Does this sound familiar?
“Oh, Joel Miller, you’ve just found the marble in the oatmeal. You’re a lucky, lucky, lucky little boy. ‘Cause you know why? You get to drink from… the FIRE HOSE!”
– “Stanley Spadowski” in the classic Weird Al 80s hit “UHF”
Rewarding your subscriber’s action by unleashing hell on their inbox? There’s got to be a better way, right?
Email done right is not an ad, a self-serving message, and definitely not a fire hose unleashing untargeted, unrequested content. No. Email is a relationship builder. And relationships aren’t one-sided, are they?
Think of email marketing like a savings account: You pay into the account (building your credibility and establishing your relationship and brand). You pay more than you take out, and you only take out “payments” when it’s the right time to do.
How do you build that relationship to take out those payments? You provide value.
You provide value by learning about your customers and giving them the information they need to make an informed decision. Enable your subscribers to make the decision as quickly or as slowly as they need. Be persuasive, be patient, and don’t sell an empty bill of goods. Consumers will see straight through that.
I think about GroupOn and how in the year or so I’ve been signed up for their email program, I have not once purchased one of their deals. Why? Because the deals haven’t hit the right spot for me. My wife has bought a GroupOn or two because they have.
Ultimately, the value is there because there is entertainment value and anticipation in waiting for the next deal. Maybe one day, there will be enough deposits into the savings account that the right deal will come along and GroupOn can withdraw a bit.
There are many ways you can provide value. Here are a few:
- Third-party reviews, testimonials, and endorsements
- Intriguing stories and deals (think GroupOn and Woot)
- Microsites and videos
- Free trials and demos
The main idea here is to send in your deposits without forcing them down people’s throats. Don’t turn on the fire hose (unless your subscribers want it).
Relationships are about trust. Trust is built over time—and it can be destroyed in an instant. David Ogilvy said it best:
“The consumer isn’t a moron; she’s your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything. She wants all the information you can give her.”