Hola! Bring out the mariachi band and the silver-studded suits—it’s Cinco de Mayo! This year, General Mills celebrates with Cinco-themed Betty Crocker and Dinner Made Easy newsletters. I don’t mention these just because I love a good margarita. (But if you’re ever in Seattle, you must order a Suprema at ¡Cactus! Tell them I sent you.) And while I haven’t been inspired to actually cook anything, the email marketers over at General Mills are doing a lot of things right. Learn from Betty: pick up these cinco tricks to go from email siesta to email fiesta!
(1) Make it easy.
Our subscribers are taking time from their busy lives to read our email messages. If we can find ways to save them time in return, they’ll keep clicking.
(a) Both the Betty and Dinner newsletters embrace this philosophy, down to the nuts and bolts. Both the preheaders and the footers are clear, concise and easy-to-use.
(b) The Dinner newsletter employs graphical icons like arrows, recipe cards and stars to indicate different content types at a glance, eliminating the need to read. Betty frames coupon offers with dotted lines and a pair of scissors.
(c) Copy is customer-centric; even the name Dinner Made Easy carries a benefit. The Betty newsletter takes both hunger and time-starvation into consideration with the headline: “Ready in 30 minutes!”
(2) Ask questions.
As Dale Carnegie says, the most interesting conversationalists are generally those who let you do all the talking. The Dinner Newsletter commences with a conversation starter: “Want to start a taco night tradition?”
(3) Add depth of perspective.
(a) Betty includes customer quotes from both Jessica and Tweety, letting readers—rather than writers—own the content. (Tweety prefers her tacos with lean ground chuck.)
(b) Customer ratings are sprinkled throughout both newsletters. I particularly enjoy the spoon rating system in the Betty vehicle. Beef Tacos: 4.5 spoons! Very cute.
(c) Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies get a halo when cited as a favorite of celebrity blogger and food editor Andi Bidwell. Like LeVar Burton says, “You don’t have to take my word for it.”
(4) Make a game of it.
Betty drives clickthroughs and daily website traffic with a Great Grilling Giveaway.
(5) Put it to a vote!
(a) The Dinner newsletter engages readers with a poll—classic or crescent? I say classic! I adore churros; have you ever had them with vanilla ice cream? It’s fantastic.
(b) At the end of the day, your subscribers are the ones who decide whether to open, whether to read…and whether to unsubscribe. How could you not ask them what they think of your newsletter? Both the Betty Crocker and Dinner Made Easy newsletters end with a request for feedback: “Help us improve our newsletter. How would you rate the usefulness of this email?” Overlaying answers with other performance metrics could yield interesting results. Plus, the placement of the request offers some insight into how many folks are actually scrolling down to the bottom of the message.
Speaking of which… How would you rate the usefulness (and/or the entertainment value) of this article? Do you have any favorite newsletters (or taco recipes) to share? Please post your comments below!
—General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín
& Lisa Harmon of Smith-Harmon