December 3, 2014

How Often Should You Email Special Offers


(Or How to Create Negative Relationships and Annoy Your Customers)

It took me less than 2 weeks to unsubscribe from Puritan’s Pride’s mailing list.

In two days they had already annoyed me, but they kept at it until I took action and clicked “unsubscribe.”

The same day I placed my first order I received a newsletter from them containing the timely article The “Well Wish” Holiday Gift List: 7 Helpers and the Gifts They’ll Appreciate.

Puritan's Priode 10% Off Coupon
The next day I was excited to receive a message whose subject was “Your first coupon has arrived!” and then disappointed to see that I had received a coupon for 10% off which was valid for one week only. I had just ordered the day before yesterday!

Four days later, they emailed me again. I was already disappointed. Now I was getting annoyed. The message came with the subject “There’s so many reasons to shop with Puritan’s Pride” and tried to convince me of something I had already done, make a purchase from them. I was starting to regret having signed up for their special offers.

And now, for whatever reason unknown to me, came the full court press. Maybe it was just bad timing (It was Black Friday after all):

    Nov 27 – 7 days after my original order: “EXCLUSIVE ACCESS – Black Friday Preview for our BEST Customers!”

Really? I’m one of your your BEST (ALLCAPS) customers? I placed a single order a week ago. You must not have such great customers.

    Nov 28 – “SAVE 85% + BUY 1 GET 2 FREE + FREE SHIPPING – Black Friday Sale!”

Didn’t I just hear from you yesterday?

    Nov 28 (again) – “Reminder – your 10% off coupon expires tomorrow.”

As if I could forget you? What a nag! I’m not going to use a coupon within a week of my last order anyway.

    Nov 29 – “EXTRA 15% OFF TODAY ONLY + 85% Off Black Friday Sale | Buy 1 get 2 FREE | FREE SHIPPING”

Let’s see, if my math is correct 85% off plus another 15% = 100% off – Hmmm. Is it 100% off or Buy 1 get two free which would be 66% off? These guys are playing with my head and confusing me.

    Nov 30 – “TODAY ONLY: extra 18% OFF order + LAST DAY for 85% OFF Black Friday Savings!”

Wait a minute! Didn’t you say “TODAY ONLY” yesterday? (Again, what’s with the ALLCAPS? Are you trying to yell at me?). Now you are just lying to me!

    Dec 1 – “85% off top items + extra 20% OFF purchase + FREE SHIPPING – CYBER MONDAY SALE”

Ok – I give up. 85% + 20% = 105%. How do you give 105% off?

Let’s summarize:

  • 11 days ago you sent me a useless coupon
  • 7 days ago you tried convincing me to do something I had already done
  • 6 days ago you called me your best customer when I had only placed one order
  • 5 days ago you reminded me of what you sent the day before and then sent me another message to remind me that a week earlier you sent me a useless coupon
  • 4 days ago you offered me a one day only offer of 100% off which seems too good to be true
    The next day you gave me the same “one day only” offer – again?!
  • 2 days ago it seems like you were offering me 105% off
  • Today, however, you wrote me about you “Best Sale” with the subject “FREE SHIPPING + Buy 1 Get 2 FREE ➨ Our Best Sale is Back for a limited time!”

I’m sorry Puritan’s Pride:

  • You are annoying.
  • You do not seem credible.
  • You give me no reason to think that there is any urgency since you keep sending better and better offers.
  • You use hyperbole and ALLCAPS.

It is like someone took the rules of marketing and applied them in the worst possible way.

So What Can We Learn?

  1. Limited Time Offers should be limited. There is no sense of urgency if you keep sending new offers all the time.
  2. Segment your list so people receive what is relevant – a customer who just placed an order is unlikely to place another order in less than a week. Wouldn’t it be better to thank them and give them 10% off their next order (valid for 6 months) with a reminder in 5 months that they have credit which if they do not use in the next month they will lose?
  3. Limit the frequency of your email blasts, especially around sale seasons when everyone is being bombarded. Instead of inundating consumers, segment and target so you really offer something of value to that individual customer. Make them feel special and offer them something that they want and that will stand out on its own.
  4. And the least you can do with all the data you have about me is say hi, using my name

This is a site where I made a purchase. They have my name but did not use it. They know what I ordered but did not target me.

Dear Puritan’s Pride,

Your “Best Sale … for a limited time” was what did you in. Today I unsubscribed.

Let’s see if you have effective monitoring and know how to listen to your customers. A simple Google Alert should be enough to tell you that I am an unhappy customer. I am waiting for your comment to be posted….

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