I’ll allow you to in on somewhat secret.
I volunteer to deliver the cranberry relish to the end-of-the-year vacation meals. It’s the simplest to prepare dinner on the record of dishes at our household desk, and I’m a fan of the fruit.
So final Thanksgiving, Ocean Spray’s Cranberry Membership promotion intrigued me. How might a model with a well-known seasonal product create a year-round membership? Because it was free, I signed up.
Seven months later, I spotted the Cranberry Membership is only a e-newsletter.
Although the Cranberry Membership didn’t ship on the promise of group, it did ship good newsletters that supply nice classes for content material entrepreneurs at any B2B or B2C model, notably these with seasonal merchandise or once-a-year occasions.
Tempo your content material
Ocean Spray despatched a welcome message and 4 newsletters between my sign-up date (Nov. 23 – the Wednesday earlier than U.S. Thanksgiving) and Dec. 31, 2022. Beginning in January, it despatched an electronic mail as soon as a month.
That is smart. I’m not as all in favour of cranberries in January, February, March, and so on., so the content material isn’t as related. Although trade finest practices point out the significance of sending newsletters at regular intervals, that doesn’t essentially work for companies with shopping for cycles entrenched within the calendar.
Tailor your content material to the product calendar
Ocean Spray does properly at tailoring the content material to the e-newsletter’s distribution time. In January, for instance, it reacted to the season of diets and being more healthy with its weight loss plan cranberry drink entry. In February, the e-newsletter mentioned the wintry climate: “If Ocean Spray® could make a Weight loss program Cranberry Juice Drink with 5 energy and full taste — then you definately cran make money working from home in actual pants. #AllThatPower.”
(I ponder if it used the snowy language for all recipients. In that case, that’s a mistake since snow doesn’t fall in lots of geographic areas in February.)
(Aspect notice: I’m not a fan of manufacturers creating new phrases like “cran” as an alternative of “can” and “cranfident” as an alternative of “confidence.” It’s somewhat too excessive, too promotional for me.)
In March, Ocean Spray did a contest for its new merchandise. By April, although, Ocean Spray appears to have run out of juice. Its major picture was a product shot of its Craisins, and the textual content was all promotional: “Florals for spring? Groundbreaking. Spring salad with Craisins? Revolutionary. Take your basic spring recipes from fundamental to daring with Craisins® Dried Cranberries. As a result of they make something simply hit completely different.”
See? It’s all manufacturing promotion. Even the writing lacks pith. As a Cranberry Membership member, I used to be disenchanted and would have unsubscribed if not for my content material advertising curiosity.
Ship the anticipated
Breaking out of the usual content material field is an effective factor so long as you don’t go thus far that you just disappoint the viewers. At a food-based enterprise like Ocean Spray, subscribers would doubtless anticipate recipes. The Cranberry Membership doesn’t disappoint. It shares surprising drink recipes – sultry sundown sangria, cran-mango™ margarita, pink lemon drop, and combined berry smoothie, solely considered one of which even mentions an Ocean Spray product within the identify.
Don’t spill all of the beans (or cranberries)
Ocean Spray needs its Cranberry Membership members to go to its web site, the place extra attention-grabbing content material – not simply manufacturing promotion – awaits. It incorporates a call to action for each entry within the e-newsletter.
This text engages readers with the corporate’s historical past, which began with three maverick farmers and became a nationwide cranberry collective of 700-plus farmers. That’s a sensible technique – along with inviting them to “study extra,” they inform the brand story from a extra compelling human perspective.
Right here’s one other instance the place they admit that cranberry’s style won’t be everybody’s first alternative.
Ocean Spray then sends those that recognize its standing as a superfruit to a website page with extra data on the highly effective berry.
TIP: Acknowledging not everybody loves your product is useful as a result of readers will acknowledge your model lives in the true world, not the promotional one the place everyone loves the product.
Personalize in surprising locations
McKinsey research finds 71% of shoppers anticipate firms to ship customized interactions, and 76% get pissed off when that doesn’t occur.
Many manufacturers assume they’ve created that personalization by including “Pricey [FIRST NAME],” on the high of your e-newsletter. Ocean Spray doesn’t do this conventional customized insert. It surprises the subscriber through the use of their identify contained in the content material, equivalent to this snippet about cran info that included the final strains: “The potential little puckers possess uncanny vitamin, together with highly effective vitamins, nutritional vitamins, and antioxidants that help all of it. Bladder stuff. Intestine stuff. Coronary heart stuff. (And much more stuff.) The cran’s acquired you, Ann.”
In one other e-newsletter, it boasts a brand new taste of its drinks and consists of the sentence: “Actual fruit juice from cranberries, lemons, and raspberries, we acquired you, Ann,” adopted by a wink emoji.
By incorporating the recipient’s identify all through the content material, you’re extra prone to seize their consideration after they skim the content material.
Create an expertise higher than Ocean Spray
OK, that’s all the good stuff Ocean Spray does with its Cranberry Membership. You’ll discover, although, it’s all concerning the membership’s e-newsletter. And albeit, that’s the frustration. I by no means actually joined a membership. The welcome message when I joined the Cranberry Club advised me that. Although it refers to me as a “licensed member of our cran fam,” this household by no means will get collectively – not even throughout the holidays. The opening electronic mail merely regurgitates what I’ll discover within the e-newsletter and lists the social channels that I can comply with.
That’s an enormous miss. Ocean Spray selected a phrase – membership – that signifies group. Many individuals enroll and anticipate to affix a group, not simply subscribe to a e-newsletter. Think about what Ocean Spray might do by internet hosting a non-public group the place Cranberry Membership members can collect, discuss cranberries, entry particular cooking demonstrations, and share their lives.
Oh, in case you thought it’s hashtag #AllThatPower may internet a group feeling on social channels. It doesn’t. First, the hashtag is generic and doesn’t hook up with the model (Ocean Spray) or its major product (cranberries). #CranberryClub would have been a a lot better alternative. Second, few folks use the hashtag for something however product promotion (little doubt organized by way of Ocean Spray as a result of who else would bear in mind the hashtag.)
This Instagram post from Bright America makes use of the hashtag for a enterprise highlight to acknowledge Ocean Spray’s dedication to sustainability:
As you revisit your e-newsletter, take note of Ocean Spray’s Cranberry Membership e-newsletter. Determine the perfect tempo to your viewers’s shopping for cycle. Ship what they anticipate and what could shock them. Create calls to motion to let subscribers study extra concerning the story. However no matter you do, don’t name it a membership.
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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising and marketing Institute