ProFlowers email of the day–how to make a strong offer

Every once in a while, I get a great email from one of the many companies I do business with online. Today’s great email is from ProFlowers and contains both an outstanding offer and some great strategic thinking.

Unbeknownst to me, ProFlowers suffered from some serious downtime yesterday. And with it getting close to Valentine’s Day ordering season, that’s a huge problem. The good news is that their website is fixed.

The better news is that I’m saving 15% off my wife’s Valentine’s Day flowers!

I’m a regular customer of ProFlowers and have been for years. The product is good, the pricing is (I assume) good and they make it their business to stay in touch with me with offers relevant to my gift-giving needs.

Today’s email featuring the 15% discount was a surprise to me, as I wasn’t on the website yesterday. The email also features a “forward to a friend” option that allows me to extend the discount to as many friends as I’d like.

So why is the potential cannibalization of full-price sales a good thing?

After all, ProFlowers should be able to tell that I never hit their site yesterday and wasn’t impacted by the outage. And their CRM system should tell them that I’m pretty likely to buy from them anyway.

But this is a good idea for the following reasons:

  1. It locks in the sale. I’m getting hit pretty regularly now with offers for Valentine’s Day. This gives ProFlowers a chance at ensuring I buy from them (locking in 85% of the revenue) as opposed to 1-800 Flowers or any of the alternatives (yielding 0% of the revenue)
  2. Generates word of mouth. Of in this case, word of blog. The email pass-alongs probably won’t yield a lot of sales, nor will this blog post. However, at a very low CPA for the sales they generate (it’s not $0 if you assign the revenue forgone to new customer acquisition, although I’m not sure how they’re allocating the costs.)
  3. Increases the size of the prospect database. As part of the process of passing along the email to friends, ProFlowers generates invaluable data that gives them new prospects to market to or, at the very least, adds data elements to the original recipient’s data record.

I’m assuming that ProFlowers is running a series of tests on this email as well and is tracking the performance of people who actually were impacted by the outage, different discount amounts, landing page experiences, etc.

Summary and takeaways

  1. Don’t obsess about cannibalization. Test discounts and offer differences across channels, and don’t let your desire to never cannibalize and sell everything for full price get in the way of a good offer. The caveat of course, is you need to do the math before you dream up a potentially revenue-impacting test.
  2. Remember that pricing is fully transparent. If you put an offer out there, the world will know and tell their friends. Use transparency to your advantage to drive WOM whenever possible.
  3. It’s the offer. As the direct response saying goes, “if you want to dramatically improve your response, dramatically improve your offer.”

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