Lately I seem to be particularly sensitive to poorly targeted promotions which leave me feeling like a number rather than a client or partner. I’ve called this post ‘how to ruin potential sales’ as the people who send me these promotions are ruining their chance of me buying from them.
So What Are We Talking About?
Yesterday I received an email promotion from qHero. If you aren’t familiar with qHero – they are a business which offer services for stock photographers. I have been using qHero to upload stock images to iStockphoto since early 2017. More recently they started offering a stats feature and a retouching service. You can read about that in this post – qHero Stats Feature.
I shoot a lot of Melbourne lifestyle stock content, so am a potential customer to qHero retouching service
What Was the Content?
Taken directly from the email, here is the offer from qHero.
“Retouching Special – 50% Off
With the summer over us, we feel that at least you should get to enjoy the sun. We know how much time and effort retouching takes, and it seems even longer during the summer. Whether the time is spent on managing retouchers inhouse or outsourced, or even worse doing the retouching yourself, it is guaranteed to keep you out of the sun.
We offer you 50% off on up to 200 files in retouching.
Convert the time saved from retouching, into time in the sun, makes it an easy choice. We are happy because we get to show you how awesomely easy it is to manage retouching directly in the tool you use already for uploading.
All you have to do is to use the promo code XXXXXXXX when ordering. This promo is valid until August 31st 2018, and as always we would love to hear what you think after trying our retouching service.”
Why is This Going to Ruin Potential Sales
This is going to ruin potential sales as it is poorly targeted!
I live in Melbourne, Australia where it is currently mid winter. It’s dark, cold and wet. At this time of year we spend more time indoors, and I spend some of that time doing post production work.
The idea of “convert time saved from retouching into time in the sun” is a nice idea, but would require me to book airline tickets and head to the airport! Hello Queensland or Fiji!
Today was a maximum of 12 degrees celsius in Melbourne. It’s not exactly summery right now!
What’s My Take Out from the qHero Email
I understand that the bulk of qHero customers will be in the northern hemisphere where it is currently summer. However, as they’ve sent me a summer promotion in the middle of winter it leaves me to think:
- they don’t care about customers in the southern hemisphere
- qHero don’t want customers in the southern hemisphere
- they don’t have much attention to detail. (It would be ironic not have much attention to detail for a retouching service!)
- although I have 10,000+ images at iStock and have uploaded more than 300 batches of images through qHero, I am just another ‘anonymous user’ to them
So, unfortunately qHero have ruined the chance of a sale by sending me a poorly targeted email promotion.
What Can We Learn
I am a believer that every business, big and small, can learn from experiences like this. I run a one person photography business, and many of the readers of Beyond Here are also running one person creative businesses. We have an advantage over big businesses because all of our customers are local. There’s no chance of me sending a summer promotion to a customer in mid winter (unless they have moved overseas without me knowing!) While it’s not likely that local businesses can make this ‘mistake’ there are lessons to learn.
Right now it’s cold in Melbourne. People are wearing coats and hats. Not quite the right time for a summer promotion email
Key Take Outs
I see three key take outs from this experience.
Number 1 – Personalize offers where possible. Being offered a summer promotion in the middle of winter tells me this is a mass mailing to a large number of people. Immediately I know that it is not targeted to me. Small business owners who really know their customers won’t make this mistake.
Number 2 – Know your customer. In this case, it seems qHero haven’t taken the time to really know their customer. I can’t remember whether I provided location information when I signed up for their upload service. I expect I didn’t. But I have uploaded more than 300 batches of images to iStock through qHero ….. and more than 290 of those batches would have the keyword “Australia”. A similar number would have the keywords “Melbourne” and “Victoria”. It would be fair to assume that I live in Australia based on those numbers. And right now in Melbourne it’s definitely not summer.
Number 3 – Don’t treat everyone the same. This point is similar to point 1 where we can learn to personalize offers. I wonder if qHero segmented their users based on how often they upload through qHero? or how many batches they upload? It feels to me like they didn’t, and that reinforces the lesson – don’t treat everyone the same.
The Wrap Up
I hope there are some key messages in here which will help your business and will make sure you don’t ruin potential sales. If you have had a similar experience, please share it in the comments. And finally, if the good people at qHero ever read this post, I think your upload and stats services are great. In your promotions I’m much more likely to buy something if you make me feel like a client or a partner. Thanks for reading ‘How to Ruin Potential Sales’.