I am often asked to present at seminars and conferences to discuss email and lifecycle marketing. I kept hearing the analogy of how email marketing and dating are very similar. With my ten-year wedding anniversary approaching, I thought I would evolve the dating analogy to how email is like a marriage.
1. A good marriage takes dedication, work and effort.
You can’t take your marriage for granted and you can’t let the “wow” factor go out of it. For email, you can’t mail infrequently and expect to build a strong, loyal relationship with your subscribers. Mail on a regular basis to stay top of mind with your prospects and customers.
And, you can’t do the same thing over and over and expect different results. If you send the same message out month after month or the same offer, it will lose momentum. Switch things up and test new ideas or concepts. Your subscribers are constantly changing and evolving, so your marketing needs to follow suit. Don’t let your readers get bored with you or their eye may start to stray to your competitor. 2.
Marriage is a give and take relationship.
Always focus on your subscribers. When you began the relationship, what did you promise them? Are you still delivering on that promise, or have you strayed? Have their needs changed as time passed? Don’t just guess what they want. Learn from their behavior. Are they opening your emails and what are they clicking on (if anything)? Ask them what they want and give it to them.
Any good relationship is built on mutual respect. If you expect your subscribers to open and act on your messages you must respect them. Use good email practices by only sending your subscribers what you promised when they signed up for your list. Don’t dishonor them by over mailing or sharing their email addresses with other businesses. Don’t buy lists either. You’ll only end up wasting your time mailing people who don’t want or expect to hear from you. They’ll report you as spam or unsubscribe – the email equivalent of a divorce. And, at VR we don’t allow you to email to a rented or purchased list.
4. You marry the whole family.
When you get married you don’t just marry your spouse, but their entire family comes along with the deal…for better or for worse. The same goes for your email messages. When you send out your email, your subscribers can forward it to a friend and they can share it with their social networks. They can help spread the word about something great, or call attention to something not so great. My advice is to make sure you proof, edit and spell-check every message before you push the send button. There is nothing more embarrassing than sending out your email and realizing you have a broken link or a typo.
5. Things may get rocky.
Not every marriage is a match made in heaven – over 50% end in divorce – so realize that not every single subscriber is going to open every message you send. In fact a good, average open rate is around 25%. And, try as you might, approximately 30% of subscribers will unsubscribe from any given list each year, so you constantly need to grow your list. The easiest way is to include an opt-in form on your website, blog and your Facebook page or other social networks.