Whether you already have an email marketing program in place or are looking to establish one, there is one thing you need to keep in mind, RELATIONSHIPS. Too many companies seem to be driven by what I call “EMAIL BLAST THINKING”.
The problem with “email blast thinking” is that it is very transactional and short term focused. An email blast is an attempt to get someone to do something right now, rather than a long term investment. If you have a large enough database of existing and prospective customers, you may catch one of them at the right time and get “rewarded” with a sale every once in a while.
If you make a sale you can earn a commission. If you make a friend you can earn a fortune. -Jeffrey Gitomer
But at what cost?
How did your one sided digital interaction further the relationship with the other customers or prospects that you sent the “blast” to? Was your email focused on making a sale or building a relationship? Did your blast build a barrier between the majority of people that sent the email to by being all about you? Keep in mind that these people have already given you either their money (customers) or trusted you with their email address (prospects).
The 80/20 Rule of Email Marketing
As with any relationship, building relationships with email marketing is about give and take. However, when it comes to email marketing, you typically haven’t developed the same rapport/relationship with people you interact with in person. For this reason, I believe in a 80/20 “rule of thumb” for email marketing. That is to say that, 80% of your emails should be for the benefit of person you are sending it to and 20% about yourself/your company.
While the specific method(s) you use to build relationships with email marketing will vary based on your target audience, brand, product/service, etc.. There are four general categories that you can use as a starting point to turn your email marketing into a relationship building medium:
- Save money- DO NOT OVERDO this one!
*Please note, the 80/20 rule of email marketing is just a “rule of thumb”. As with anything, there are always exceptions and how you execute your email marketing/messaging makes a difference. If you segment your email recipients by interest, preferences, etc. your ratio will likely be different.
The Honey or Vinegar Test
Keep in mind that your email recipients probably share the following things in common with you: their email is overflowing, they have more responsibilities than time, and they don’t like to be “sold to”.
For these reasons, I’ve taken some “creative liberty” in applying the honey/vinegar proverb to email marketing.
You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Before you send that next to your email list, ask yourself is that email appealing and sweet like Honey OR repelling and bitter like Vinegar? I agree, it sounds kind of dumb and obvious when I put it like that. But the point is to get yourself to think, is this something that will actually be beneficial/meaningful to the people I’m sending it to?
What’s In It For You?
At this point you may be thinking. That all sounds great, but my livelihood is dependent on making a sale. How is this going to help me pay the bills?
Creating content and messaging for relationship building emails is certainly not as quick/easy as a simple as an “email blast” and it’s not intended for a “quick sale”. What it is, is an investment in relationships that will pay dividends down the road. Building relationships through email marketing can help B2B and B2C companies in the following ways:
- Keep them engaged with you/your brand
- Position you/your company as knowledgeable and competent
- Establish a reputation of being helpful
- You are no longer seen as “just selling something”
We promise not to EMAIL BLAST!