Rethinking Email Marketing

A friend sent out an email blast (I hate that word, for good reason) to his ample address book to promote a new project and got a lot of blowback for it. He asked me for my feedback…

1. Just because you have had a previous relationship with someone doesn’t mean you have permission to email them.

Permission marketing is anticipated, personal and relevant messaging. The simple measure is this: Would they miss you if you didn’t mail them? If not, then you’re fooling yourself into thinking you have something you don’t.

2. Blaming the tool.

There are a wealth of powerful email tools out there (like Mailchimp). If your email campaign isn’t working, it’s almost certainly not their fault. Don’t waste time looking for a better pencil–learn to write better.

3. Your mailmerge is broken.

Dear <firstname> is far worse than no mailmerge at all. Here’s the simple test: if you’re not willing to spend fifteen seconds per name reviewing the list and cleaning it up (why did you email me six times?), then don’t expect that we have fifteen seconds to read what you wrote. If you have 4,000 names, that’s 1,000 minutes. Don’t have 1,000 minutes? Don’t send the mail.

4. Text is what humans send.

Corporations send HTML and pretty graphics. Either can work if expectations are set properly, but if you’re a human, act like one.

Click the link to see the other 4 email failures and read the full blog post, Eight Email Failures (And Questions for those who want to do better) written by the brilliant Seth Godin.

f your email promotion is a taking, not a giving, I think you should rethink it. If you still want to take the time and attention and trust of your 4,000 closest friends, think hard about what that means for the connections you’ve built over the years. There are few promotional emergencies that are worth trading your reputation for.

– Seth Godin

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