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Think Big: Focus on Your Email 'Black Friday'

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
12 April 2012

In retail, Black Friday isn't just a huge shopping day in November but often the biggest sales day of the year for many merchants.

Whatever industry you are in, I want you to think about what your "Black Friday" is. I'm not defining it necessarily as a single day but as the fulcrum, or the trigger event that generates a majority of revenue or conversion activity and helps your program meet or exceed its goals.

Identifying your Black Friday moment and how to improve it can be the single most important thing you can do to achieve the greatest improvement ever in your email marketing results.

[caption id="attachment_3728" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Identifying your "fulcrum event" and how to optimize it is one of the most important steps you can take to improve email marketing results."][/caption]

Think Big, Act Big
For many email marketers, their "Black Friday" is the fulcrum event in the customer relationship that drives revenue, repeat purchases, engagement, and loyalty. It could be an on-boarding or welcome program, post-purchase follow-up or other behavioral triggers.

For one Silverpop client, the fulcrum email became a triggered email reminder of a standing product order.

After conducting significant order-size analysis, the company added a free-shipping offer to encourage additional purchases, as well as product recommendations, top sellers and other information.

That reminder email is now its single largest revenue-generating email, without even including revenue from the recurring order.

How Fulcrum Thinking Fosters the Improvement Process
Focusing your attention on your fulcrum event helps you answer one of the great questions in email marketing: Where do I start to make things better?

It also clarifies your thinking, avoids distractions and frames the case you might need to make to your management for interdepartmental cooperation (such as IT or customer service) and additional budget resources.

Once you have optimized this key point in your email-marketing program, many other incremental improvements will fall into place or become obvious that they are next up on your list of things to tackle.

Focus on Your Fulcrum Opportunity

1. Identify your fulcrum event (or events). It could be your busiest sales period of the year or critical conversion triggers such as these:

  • Membership or standing-order renewals
  • The first 30 days after an email opt-in
  • First purchases that drive follow-on revenue
  • Converting free users to premium accounts
  • Product demos
  • Reducing churn driven by inactivity

2. Analyze your current performance, and identify opportunities where you could improve. Use output metrics such as percentage of conversions from basic to premium service, free trial to paid or first purchase.

Once you have found your stumbling blocks to conversions or opportunities to improve, you're ready to go to your boss and ask for help.

3. Advocate for more budget and resources to help you achieve your goals. Speak your boss's language here.

Lay out the problem in clear terms. Show the strategies you plan to deploy to solve it, the resources you need to make that happen, and the top- or bottom-line results the investment should generate.

4. Focus your energy and attention on the aspects that improve and support your fulcrum area. Many marketers get frustrated when they try to focus on the most important things because they have so many demands on their time and so many problems to fix.

It's essential to not get distracted from your big goal. Once you have improved your fulcrum event, many other incremental improvements will either fall into place or become obvious that they are next up on your list of things to tackle.

What’s Next?
Need more help to identify the Black Friday moment that will help your email program meet or exceed your goals? You'll find additional strategies and advice in the two articles below:

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