect data that will give a more rounded picture of your new subscribers? None of the brands I subscribed to asked for feedback, used reader polls or progressive profiling. Finding out if parents are interested in eco-products or baby wearing, for example, would allow marketers to tailor future product content.
What comes next?
Especially with clearly-defined lifecycle stages, getting the timing and messaging wrong is unforgivable. The question is, does Seraphine still think I’m pregnant more than 12 months after signing up to their emails? If you suspect your products are no longer relevant, end the journey gracefully or have a plan for moving subscribers to another communication (with their agreement).
Life events such as pregnancy and birth, marriage and moving house all represent great marketing opportunities and a way for brands to connect meaningfully with their customers across digital channels. The above points are a reminder for marketers to tread carefully. Done right, brands can earn the role of trusted advisor and friend. Done wrongly, you can ruin a customer relationship for good.
See you back at work!