Email Marketing Best Practices From ‘Seinfeld’: It’s Not All About Nothing!

If you get to know me on a more personal level (or if you already do), you already know that I can pretty much tie back any professional or personal situation back to an episode of "Seinfeld" (I know, it’s pathetic – but come on, you sometimes laugh don’t you?).

However, a recent article in Marketing Profs about email marketing really caught my attention. That article, titled Three Email Marketing Tips From Seinfeld, pointed to three absurd scenes from the show that actually support how to integrate email marketing best practices. One instance really stood out to me:

The Chinese Restaurant. While waiting for a table, Jerry, Elaine, and George notice the maître d' seating favored diners who arrived after them. And although the maître d' is wrong to snub anyone, the way he targets his best customers is savvy business practice. You should use your knowledge of your customers to segment your list.”

I recently worked with the Johns Hopkins Medicine International (JHI) marketing team on streamlining their email marketing process – specifically on how to best target their e-newsletters to multiple demographics around the globe.

What did we know about our customers?  Certainly we knew that subscribers were from all over the world – everywhere from Baltimore to Beijing. This means at any given broadcast, customers could be receiving e-newsletters at varying times during the day – depending on their specific location.

What metrics needed to be improved? Over a six-month period, we noticed that the general open rate of our newsletters was average at best. During its inception, the JHI e-newsletters were always broadcast a time convenient for subscribers from the United States.

But what about our subscribers in Japan? They would be getting the newsletter in the middle of the night and never see our information at an optimal time. We were basically the maître d’ saying, “Oh that will be five, ten minutes.” (if you’ve seen "The Chinese Restaurant" you know what this means).

With that in mind, we segmented our recipient lists based on geographic location and scheduled all broadcasts to be sent in the morning. This required more work on the back end but work increased open rates. In fact, open rates went from 10 percent to nearly 15 percent just by targeting our lists more effectively.

And as Kenny Bania would say, “That’s Gold Jerry!”