Unless you overhear a conversation about porn spam, the words “email” and “sexy” don’t get used in the same sentence very often. Email, the loyal silent workhorse of social media, steadfast driver of e-commerce, overshadowed stepsister of search, is more often likened to Martha Stewart – reliable, conservative and past her prime – than Angelina Jolie – slinky, seductive, and unpredictable – although both have built sizable empires of wealth and influence.
That is, until now. Oh yeah, we’re finally bringing sexy back to email marketing.
There’s a heated debate in email marketing over what to do with inactive subscribers and whether or not they can seriously harm a sender’s reputation, deliverability and response enough to justify no longer emailing them. The passion on both sides of this issue – the potential harmful downside of continuing to mail “inactives” juxtaposed with the potential helpful upside of keeping them on your list – makes this argument one worth taking a closer look at.
Given that all things Internet seem to move at the speed of light and come or go overnight, it’s fairly impressive to see commercial email marketing approaching its fifteenth birthday. I remember first becoming involved in email in 1999 and being impressed then with what was creatively and technically possible – even though dial-up Internet connections still outnumbered broadband!
Although anti-spam software and abuse-prevention delivery rules have often thwarted the channel’s technical capabilities (even since its early years - video in email was possible in 2000), there is no excuse to still be mailing like it’s 1999.
photo credit: Rocpoc
It’s probably the number one rookie mistake in advertising and marketing copy writing. It can tank an otherwise exceptional
sales offer to the exact
right audience. It’s guaranteed to bore readers and listeners to death, and it’s a downright sin in direct response.
What is this ill? It is writing or talking about – or to – ourselves rather than our potential and current customers
. In other words, speaking in the language of “me” rather than “you”.
And it's both so pervasive and toxic that it's exactly
why when it comes to much of what you write online – from your email offers to your social media status updates to your product and sales pages – it’s imperative that you answer the question
eternally hovering on the tip of your readers’ tongues: WIIFM?
(What’s In It For Me?)
In other words, that you learn to speak the Language of Results
photo credit: shahsjunkie
With email inboxes more crowded than ever before, simply arriving successfully is half the battle. Assuming you routinely have good deliverability, the second half of that battle is standing out in a crowd.
The majority of email users (more than 70% by some estimates) view the lineup of email messages in their inboxes via preview panes, so only a snapshot of each message is visible either to the right or on the lower half of their screens. Mobile environments can be even worse, eliminating preview-ability altogether.
photo credit: aechempati
One of my email seminar students recently asked: “I feel like the only emails my company ever sends are sales messages: like we’re always asking people to buy, buy, buy. Should we supplement these with other types of email and if so, what?
Don’t feel bad, lack of variety in email marketing is a common dilemma for many marketers. Businesses newer to email or with fewer resources tend to gravitate first and only to promotional messaging, but there is plenty more you can and should communicate to your list.
Here are just a few of the many greetings and message types you should include in your email program:
It’s no secret that in the United States at least, we’re obsessed with size
photo credit: Berto Garcia
. Perhaps stemming from our pioneering roots we equate bigger with better, have a preference for more vs. less (even if it’s far more than we need), and value limitless expanse. Whether it is due to this mentality or other reasons, a similarly pervasive way of thinking has been the mindset in direct marketing for decades.
Yet in an age of awareness about how unfettered human expansion has negatively impacted the environment, times are changing. Sustainability and austerity are in, conspicuous consumption is out. There’s a clear quality over quantity movement underfoot and already visible in social media. I for one say it’s high time this shift made its way fully into email marketing.