How’d that Thanksgiving email work out?


Unlike a lot of people, I worked the week of Thanksgiving. I can say “unlike a lot of people” because every email I sent out had an out-of-office returned telling me they’ve gone to gobble turkey and sit uncomfortably next to relatives they prefer not to see. (Ok – maybe the last part I embellished a bit, but you know so many of us do this!)

During the peak of my morning emails, I received no fewer than 45 different Thanksgiving messages. Did I open any of them? Nope. I’m too busy plowing through and I simply hit delete on every one of them.

But wait, I did open ONE message…

A really good friend of mine, Judy Hoberman of Selling in a Skirt, sent a different message. Her subject line was well written, “My Thanksgiving Message for You” seemed much more personal than some of the others. If you knew Judy (and I highly recommend you learn more about her and if you would like an introduction, I’m happy to make one) she really does care about others. You feel it everything she says and writes.

To compare Judy’s subject line to others, you’ll see why hers was better:

  • One was a Thanksgiving Coupon – yeesh
  • The standard, “Happy Thanksgiving” was on more than 15 of them
  • A special “Thanksgiving Marketing Tip” didn’t resonate with me at all

But wait, what did the message say?

When you opened the message, you knew right away Judy had penned her own thoughts. She didn’t have her office do the work or had an automated service do the work. She simply wrote:

Last night I picked up my “special deliveries” at the airport. Having both my children home is a feeling like no other. Having friends like you…makes the picture complete.
My Thanksgiving wish for you this year….


Have a wonderful day and an amazing holiday season.

This entire message is just so…Judy. I quickly responded wishing her and her family a wonderful holiday. I hit “send” and started going about my business for the day.

Then this got me thinking…

But wait, how did the message resonate with others?

I picked up the phone Wednesday afternoon and called Judy about her email. She answered the phone like she was expecting my call, which is a gift she also has in making you feel invited all the time. Then I asked her about her email. She was gracious in answering and after a quick yet quiet, even contemplative, moment she said, “I only sent that message out to chosen friends.”

Boom – that’s her secret recipe.

We must do away with the obligatory mailings of holiday cards and holiday messaging. I’m sure Hallmark and would be none-too-thrilled about my advice today.

You can’t see who opened your holiday cards in the mail, but you sure can see who opened your message if you use an email software package like Constant Contact, MailChimp, or Exact Target.

I asked Judy if she would be willing to share her open rates and sentiment with me and as always, she obliged as she knew this would make others betters. Again, it’s just so Judy!

The results are in!

I want to preface Judy had NO INTENTION EVER of this being something she measured. Literally, I called her at home with her family in the background and asked her about her email.

The results were quite staggering. The success of the email was actually built on YEARS of know, like, trust factors Judy painstakingly instilled in her relationships. If you’ve not taken the time to get to know clients previously, no amount of email marketing (big or small) will go quite so right.

The emails between the Thanksgiving-type of emails are what mattered. The Thanksgiving message was merely the icing on the cake which had already been baking all year long.

Over the weekend, Judy went back and looked at her open rates, sentiment, and return on the impact of the email message. Just look at some of the replies she received back:

Thanks so much for the beautiful email! I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family and friends! and I hope you are still enjoying your time with them.
Reconnecting with you has been so wonderful! ~Thank U my friend. Enjoy your family!!! ~ I am grateful for our connection.
Enjoy your children and I’ll look forward to talking with you soon.
Aww Judy, I love you too! I am very happy you will be spending the day with those closest to your heart!
I’m preparing dinner for 22 friends and family this year!!
I know we will have another day surrounded by love and kindness and always laughter!!
My Hello’s and Love to you and yours!!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Blessings to you and yours!

These were only a HANDFUL of responses she received back. You see, she made the email special because Judy is endearing, her business offer is appealing, and her value proposition is unique. (You can watch her in this TEDx on “Missed Opportunities” and understand more about why her email resonated so well with others:

So ask yourself the question – what WAS our return on the company Thanksgiving message which went out? Did we do our job the rest of the year in building a strong know, like, trust factor with our clients? How can we do it better next year?

Be bigger, better, and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite




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