Dec 30 2013

The only way to get past the “promotions” folder: personal marketing

  • Posted by: admin

Last night, I got an email from Justin Mares over at EasyPost.













What shocked me wasn’t necessarily the content of the email; I had given Easypost a high rating through a survey and Justin was looking for referrals. The surprising part came at the very end of the email: “P.S. This isn’t an automated email- just working late at night after a day with family!”


Because this wasn’t sent out in a blast, the email went directly into my primary folder, and I accordingly viewed it as a conversation. I no longer spend time viewing marketing emails (filtered into the promotions folder) that come in— emails which might have included a “refer a friend offer.”


Promotions View




This strategy has two implications: first, the tangible benefit of getting into the primary folder; second, the abstract (but arguably more important) connection that can be forged through personal marketing.

The tangible benefit is clear and direct; by sending out targeted and personal emails, the end recipient will get an email in the same folder a message from Grandma or a proposal from a client might come in. While marketing for Yumvelope, my e-commerce snacking site, I have yet to find another way to slip through this filter. Even personal sounding emails that go through MailChimp or another email blast service end up in the Promotions folder.


Nevertheless, you might think, this strategy is too time-consuming. Even if fewer people view email blasts, they don’t take any time or effort and the results are far more measurable on a broad scale. To the contrary, personal marketing is by far the most measurable and profitable strategy I have adopted for Yumvelope, precisely because of this personal effort and connection forged. When users register but then abandon their carts, for example, I send out a quick one-line email welcoming them to the site and asking if they had any problems completing their order. Could I automate this? Sure. But sending the emails manually with an ability to personalize on an independent basis has increased my ROI exponentially.


At the same time, you might argue that personal marketing only makes sense with a company like Yumvelope that sells on a relatively small scale.  Easypost, however, has made it work in a big way. Despite being a Y-Combinator company which has raised close to a million dollars and doubles revenue monthly, they still find a way to interact with their customers (no matter how small) on a monthly basis.


Are you convinced? Here’s one strategy to get you started:

“The Easypost strategy”- This is going to sound counterintuitive, but start out by launching a campaign with your email list on Mailchimp or another measurable site. Easypost used Delighted, a service in beta that specializes in measuring customer happiness through email. Once you’ve launched your campaign, ask customers to rate your website.


How likely are you to recommend EasyPost to a friend?











Bring each “rating level” to a different landing page, and then prompt for an email address. (Advanced strategy: track the email address through the link to make rating a truly one-click strategy.)


As the responses pour in, reach out. High rating? Ask for referrals. Low rating? Ask what’s wrong and how you can make it better.


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