Promoting Sister Brands without Violating Permission

If you operate more than one brand, it can be tempting to abuse an email opt-in at one of your brands by extending it to your other brands. Because of the dangers of increased spam complaints, the vast majority of brands wisely resist this temptation and many smartly use their email programs to raise awareness of their other brands and secure additional opt-ins.

Gap signup pageThe opportunities start with the email signup form and signup confirmation page. For instance, Gap uses a universal email opt-in page that allows a consumer to sign up for emails from multiple brands at the same time, along with product category preferences as well.

Promoting Sister Brands in Headers and FootersEvery email you send offers an opportunity to raise awareness of your other brands and drive subscribers to the websites of your sister brands. For instance, Toys “R” Us promotes Babies “R” Us in the header of each of their promotional emails. Garnet Hill does the same thing with their Garnet Hill Kids brand.

Because header space is so valuable, it’s more common to promote sister brands in footers. I often refer to these as “sister brand bars,” similar to a social media bar that promotes the social networks where you are active. For instance, Banana Republic, SeaWorld, Neiman Marcus and Crate & Barrel include the logos of all of their sister brands at the bottom of their emails.

Email from Anthropologie sister brand TerrainTaking it up a notch, some brands have included secondary messaging from sister brands, although it’s much more common to send full, dedicated emails from a sister brand. For instance, West Elm periodically sends their subscribers emails from West Elm Market; and Anthropologie recently sent their subscribers an email about their sister brand, Terrain. That email smartly included an opt-in request to get emails from Terrain.

The rule that keeps brands honest when doing this is that these emails should use your usual sender address (preferably your usual sender name as well) and the unsubscribe should cover the brand they opted in to receive messages from, not just the sister brand. If that seems like too big of a risk, then you should stick to the less invasive tactics like sister brand bars.

Whatever your approach, take advantage of the email opt-in you do have to try to secure others, just as you use your email program to build your social following.

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