On the sixth day of Listmas, my client said to me “We’ve gotta make our numbers!”
There’s a reason that “Black Friday” is called “Black Friday.” No, actually, there is more than one reason. According to Oxford University Press, the modern term has two origins:
The shopping sense dates from the 1960s and was originally used with reference to congestion created by shoppers; it was later explained as a day when retailers’ accounts went from being “in the red” to “in the black”.
The second of those explanations is what a lot of people think about when they think of the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s the time when their accounts go from “in the red” to “in the black.” The reason for that, of course, is the crush of shoppers who show up to buy things.
And with that expectation, you have folks who come up with all kinds of expectations concerning what moving from loss to profit should look like. Once that figure has been established, it’s up to the marketer to “make it so.”
Unfortunately, the way that many try to make their targets is by either going more deeply into the list (in order to send messages to people who have forgotten that they’re even on the list) or by mailing the list more often (see Day 3 below).
The problem here (other than the engagement issues) is that the focus is in the wrong place. When sending messages to people is more about “we’ve gotta make our numbers” than it is about providing value to the recipients of those messages, it’s easy to lose perspective. Now that messages are going into the spam folder it’s suddenly “the ISPs’ fault” that “we’re going to miss our numbers.” But, the truth is that if you move from the inbox to the spam folder, it’s usually because you’ve done something that makes your recipients unhappy to see you. The only reason that you’re in the spam folder now is that they told their provider that this is where they think your messages should go.
There’s really no easy fix for this other than to keep foremost in your mind that the same things that will get you into the inbox the other 10.5 months will get you in the inbox in the last month and a half of the year.