Hit the Slopes – Learning Valuable Email Marketing Lessons from the Popular Winter Sport

Posted by Alexandra Braunstein on

Although this year’s cold weather has been particularly brutal, winter has always been my favorite time of year since it means I can hit the slopes. And recently while skiing in Vermont, I began to realize how much my favorite pastime and email marketing have in common. Just like you can learn some valuable email marketing lessons from Super Mario Brothers or fantasy football, skiing has a lot to teach us as well:

  • Stay warm. Whether you’re skiing in below zero temperatures or the mid-20s, you need to dress appropriately to combat the cold. Just like you need to stay warm while skiing, in order to ensure you have good deliverability and your messages reach your subscribers, your IP addresses should stay warm by sending a consistent and predictable amount of volume.
  • A variety of choices. Whether it’s K2, Salomon, or Rossignol skis or a Columbia, North Face, or Patagonia jacket, you’ll see a slew of different brands represented by skiers on the mountain. Just like skiers are presented with a wide variety of choices when purchasing ski gear, most people receive a wide variety of email messages on a daily basis. So as a marketer you need to ensure that your message stands out in the inbox by grabbing the subscriber’s attention rather than letting it slip away to your competition. You can do this through the use of personalization, segmentation, unique content, and much more.
  • Ski with caution. While skiing, you need to be cautious of other skiers or snowboarders around you and remember that those in front of you always have the right of way. Just like you need to be cautious and use good judgment while skiing, you should be cautious with any changes you make to your email program and always test them first before rolling out to the entire audience.
  • Choose the correct trail.  From greens, to blues, to black diamonds, there are different trails for all different levels of skiers just like there are different life-cycle stages your email subscribers go through. Whether someone has just joined your list or recently made a purchase, you need to make sure you understand each of your subscriber’s needs and market to them accordingly.
  • Know when to call it a day. After a long day of skiing, you should always quit when you’re ahead and call it a day when you’re either tired, can’t feel your toes anymore, or maybe the mountain is just too crowded. Similarly, you should make the decision to stop mailing to the inactive subscribers on your list before they become zombies. If a subscriber hasn’t engaged with any of your messages in a certain amount of time or responded to a reactivation campaign, it may be time to stop mailing them.

Sometimes thinking outside of the box and looking at your email program in a different perspective can help you come up with new and fresh ideas to incorporate into your message stream.  Just like you’ll never know if you’re ready to try a black diamond until you do, remember to always proceed with caution when trying out new email strategies but also don’t be afraid to take some risks!


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About Alexandra Braunstein

Alexandra has been helping world class brands grow and optimize their email marketing strategies and initiatives for over a decade. As an Email Strategist for Return Path, Alexandra uses her passion for analytical and creative thinking to help marketers refine their email programs, resulting in more emails getting delivered to the inbox, improved subscriber engagement, and increased ROI.

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