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Extending Customer Engagement Through an Email Mini-Series by Denise Keller @benchmarkemail

Extending Customer Engagement Through an Email Mini-Series by Denise Keller @benchmarkemail

Extending Customer Engagement Through an Email Mini-Series by Denise Keller @benchmarkemail

Extending Customer Engagement Through an Email Mini-Series

Roots, Jesus Of Nazareth, Lonesome Dove, The Winds Of War… there have been many extremely memorable mini-series that have represented the all-time best of television programming. As an email marketer, you too can take advantage of the mini-series format, without spending millions of dollars and having to deal with cranky actors.

Applying the mini-series concept to your email marketing can help you engage your subscribers to a greater degree, because you can provide much greater detail on important business topics over a longer span of time rather than in a single newsletter. Here are the keys to creating a successful newsletter mini-series that keeps customers engaged until the very end.

Not too long, not too short, just right

Addressing a particular subject for a concentrated and specifically delineated stretch of time has a very similar effect to a television mini-series in drawing in the audience and building anticipation for the next “episode” which leads to a successful finale at a predetermined time. After all, if Lonesome Dove had been little more than “Gus and Woodrow ride to Montana” it wouldn’t exactly have been a memorable show.

It also would have suffered if after the initial cattle drive they had continued ad infinitum to every other state in the northern Plains. The key to a successful email mini-series is the same as that of a successful television one: Have a few “episodes”, build to a crescendo, then tie up all the loose ends… and go on to the next mini-series.

12 Days Of Christmas is an email mini-series

Your brand may already be implementing an email mini-series without even realizing that’s what you’re doing. If your online marketing includes a “Twelve Days Of Christmas” where you are bringing to the attention of your email newsletter campaign subscribers a sequence of gift ideas for the Holiday Season, you might not be calling it a mini-series, but it surely is!

The recent tendency towards stretching Black Friday to an entire “black cyber week” is yet another example of an email mini-series. Although there is considerable value in (Lonesome) Dove-tailing tangible product suggestions and promotions in this marketing methodology it is important to note that not all email mini-series need to be centered around the buy buy buy paradigm in conjunction with a holiday.

Email mini-series can readily lend themselves to a sequence of correlated and helpful tips and hints on resolving some matter which is of relevance to your email audience, or even exploring some topic which may be technical or otherwise difficult to grasp and requires a rational sequence of newsletters in order to portray it in its full breadth.

The salient points of a successful mini-series

A successful email mini-series integrates all of these salient points:

  • It has a clearly defined subject matter – Kunta Kinte did not come to America, undergo all his misadventures, lose his foot and sight, then sign on as a helmsman on the USS Enterprise-D. Focus on a specific topic and ensure that you elucidate upon it, and only it, in your mini-series.
  • It sets and lives up to its expectations – At the very beginning of your mini-series it is important to address the issue of how long the mini-series will be and the aspects of the subject matter it will touch upon. This will allow your subscribers to look forward to the rest of the newsletters as well as understand when it will end so that they may allocate an appropriate amount of interest and attention.
  • It is informative and unique – If your topic is boring in one newsletter it will be stultifying in a mini-series format. Ensure that the subject matter you choose to cover is of interest to your subscribers and most importantly can hold that interest over the duration of your mini-series.
  • It is designed to leverage your segmentation – An email mini-series is a superlative tool to apply to your existing segmentation efforts as there are no limits to how far you can customize each aspect of your longer-term newsletter approach to your individual demographic, geographic, and behavior customer categories.

Most importantly, a proper email mini-series is imaginative. Break through the walls of the conventional and do something fantastic for your subscribers, and they’ll not just stick it out through your entire series, they will respond and reward you!

Takeaway: Using email marketing mini-series can increase subscriber engagement by providing detail on relevant topics over a longer span of time. Be imaginative and informative, catering to your segmentation categories, and reap the returns!

  • Profile:  Denise Keller is COO and founding partner of Benchmark Email, one of the world's leading email marketing services for small businesses. Keller served as Vice President of Finance for restaurant chain Market Broiler and CEO of Accor's Ticket Services Division before transferring into the COO position at Benchmark, where she has been instrumental in bringing in numerous small business customers, as well as high-profile clients that include Mercedes Benz, Siemens, and Kaiser Permanente.
  • Website:  http://www.benchmarkemail.com/
  • Twitter:   http://www.twitter.com/benchmarkemail
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  1. We’ve seen great success with email series, especially with a four-message welcome series and three-message shopping cart abandonment series. In fact, conversions are still so high on the third abandonment message that some of our clients send four or five messages and are still converting customers. It really keeps subscribers engaged and active.

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