Seven Hills Communications
Small Business Marketing & Public Relations


Small Business Marketing & PR Advice



Hi everyone! Kristen here with an email that made my day, both because it made my life easier and because it gives me a chance to talk about really, really smart email marketing!

My daughter turned 4 last weekend, and coming up this weekend, she's got a birthday party featuring all her preschool friends. Having regained my sense of sanity since hosting this zoo/party last year, this year I decided to outsource and she'll be bouncing off the walls, quite literally, with 25 friends at an inflatable playground. I am already happy with this company as I have been assured that I basically just need to place appropriate food orders and show up, music to any mom's ears. 

But Monday morning as I sat down at my desk to map out my week, I threw in a few party to-do's. Order the cake. Order the pizza. Order the goody bag stuff off Amazon. Maybe 30 minutes of actual work, but I gave a little sigh as I added it onto the growing list. Around lunchtime, I opened up my personal emails and I found THIS.

Now, I was fully aware that this party venue offers pizza and cake and balloons and goody bags and all the things that you need to order on top of just booking a party... but I figured, I'll just call the pizza place I like, and pick up a cake on the way to the party that I order a few days in advance, and go to the party store to pick out balloons... you get the gist.

And then, I got this email. And it was all mapped out for me: balloons, pizza, goody bags, even the option for characters to visit the party. And, it was delivered on Monday morning, right when I was getting my to-do list together, but before I'd had the chance to actually do anything. Perfect. Timing. I know that they'll be calling me later this week to confirm party details and when they do, I'll just order everything. Done.

And THAT is how you do effective email marketing. I'm already a customer, of course, but they probably just increased my spend with them by 60% with a single, well-timed email. Genius. Here are three takeaways from my bouncy party email marketing experience:

1. Don't forget your old friends.
While Cowabunga's is, I'm sure, focused on continuing to book parties with new customers, they were so smart to invest in creating this funnel for customers who've already booked. It cost them practically nothing to market to me once the email is created. I'm already in their space, so there's no additional overhead--just profit.

2. Timing is everything.
Whenever we put together an email for a client, we try to get into the minds of the target audience to figure out when they'll need that information. Of course, over time, you can inform some of this with data from your email marketing system - when you get the best opens, etc. But a lot of it is just logic. If you know a parent is planning a party for the weekend, you know the week before is going to be filled with random errands. Send the email before they start them. Put yourself in the audience's shoes and decide when they'd need this info in order to act on it.

3.  Include a Call to Action.
OK, Cowabunga's, there's one thing you got wrong. How do I redeem these coupons? Where's the phone number or link to an online order form? I scanned the email several times without any success, which means I'll have to look them up to give them a call. Don't make your customers do that. Include a clear call to action, like "Call us at 555-555-5555 to place your order!" or "Click here to place your order" so that the customer can act immediately. (Quick update: The day after I received the email, Cowabunga's called me to confirm my details and see if I wanted to add anything to the order, and that's when I chose the add-on's. Still, it would have been good to have a way to be proactive if I so chose!)

Admittedly, an inflatables playground is the last place I expected to get a great marketing lesson this week, but often these great examples come from really unexpected places. This is the perfect reminder that you don't need to spend a ton or even work that hard if you set up smart, automated marketing systems to generate and nurture your leads. If you've got any email marketing examples that have really impressed you lately, I encourage you to post them in the comments!