Why Your Email Marketing Sucks and What to Do About It!

I have a feeling that when historians classify our generations in history books (or whatever they’re using by then) that it’ll read something like this: “The Internet: The Dawn of Laziness”. Let’s be serious – when every little bit of information, product, or service is just a click away, it’s hard to not to fall into a routine that involves putting forth the least amount of effort possible. Walk to the corner shop for a DVD? Unlikely. I’ll just buy it on Amazon and get it instantly. Check out a few books from the library for the report I’m writing? Wikipedia will do just fine.

While in many cases this convenience is nice, not going the extra mile in email marketing has turned what could be a highly-effective communication method into nothing more than glorified spam. Before you start lamenting the condition of our world, however, think about it this way – everyone else’s lackluster marketing attempts are golden opportunities for you to be a diamond in the rough, a catcher in the rye, a man on a ledge – well, you get the idea. Having email marketing content that’s relevant, engaging, and memorable can make all the difference between your newsletter getting opened and tossed in the “spam” folder.

Take my Uncle Paul, for instance. Potentially a valuable customer (his yacht in the Bahamas didn’t pay for itself, I’ll tell you that much). That said, he’s a tough guy to reach. His daily email check usually involves hitting the “delete all” button, unless he sees something that looks like it might be particularly interesting. Anything that remotely seems like it’s trying to make a sale, or worse, force a product down his throat, gets tossed immediately. On the other hand, he’s a sucker for a good read. Hand him an article that’s interesting, funny, or even weird, and he’ll be hooked. So how’s this all relate to email marketing?

As it turns out, my Uncle Paul is a perfect example of a customer that could be converted through relationship marketing. By sending him emails that are personal, fun to read, and more than just corporate blah-blah, you manage to bypass his airtight defenses and become someone he likes, and, more importantly, trusts. Now that he sees you in a different light than the average salesperson, you’ll have a much better success rate when offering him a product or service.

Of course, no matter how much Uncle Paul loves your writing, you’re probably not going to sell him on a product that he doesn’t want or need. That’s where targeting comes in. Through interacting with your potential clients (surveys, seeing what freebies of yours they download, even one-on-one interaction), you can personalizing the type of offers you send Uncle Paul. (Hint: think “golf”.) Now you’re doing him two services in one – he’s entertained by your emails/newsletters, and you’re bringing relevant offers right to his virtual doorstep. Now there’s a customer in a bag!

So, next time you prepare to send out an email blast, keep these things in mind: Is it entertaining? Is it different? Is it relevant? If you can check off all those three categories, you’re in good shape – get emailing!

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