Anyone who tells you a fact about direct email marketing should be ignored. If you think an idea might be worth a punt then nothing should stop you giving it a go. As long as you limit the risk and keep control of the costs there is every reason to experiment. However, there are one or two things that should make you think twice.
Just before Christmas I received a marketing email from a software company I had bought from a number of times in the past. I was not surprised to find an offer for their latest free download, which was their Office Suite. Whilst it was virtually the same as their current offering it had a few features disabled. If you wanted them enabled there was a charge. Nothing unusual so far.
One thing that surprised me was that for every download of the Suite the company, Softmaker GmbH, would give €10 cents to a charity. There was also a request for recipients to forward the email to friends and acquaintances.
This seemed more than a little risky to me. I could see its attraction of course: someone downloading would feel good about themselves. However the end cost must have been unpredictable, not something that should sit easily with anyone in direct email marketing.
I spoke with Klaus Richter, Marketing and Sales Manager with Softmaker, and asked if he would explain the reasoning behind the offer. He seemed to answer my questions candidly.
He said that they had used the charity aspect before and costs were fairly predictable. On top of that customers had to register before downloading so giving the company a considerable number of email addresses. When one considers the cost of obtaining them, 10 cents doesn’t seem quite so risky.
45,000 took up the download offer and that is a considerable number of addresses. A total of €5896 went to charity. Click here for details.
Klaus said he would not be able to say whether the company would use a similar promotion in the future until all the data had been assessed, but their initial view was that it was very successful.
The lesson is clear: give it a go.