AMA Charleston Announces Spark! Giving Award

The American Marketing Association, Charleston Chapter (AMA Charleston) is pleased to announce a new category in this year’s Spark! Awards, recognizing the outstanding creative achievements of Charleston area marketers. The Giving Award will commend the work of an individual or company based in the tri-county area that has donated a marketing service(s) to a nonprofit organization.

In addition to The Giving Award, AMA Charleston’s Spark! Awards include a wide variety of categories intended to recognize the outstanding work of area creatives and marketers, including categories for individual projects, overall marketing campaigns, and social media channels. Additionally, the winner of Charleston’s most prestigious marketing award, Marketer of the Year, is announced at the Spark! Awards gala.

Maggie Mills, president-elect of AMA Charleston, explains the motivation for this new award. “We wanted to showcase the kindness and generosity of our creative community. So many people generously give of their time with no reward other than the contentment of a kind heart. It’s time to recognize this special type of philanthropy.”

Entries may be submitted until January 31 at See the website for more details. AMA Charleston encourages nonprofit organizations to nominate donors of marketing services. Individuals and companies may also apply on their own behalf. Submission fees are waived for this special award category.

In conjunction with the launch of The Giving Award, a new sponsorship opportunity is available for any person or company who would like to support The Giving Award. Contact Amanda Culver Wynns for details (

The Spark! Awards gala is being held March 8 at Harborside East and is open to the public. For tickets, go to

Are you chasing away your customers?

“How much is too much?”


Do you find yourself wondering, “How often should I send out an email? How many times in one week? When will they opt out?”


The answer to all of those questions is, “It depends.”


Never send out an email unless you have something to offer. Do you have new inventory? Are you having a sale? That is information of value to your recipient. “Come shop in our store.” Or “Call me to make an appointment,” is not enough to capture someone’s attention.


eNewsletter – once a month. Include at least one picture. You can use eNews to talk about schedule changes, upcoming specials, events, or sales. Newsletters also provide an opportunity to recognize milestones for employees and customers – like birthdays, anniversaries, and awards.


Value Added – once a week. Recipes, Tips & Tricks, DIY projects. Give your subscribers a reason to open the email and continue reading.


Events – Major, once a year events can be promoted four months or more in advance. This is especially helpful to people who are traveling for the event. It assures that your event gets onto their schedule ahead of others, and allows guests time to make travel and hotel reservations.


Small gatherings should be promoted at least two weeks in advance.


As the event becomes closer, increase the frequency of email and social media notifications. Always include a link to register for the event. To build anticipation, include pictures of previous years’ events.


Send out “warning” notices for event registration, and include the timeframe in the subject line. “Only 2 days left to get your tickets.” “Join us tonight!” Always send out notices the day before and the day of an event. Include helpful information in these last-minute emails, such as suggested parking in large cities, and any directional information that isn’t provided by GPS, such as, “Entrance is in the rear.” “The hall is on the third floor.”


If you have a lot of content, you may consider segmenting the type of emails you have. Many email programs allow the recipient to choose the frequency or types of emails they receive.


Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools you can implement. Remember to add it to your editorial calendar and make sure the content is consistent with your other channels.


Maggie Mills is the founder and CEO of Black Book Marketing and president-elect of the Charleston AMA.