Cooking the BACN

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Email, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Technology, Web | Posted on 09-27-2007

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What is that haunting aroma? *sniff sniff* Smells like your email campaign. Smells like BACN.

Bacn (pronounced bacon) is the term given to electronic messages which have been subscribed to and are therefore not unsolicited but are often unread by the recipient for a long period of time. Bacn is email you want but not right now. [...] Commentators have welcomed the distinction from spam and used the term to focus businesses on the need to improve the quality and value (to the recipient) of these kinds of transactional messages.

Ever since I joined the Butler staff, I have been working towards taking over the email ‘marketing’. (I prefer to call it email communication, sounds less BACN’y). It’s been a great challenge to come up with emails that are engaging, from the subject to the body to the call-to-action. Even the littlest details such as the “from” can make a big difference in the open/conversion rates. How are your prospects getting their BACN? According to definition, they have made some sort of action that has opted them in to your campaigns. [Perhaps you bought their name, also.  Nothing says opt-in like some $$$]. 

Are you giving them the BACN?  Well, stop it. Give them something healthier. Lighter. Easier to digest. Like watermelon on a hot August day.  Something that they want to read.  Get creative with your emails, stop copy/pasting text from a Word document and calling it an email.  Letters and email are totally different worlds. 

Below is one of my favorite emails that we have sent this summer/fall. From the subject line to the message, it’s a light-hearted last effort to get suspects to make the action that converts them to a prospect (all integrated using Brian’s awesome skills, of course. This email was sent twice.

First Send: 56,000 recipients.
From: Butler University
Subject: Butler is ‘Blue’ Without You! (play on words with our mascot)
Detected Unique Opens: 5,178 (7.7%)

Second Send: 50,000 recipients  (those who didn’t open 1st email)
From: Butler U.
Subject: Was it something we said? (goes with ‘relationship’ message of email)
Detected Unique Opens: 5,253 (8.4%)

And of course, the email. No, not our school colors. No, not our ‘message’. No, not that serious at all. However. Yes, 10,000 of 56,000 recipients (18%) saw it. MORE students opened the 2nd one than the first, we’re assuming that’s because of the subject line.

A large percentage of these students looked at the email and said “Yeah, I think I’d like to keep getting stuff from this school.” The numbers aren’t groundbreaking and aren’t near any of our top response rates, but that many more are remaining in the funnel for potential matriculation. Feel free to comment on your thoughts about BACN. And without further ado, the email. Enjoy!

[Click to enlarge]

Comments posted (2)

Haha, I love the ad! The subjects are good too!

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