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Is the Timehop Flashback Approach Right for Your Next Inbox Campaign?

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If you’ve logged on to Facebook at any point in time over the last few years, chances are that you’ve seen a friend, family member, or associate post a photo or “memory” from the past via the Timehop app. Considering how fun it can be to look back on these moments, it’s no big surprise that this app is all the rage right now.

However, is the Timehop craze just some passing fad, or are there any lessons the world of email marketing can learn from this app before you roll out your next inbox campaign? To answer this question, let’s spend some time looking over the particulars of Timehop, as well as how the features found within could create an unforgettable email marketing experience for your audience.

What Is Timehop?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Timehop app, it’s a good idea provide a quick overview before we delve into the overlap between this social phenomenon and the world of email marketing. Essentially, Timehop is a “memory reminder” app that searches through a user’s post history on Facebook for images, updates, and other offerings that might be interesting or otherwise memorable.

While it sounds fairly mundane on the surface, providing daily reminders of events that happened on the same date one year ago creates a unique and engaging experience for those who utilize Timehop. Nostalgia is a powerful motivator, so it’s no big surprise that this feature blends so well with the desire of the Facebook audience to share memories and fond past experiences with one another.

In terms of just how popular Timehop is with this crowd, TechCrunch’s Colleen Taylor points out that this app recently surpassed the 12 million registered user mark, with six million of these individuals opening the app on a daily basis. Considering that Taylor goes on to note that both of these numbers doubled during a five month period leading up to the end of 2014, and plenty of competitors – including Facebook itself – have tried to get in on the hype with Timehop knockoffs, it’s safe to say that there’s definitely some lessons to be learned from this social media craze.

How Does the Timehop Flashback Method Fit into the World of Email Marketing?

As far as pulling ideas from Timehop and applying it to your email marketing strategy goes, Jason Warnock of Marketing Land points to three big concepts that every brand and marketer should aim to implement within their inbox offerings: Emphasizing nostalgia, targeting returning customers, and zeroing in on buying cycles within your audience.

As we covered earlier, Timehop has exploded onto the social media scene thanks to that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with a healthy dose of nostalgia. By emphasizing nostalgia within your marketed message content via events, places, or former connections – or even resending older offerings that evoked a strong response from your audience the first time around – your brand can capitalize on this feeling and build a Timehop-style experience within the inbox.

Additionally, Warnock goes on to explain that this effect works wonders with the portion of your following that falls into the “return customer” category. “Remember when” emails that trigger based on a site visit or interaction can help remind these customers of a positive experience with your brand or a previously purchased item, thereby resulting in higher conversion rates and a better return on your investment (ROI) than campaigns that focus on new visitors and first-time buyers.

The “reminder” cycle of Timehop also provides a strong basis for changing around the timing of your email marketing operations. By flashing back to important points in the cycle with fun reminders or even time-sensitive discounts, your campaign can maximize the sense of urgency created within these periods and remain seasonally relevant with its audience.

Molding This Approach to Your Next Campaign

Going a step further, incorporating the ideas of fashionability and durability into your operations can also help optimize this content and provide you with the basis for appropriate flashback message timing. Fashionability refers to the process of molding and shaping your approach to current trends within your audience (what’s “in” and how does your older flashback content reflect these trends?), while durability addresses the reality that the lifespan of your products might not always be conducive to this kind of long-term approach.

As you can see, adopting a Timehop-style approach could be the key to an exciting and impactful opportunity to interact with your audience. The only question left to answer now is whether or not your brand is ready to hit its inbox following with a smart, savvy, and engaging blast from the past.

About Victor Green

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