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Using Trending Topics to Beef Up Your Email Marketing Campaigns

What are the hot topics in your Twitter feed or Facebook newsfeed? Right now it is likely to be something on #Election2012, #Obama, #SandyRelief, #PinterestSecretBoards, #BlackFridayDeals.
Social media buzzes with the latest news, often before the mainstream media has a chance to report. Some of those latest trending topics can definitely help boost your email marketing efforts. How? Incorporating current trending topics gives your customer base the impression that you have insight into the latest and greatest. Some trends are best to steer clear of, but, incorporating a good one can give your target market something recognizable to equate your email campaign with and that may be the difference between them acting on it, or clicking “delete.” Some of the more high-profile trends that retailers and businesses leverage are usually sports influenced, #SuperBowl and #MarchMadness, but can also be things like #BlackFriday, #EmmyAwards. The most recent and obvious example was #Campaign2012! Everyone from 7-11 to Old Navy incorporated the recent election into their marketing efforts. How many “Election Day” sales emails did you get from retailers? My inbox was flooded.
So, how do you go about incorporating and leveraging trending topics in your email campaigns to promote engagement?
1. Be social. Social media is the driving force of many trending topics. Since information is real-time, you need to be “on the ball,” by checking your social media sites regularly. You need to be ready quickly if something happens.
2. Get planning. Not all trends can be planned for, but some, like annual sporting events, holidays, and awards happen at the same time every year.
3. Prepare! Predicting the future is not an option but preparing for it is. For example, an email campaign using the trending topic of the Super Bowl, could be created with two versions, each with a different winner, so you are ready to send it out right when the Lombardi trophy is awarded.
4. Keep it relevant. Your content and incentives should be tied to the trending topic you are utilizing in your campaign. It doesn’t work if there is no connection. Make sure your topic and incentive are relevant at the time you send them too.
In most cases, a week difference could make or break your campaign and result in having the opposite effect of linking to a trending topic.
5. Stay legal. Some trending topics are copywrited and cannot legally be used in your marketing efforts. Research the terms that you are highlighting and make sure its ok to use them. If not, you can use a similar phrase to link it to your chosen topic while avoiding legal fees.
6. Be consistent. If your target demographic is men ages 24-36, make sure your email is pertinent to them and you are leveraging the right trending topic. Sports, yes, peep toe shoes, probably not.
When used correctly, a trending topic can increase the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign. By using topics that trend in your area and industry, and segmenting lists as needed, you show your recipients that you are knowledgeable and insightful. Stay far away from anything controversial and always keep your brand image in mind.
What trending topics have you utilized in your email marketing campaigns?
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