First of all, to clarify, the generally accepted definition of Super Rich is to have assets or net worth of at least $30 million. While some researchers put it at $50 million, and others say $25 million. These vagaries mean that there are different estimates for the population of UHNWs (Ultra High Net Worth families), but they range from slightly over 100,000 to just over 200,000 based on the criteria. Wealth-X reports that the Super Rich spend over $230 billion per year purchasing luxury jewelry, watches, fashion, travel, autos, redecorating their houses, dining out and so forth. In categories such as jewelry, watches and travel this sliver accounts for 20 percent of more of percent all purchases.
When you think about the UHNW population and to put its small size into perspective, keep in mind that 1.3 million people are killed in car accidents each year. Wyoming has 582,000 residents, and even Iceland has a population of 329,000. In other words, while there may not be lots of Super Rich, they are a critical part of the revenue mix for sellers of luxury goods and services.
Last December I launched a weekly travel and lifestyle e-newsletter for private jet owners and C-level executives of companies that operate private jets. In just over six months the readership has grown from 12,000 to over 20,000.
As I was building up the database, I spent a lot of time focusing on what type of content my Super Rich readers wanted, and how they wanted it delivered.
Here are some of the things I’ve found:
- There are lots of ways to become Super Rich. While I always knew that the UHNW community was extremely diverse, looking at who owns private jets and what type of businesses they own and operate reaffirmed that many of the stereotypes are far too narrow. In addition to bankers, tech executives, lawyers, Fortune 500 bosses and the like, I found a surprising amount of farmers, distributors of products from medical devices to fruits and laundry detergent, manufacturers (a number of which after studying their websites I still couldn’t figure out what the things they made did), retailing (from convenience stores to auto dealerships), builders, including one who builds tug boats. It was also revealing how many have made fortunes supplying big companies whose names we know with parts and components that go into the products they make.
- While there may be a concentration of the Super Rich in global capitals, they are all over the place. I have readers in all 50 states and over 50 countries, and my newsletter is only in English.
- They are open to accessible luxury. My report on The Haven, a luxury ‘hotel within a hotel’ aboard NCL’s Breakaway titled, “Can you have a luxury experience on one of the world’s largest cruise ships?” was very popular.
- Hotels under 50 rooms and luxury resorts were at the top of the list on what they want content about, specifically reviews about the different types of suites and villas. At the same time luxury trains, private canal barges and active experiences rate highly. At the same time, when I have done reports on city hotels such as Baur au Lac in Zurich and Peninsula in Shanghai, they have gotten excellent response.
- Email can be very effective if you have content they want. My open rates range from 17 to 42 percent, with even the lowest being about double the normal open rates for this segment, according to people I’ve compared notes with.
- The smartphone is they best way to reach the Super Rich. Over 80 percent of my readers open my emails on their smartphone.
- Holidays are the best time to email the Super Rich. My highest open rates have come on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Easter Saturday and so forth.
- Saturday morning is magic if you want to email the Super Rich. While conventional wisdom in digital marketing is to focus Tuesday to Thursday from 10am to 4pm or Thursday and Friday afternoons as people are starting to think about the weekends, my experience with my UHNW readers is the weekends are significantly better with a cascade of opens as soon as my email gets into their inbox, and then later Saturday night picking up again, peaking again Sunday morning, Sunday night and a final burst Monday morning.
- They hate slide shows. So do I, but this was one thing I was told ‘don’t do it,’ when I was testing formats. I don’t do it, but I am amazed at how many websites do this, obviously to drive extra impressions, which is driven by advertisers who push publishers for quantity over quality when it comes to online experience. In fact, my website is really just an library of past newsletters they can come back to reference.
- The Super Rich want the entire story in the email. While most emails are link bait to go to a website, at least for my content, my readers told me, ‘Give me everything I need to know in one place.’ They told me specifically they didn’t want me to link to important content, but include it in the newsletter, which means my emails run 2,500 to 3,500 words. I’ve been told by having one comprehensive email, it makes it easier to read on their smartphones, both when they are offline or when they are with other people and don’t want to be seen clicking around.
- They don’t read mainstream travel and luxury media. 85 percent told me they don’t read any travel or luxury lifestyle magazines or newsletters. What do they read? Most listed three to five trade magazines or websites, related to their business, then there was a smattering of enthusiast titles related to sailing, diving, fishing, hunting, fitness, watch collecting, yachting, model trains and so forth. No single publication was cited by more 5 percent of my readers. To me, this underscores that brands large and small truly need a separate UHNW marketing strategy — one size does not fit all!
While the above may or may not apply directly to your marketing efforts, I think that some of my experience underscores that when marketing to high-value UHNW customers, simply using the same formats and tactics you do with regular folks might fall short.