July 31, 2012 | By Sean Wirt
I was watching Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares" the other night and thought, "Wow! Some of these restaurants closely mirror email programs that I’ve worked with!" I’m sure you’re thinking “Huh?” Don't worry. I’ll get to that in a minute.
For those of you who have not seen "Kitchen Nightmares" here's a quick synopsis of the show: The owner of a once successful, now struggling, restaurant reaches out to world-renowned chef Gordon Ramsay. Ramsay then visits the restaurant, samples the food, gets to know the owners and staff and then (with a lot of screaming and cursing) works with the owners and staff to turn the restaurant around. The restaurant gets a makeover, not only to the building, but also the menu. The staff gets re-trained and the owners go through some soul-searching, which inevitably leads to a positive attitude change.
So, you ask, “How does this have anything to do with email programs?” Here’s how…
One common theme that all of these restaurants have is that they were once very successful. But, over time business has fallen off, and they are now on the brink of failure. The reason business has fallen off is that the owners put the business on cruise-control, didn’t make any positive changes (to the menu or the décor) and customers lost interest. Ramsay comes in, infuses some excitement in the menu, the décor and the attitudes of the staff and business picks up again.
We see this all the time with mailing programs. A client builds their list and their program and thinks they can put things on cruise-control. They feel that as long as they are removing complaints and hard bounces they’ll be good-to-go. That may have been the case a couple of years ago, but that’s no longer going to fly. Today, ISPs put a lot of value in user engagement and sending to unengaged users will eventually have a negative effect on your reputation. This is the point where StrongMail's deliverability experts step in and play the role of Gordon Ramsay. We help our clients understand that not only do they have to continue to remove their complaints and hard bounces, but they need to also look at their “openers” and “clickers.”
If you find that recipients aren’t opening and clicking, then it's highly likely that they aren't interested any longer. If they aren’t interested, then try to infuse some excitement in your mailing program that will rekindle the interest. Send a special offer (free shipping, 25% off your next order, etc.), anything to get them excited again. If they don’t respond to your offer, then remove them from your list. There’s no need to continue to mail to someone who’s not interested. Not only will you reduce the overhead of sending to recipients unnecessarily, but you will also improve your reputation with the ISPs.
So, don’t let your mailing program turn into a “Kitchen Nightmare!” Don’t put the program on cruise-control. Keep the décor and menu (offers, design, etc.) fresh and your customers will keep coming back for more!