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Putting Your Brand On A Diet

Dieting is one of the most popular new year’s resolutions for us humans. It should be. Nearly 34% of adults are considered to be overweight (source: CDC).

After receiving the barrage of emails from brands this holiday season, some who I have done business with before and some I have not, I started to wonder:  Should you develop new year’s resolutions for your brand? What about putting your brand on a diet? Saturated fats are bad for us, perhaps saturated brands are bad for us too.

A brand can’t over-eat, but it can do things like over-email and over-coupon.

Over-Emailing Your Customers

The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one. Brands are addicted to email. My personal example: I spent 3 hours recently un-subscribing to marketing emails all from my favorite brands, particularly those who sent 1 email a day over the holidays, 1 email a week the rest of the year. Multiply that by all of the brands that you love, plus the ones you don’t, and it gets complicated.

I wanted to write them each a letter so that they wouldn’t be sad when I left. I wanted it to say something like this:

My Dearest Brand,

We have been friends for many years. I buy things from you, you send me those things. Sadly, though, I must end our email relationship. It’s not you, it’s me – well actually it is you. You see, there are a lot of brands in the sea, and they all email me. Your email doesn’t get noticed, and distracts me so that I often miss more important emails from friends, family, and colleagues. I also suspect you are emailing others and saying the exact same things, which makes me feel less loved. I will continue to buy things from you, but we must break off our email relationship. When I need you, I will find you.

All the best, Lori.

Perhaps a better strategy is to send relevant information and to do it at relevant times. Maybe it’s a bad idea to send the same un-personalize email to everyone. Look at what was purchased in the past by your customer, and send that customer relevant and personalized information. Do it with a frequency that makes sense based on what that customer buys from you.

Know your customer’s buying buying patterns and history. Do you know how long it takes for a sweater to go out of style or to lose its fluff in the wash? For example, if the person bought a sweater and you know they will need new sweaters in 12 months, email them then. If you do that, then we can get back together – in an email sort of way.

Over-Couponing = Brand Site Devalued In SERPs

I have dubbed 2010 as the ‘Year of the Coupon’. We have Groupon, Living Social, Restaurant.com, and locally focused businesses like Mobile Scoops. We get them in our email, on our phone, and did you also know – we get them on search from web sites mostly operated  by affiliate marketers. These affiliate coupon websites dominate the search results.

Therefore, when you offer discounts, promo codes, or coupons, the side-effect is that you will find yourself quickly getting knocked down on search results. This unintended consequence on search pages occurs when the coupon websites, who are promoting your coupons, get pushed to the top of the search results, inevitably pushing your branded website down.

Just run a search with this combination of keywords: ‘any brand + coupon’   or ‘any brand + promo code’. You will see a list of coupon and deal web pages at the top of the natural results and find yourself perhaps low on page 1 or completely absent. Here are a few examples to try:  ‘Sony Promo Code’ , ‘Dell Coupon’, ‘Hanna Andersson Shipping Code’

Result: The entire 1st page of the organic results consist of coupon websites.

From a search engine perspective, this is the proper result – relevant content based on what the consumer is seeking which is a coupon. But from a brand perspective, is this how you want to be represented? Perhaps a better strategy is to develop a web page of your own that showcases your promo codes and coupons so that you are on top and controlling the message.

To give you a taste – here are the top 6 results on the search for ‘Sony Promo Code’:
promo code SERP

Is this the way you’d like to present your brand’s body image in search? If the answer is no, it may be time to think about putting your brand on a diet.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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