Promotional Mistakes to Avoid

Oh, too bad you already made them!

Everyone is saying that sending out promotional (especially targeted) emails is a good way to increase sales. (Including us, we’re no fools.)

However, in order for your email to actually let you rake in the money, it has to be correct. Amazing, but true!

And so many promotional emails are done without thought, without care, without results.

So what exactly are we saying?

Things like: “Buy a Case Today and Save 30% on our 2010 Chardonnay” and when the user clicks on the buy button guess what?

  • The savings is only 20%.
  • You request a promo code and then tell the user “promo code not valid.”
  • The 2013 Chardonnay is full price. You meant to put the 2012 on sale.

You are also offering including ground shipping, but you set it up so that the system is also including overnight shipping. (Now there’s a way to go bust fast, especially if your opposite coast customers take advantage of it.)

You say in your email “save big on these selected items” but the items are unavailable, or you meant different items, or your landing page shows different prices. (What’s a landing page? you ask. Oh, dear, we have to talk.)

And here are few more interesting errors that you (or your competitors) made:

  • Order six or more bottles. Then the sale price disappears if more than that minimum quantity is ordered.
  • This offer good today only. And you send the email the day before and the offer doesn’t work. You think the user will return tomorrow? Think again. (And do you really think that everyone reads their email “today”?)

In fact, just the other day we received an email that read: “Offer good for only 12 hours today, expires at midnight” and the email arrived at 6 pm. The offer wasn’t good then. Did they mean tomorrow? It wasn’t good the next day either (not that a normal person will always check again. We did, but then we’re not….)

We can go on. Ok, we will.

  • Here’s one of my all-time favorites: A multi-brand operator sends out identical promotions for each brand. They create the email for the first brand, copy it for the next, change the text, but then forget (oops) to change the link in the buy button so only the first email is correct. All the other emails go to that first winery’s site.

Another favorite: Buy button links to “page not found.”

And another: You intend this email only for wine club members but you send it to everyone. So there’s no discount for most people who get it. Will they say nice things about you? Do you like four-letter words?

What about telling me you are offering discounts on all my favorite wines and then only offering discounts on just those wines you felt like discounting? My favorites aren’t discounted at all. Not very nice.

There are also minor errors made that probably won’t cost you sales, but fix them anyway. Learn how to spell “receive”, learn the difference between to, too and two, and don’t tell users “If your a wine club member, you get an additional 10% discount.” (Hint: the word is “you’re.”)

To make a long story short (hey, we get paid by the word, don’t knock it):

When you create your email, check the links, the prices, the promo code (if used), check everything. Place a test order by following the directions in the email, or better yet have your long-suffering intern do it. (If your staff doesn’t understand them, no one will.) Be sure that nothing will confuse or irritate the person who actually wants to give you money.

So repeat after me: “I promise to get off my duff and check my promotional email before I send it out.

There, don’t you feel better now?



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