Today our carefully crafted sentences, our relevant offers, our perfect hero images often at best get a quick once over before being dispatched by the delete key. The recipients of these carefully put together messages, who lead busy lives and have time to read precious few of the many items they receive, won’t pay attention to your message unless it gives them something they want.  And with this comes the idea of mixing business with pleasure.

I know the counter-argument: if I craft my message well enough, make my offers just right, and make the whole thing visually sing, then my email by its sheer quality will be read and action will be taken.  Statistics tell a different story; despite marketers’ best efforts and some truly outstanding work at personalization, most email remains unread.  Mixing business with pleasure will help you counter this. It works because it gives the reader something she wants: a free movie ticket, sweepstakes to the biggest events, and so on. And with these benefits in the mix, it helps get your emails read and – ideally – onto the must read list.

An email strategy that mixes business with pleasure can take numerous forms. It can show business and pleasure content in a single email (e.g., feature the sweepstakes right below the offer) or be delivered in an alternating series. The “pleasure” can range from free tickets sent strictly to thank and show appreciation to the customer for her loyalty, to sweepstakes that provide the loyal member the chance she really wants.

A good example of this approach is the Ticketmaster Verified Fan program, which invites fans to register for the chance to be part of an exclusive entertainment experience – no ‘bots allowed! It functionally helps promote the actual event and sell more tickets (business) while appealing to true fans by increasing their chance of getting tickets or better seats at low or no cost (pleasure). Combined with personalization techniques that select artists and entertainment (e.g. concerts, musicals, comedians) an individual truly desires, the program proves to be an effective marketing vehicle for selling more tickets and raising customer engagement.  In other words, it gives customers a reason to use some of her limited time to pay attention to emails from Ticketmaster.

How you mix business with pleasure depends on a lot on what you sell, how often your customers are likely to shop from you, the value or potential value of the customer being emailed, and other factors.  

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