“Why do some marketers say that email is dead and others insist it is incredibly powerful?
Like most things, it all depends on how they use it and what they write.”
~ Debra Hilton
What is the Purpose of Email?
The purpose of email and all marketing efforts is to build a strong relationship with your prospects and customers.
I have observed that most of the people who are complaining about their email list subscribers dropping off and open rates declining write terribly boring and transactional emails. CORRECTION: They outsource their emails to a cheap company that pumps out generic content. They confuse noise and word count with relationship.
Email, like any other engagement effort, is effective when it contributes to a relationship that both parties value. If your email is entertaining or informative then your readers will stay engaged – as long as they are interested in the topic. When they stop reading, then the question you should ask is:
Is this about me, or is it about them?
Maybe your recipient …
- Is no longer interested in the subject
- Has already bought from your competitor
- Has solved the problem some other way
- Doesn’t like your solution
- Was exploring your offering for some other reason
In that case, the lack of interest is about them.
But, MAYBE your recipient …
- Was bored… Or realised that your emails were just re-hashed information
- Felt that you lacked authority or gravitas
- Couldn’t afford your product or services
- Believed that you were just out to waste their time.
THAT is a problem that you need to solve – pronto!
How Did People Get On Your Email List in the First Place?
February is always the month when people get out their marking plans and try to leap into high gear. This year is even more dramatic, especially here in Australia as businesses look at the end of government support and realise they need to work fast and hard to avoid going under.
I understand the challenges – especially if you’re in hospitality and waiting to see what will be the next body-blow you have to absorb – but mostly, the hospitality industry zeroed in months ago. It’s the other businesses that are scrambling now… And some of them are being obnoxiously non-compliant.
You see, email has been ‘permission based’ for many years. Of course, there have always been spammers, but over the past 2 months or so, I’m finding that people whom I have met previously have added me to their list.
Just because you have a person’s email address doesn’t mean that you have their permission to bulk email them!
It really doesn’t!
Just this past week I have unsubscribed from 14 different lists – lists to which I never subscribed in the first place even though I recognised the names of the senders. I was careful simply to select the: “I no longer want to receive these emails” option – not the spam selection because I don’t want to hurt their reputation – but I suspect they’ll do it to themselves.
The only way to get on my list is to subscribe personally. I don’t even auto-subscribe clients for anything more than transactional communications, although I do recommend that they sign-up to stay in touch and understand what is going on in the marketing world.
If you are sending broadcast emails:
- Get people’s permission first,
- Give them reasons to engage with your emails,
- When you change your business, don’t assume that people who cared about your emails as a business coach, will want to hear from you as an accountant.
… Your Website?
Yes, you do need one.
And it should engage visitors and help them connect with your products and services so they feel an interest in what you have to offer.
If you are selling high-ticket items or on-going services, then give them a chance to learn more about you. Getting them on your email list is a great way to develop their interest and build trust – often people who won’t sign up for a consultation will sign up for your email list… And then it’s up to you to woo them with your words.
An effective website isn’t about the frills, the colours, or the layout.
Ultimately, it’s about how effectively you answer the question they were asking when they landed on it: can this person or business help me solve my problem?