This is how a lot of marketing emails look. What’s the problem with this?

This is how a lot of marketing emails look. What’s the problem with this?

Remember 8th grade? It was awkward for me. I would pop in an image of my school picture here but I burned them. ANYWAY, in 8th grade my best friend was Cecilia, we both loved The X-Files and I had a huge crush on David Duchovny. And we wrote each other letters. Long letters—I know some of them were about The X-Files but otherwise I really don’t remember what they were about.  We passed them to each other at lunch and after school. (Even though we sat together at lunch.) 

Did you write letters in junior high? Maybe you wrote long emails to friends in college. Or had long, flirty texts to people you’ve dated. 

What do those communications have in common? They are one-to-one. 

But a marketing email is not one-to-one. It goes out to a list - an audience.

Obviously, you can’t address marketing email to each individual personally. You send to a list. But the person receiving your email is managing an inbox full of emails that are one-to-one messages. If you send something that doesn’t sound like it’s one-to-one, it reads as spam.

So when I write emails to my list, I ask myself, “Does it sound like I wrote it to just one person?”

When you’re emailing your list, you’re managing two seemingly competing interests: crafting a note that feels like it came from you to me vs. creating a piece of marketing that serves a purpose in our business. You can see them as competing or you can merge them together.

Step 1. Start by sending an email that has a purpose for your business, but resist the urge to think that means your email must contain 10 images, loads of !!!! and BOLD ITALICIZED CAPS

Step 2. Here’s how I make my marketing email sound like I wrote it to someone in particular: I… write it to someone in particular.  I always have a particular person in mind when I write an email. Not a particular type of person. It’s an actual person I know. (It’s not always the same person.)

When I do that, that means that some people are not really going to resonate with what I write. I get that. But the benefits of doing this outweigh that negative, (if that even is negative). 

When my clients start working with me, they are writing posters. It’s not font or the images; It’s the headspace they’re in when they write. “This  single piece of writing needs to capture everyone’s attention!” Not only is that not possible, it requires you, the writer, to sacrifice the exact element you need in order to capture attention: SPECIFICITY.

With email, you have the opportunity to make each member of your list feel like I did when Cecilia handed me a carefully folded up letter freshly torn from her 3-ring notebook. Excited! Intrigued. Interested.

I could list so many other reasons why you should keep one person in mind when you write marketing email. But I want to share one important reason that I don’t hear a lot of people talk about: it saves you time. Stop GUESSING at what people want to hear and start asking yourself, “How would I explain this to Cecilia?” 


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