Get a Gimmick Part 1: Be You

Gimmicks get a bad rap for too often being corny and pandering. And, for the most part, that’s true. Gimmicks are usually annoying and poorly thought out. However, there are two reasons successful businesses continue to invest in marketing gimmicks across a variety of media platforms.

1. They’re being held hostage by that insurance lizard.

Nope, that’s not right. Let me try again.

1. Every so often, they catch on.

Now, developing a successful, respectable email marketing gimmick is sometimes like trying to find oil in your own backyard. We can’t all be the Clampetts. However, if you’re willing to give it a shot, you might come up with something that really resonates with your subscriber base (and beyond).

One example outside the world of email marketing that really worked (despite overwhelming odds to the contrary) was the head-to-toe Star Trek theme adopted by an Orlando dentist’s office. Starbase Dental not only had loads of Trekkie décor, but also had staffers wearing Starfleet uniforms, and played classic episodes and movies in each exam room.

Seems kind of insane, right? Well, the good doctor took a risk, and shifted the focus of his practice from something that most people absolutely dread to something that simply had to be seen. While Starbase Dental was open (the founder has since retired), it attracted Trekker (and even non-Trekker) clients from all over the southeast who were willing to drive way out of their way to get a filling taken care of in Captain Kirk’s chair. It was a long shot, but one so bizarre that it paid off for many years.

With that in mind, consider trying something outside the box in your email marketing campaign. If you have a particular interest that isn’t directly relevant to your business, try incorporating it into your email marketing.

By showing that side of your personality, you might be able to attract a few new subscribers from current readers forwarding your email newsletters to friends who share that interest. More importantly, if you have any subscribers who already have the same interest, you’ve likely earned a customer for life.

I’ll use myself as an example here. Outside of my tireless devotion to email marketing, I have a near clinical obsession with basketball. Whenever I encounter business owners who like to talk hoops, I’m always more inclined to go back to them in the future – even if they’re a fan of a team I despise. 

See, even if the gimmick doesn’t work directly, it can still make you (and your business) more intriguing. Whether it’s music, movies, sports or 6 Million Dollar Man fan fiction, sharing your interests in your email marketing can really have a big impact on the way your efforts are received. It humanizes you as a business owner, and it opens the door for casual dialogue with your clients. Make yourself the gimmick. It could pay off.

Check back next week for a look at the most important reason a gimmick can help your business.