SMACK Series: Embrace Email

Hello and welcome to post number three in our SMACK Series. If you haven’t read our first two posts in this series, I recommend starting with the first post which you can find here.

Inevitably, when I talk to people about our program, someone in the meeting says: “Email?!? I hate email. Nobody wants email. Do we have to do email?”

A lot of people wonder this very thing — who knows, you may or may not be one of these people. The short answer to this question is yes, but in my head I’m always thinking if you only knew…

Why email?

There’s a very long list of reasons why email makes sense. Here’s a few:

  • Because it is people’s favorite and most requested way of getting information from companies (Marketing Sherpa)
  • It is the number one activity on smartphones and it has been for a long time (Email Monday)
  • Email opens and activity are an incredible source of data and information about the audience you are building (FulcrumTech)
  • New integrations, software and design tools make it easier, more personal, more insightful and more effective than ever
  • Did we mention that it works?

We think the key to effective communication is to find the right person and then talk to them the way you would a new acquaintance. Do this until you’ve known them for a while, then talk to them the way you would someone you’ve known a while. Yeah, it is that simple. Oh, and don’t just talk – listen as well.

See, brands and agencies have made the mistake of adopting a professional marketing tone of voice that is third person, semi-formal (or hyper-stylized), and inauthentic. Technology is meant to help us scale our conversations, but our practice of communication has adopted an impersonal edge to it. We are fans of personal marketing. So, we talk to people like people.

Making It All Work Together

The key to email is offering something people want or want to learn more about. If there’s nothing in your company, your product, your service or your brand that people want to know more about, then you have another problem. We’ve not met many companies like that.

Finding this “something-people-want-to-know-more-about” requires that you know your audience and your company well. We call this finding the hook. A hook is something that will get attention and generate enough interest to get a click. It has to get a click because this hook will be packaged in an ad that sends people to some sort of landing page where we ask for their email to begin with – this is when the email series starts; it’s hook to ad to email.

The only way for that to work is for there to be a conceptually linear thread running between them. For example, if you are selling boots (my partner knows a thing or two about this), then giving away a pair of boots is a great hook. Package up that hook inside an ad with a beautiful photo of the boots. The ad would take you to a landing page where you’d enter the giveaway, and that would trigger an email offering you a 24-hour coupon to shop the product.

More happens after the giveaway—like additional content about products and the lifestyle surrounding the products—but the key is a straight line from hook to emails to additional content.

Content Is The Key

After you have run through the series of emails from the initial hook, you’ll want to keep your new audience engaged. The best way to do this is by giving them additional interesting, informative, entertaining content. If you are just emailing them asking them to buy all the time, you’ll start losing people.

This is often why companies abandon email. They just hammer people repeatedly with BUY messages, people (of course) unsubscribe, and then people tell me “email doesn’t work!” Well, if the only thing I ever said to you was “do you want to buy this?”, would we have much of a friendship? Yeah, it’s a dumb question. Why do we think human relationships have different rules where marketing it concerned? …I don’t know either.

We think every company has so much interesting content buried within it just waiting to be mined, packaged, offered and delivered to an audience that would love to read, listen and watch it. This is why our hook > ad > email  content marketing program works so well.

Until tomorrow.

Sean

P.S. We love helping companies discover their content and develop their hooks. Drop me a line and we can chat about yours.