March Madness Email-Style: Top-seeded Strategies

On this first full day of March Madness 2012, I thought I’d apply email marketing strategies to the annual ritual of filling out tournament brackets. Here are four No. 1 seed strategies to keep in mind as you develop and manage your email marketing program.

No. 1 – West Region: Relevance
Is what you’re sending of interest to your audience? The information in your message may be a priority to you (and it should be if you’re sending it out), but the reader needs to be able to quickly understand how/why your email is important to them.

No. 1 Seed – East Region: Audience
Do you know who’s on your distribution list? I don’t mean knowing them personally, but are they people that were invited by you to join your email program? I hope the answer is, “Yes!” It’s key to manage your opt-in program with more information about your list members than just an address. Use this additional information to send your database and send targeted campaigns.

No. 1 Seed – North Region: Design
News flash – the days of single-device viewing are shrinking. A May 2011 report by Campaign Monitor saw 20% of total emails opened come from a mobile device. Bear in mind that not everyone views 100% of their emails in one place. But if some of your list members switch between viewing their emails on a PC and their phone, a smaller subset of that group might only see your message on their phone or iPad. The growth of a mobile audience has been sharp over the past year and it’s critical to make your message actionable for someone surfing their emails with their thumb. Design your message to be action-friendly for desktop platforms, web-based programs and mobile devices.

No. 1 Seed – South Region: Timing
Woody Allen is quoted as saying “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” (I don’t think any of the teams who made it into the tournament would use that as their primary game plan.) Yes, getting into the inbox is what we strive for, but how about sending at a time when your message is most likely to be read? Over a period of time, test out different send times and monitor the results. Whatever time is best reaching your desired metric, be it opens or sales or some other business objective, use that until you see a dip in results. Then test again. But always keep in mind your audience demographics, if you know them, and act accordingly.

Do we need a Cinderella story for our tournament bracket?
It wouldn’t be March Madness without one! Pinterest is the social media darling du jour. Let’s keep an eye on how this site integrates targeted HTML emails into the mix.

A recent study stated that the first two days of the NCAA tournament account for a loss of $175 million in productivity as basketball fans turn their attention to the games and away from their responsibilities.  Don’t let your email program’s productivity suffer by ignoring any of these top-seeded strategies.


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