The problem with using email as a marketing tool is a lack of understanding of the relationship between content and frequency.
Most marketing oriented emails are too long. When a reader opens an email and is greeted by a page full of gray—the likelihood of rapid deployment of the delete key increases.
The writer of long emails for marketing purposes probably feels compelled to dispense a multitude of reasons to make a change, buy a product or attend a service. The problem is that new readers rarely will endure a long essay of product descriptions.
Poor email content is product centered rather than audience focused. We spray a lot of gray on a screen and hope that something connects with a reader. I like to call this writing technique, "spray and pray."
Think about the questions you are asked as a leader. What is it that causes pain for your audience? How can you provide the most help to the most people?
I recommend that you include one strong image with your marketing emails. As I open your email, I want to feel something quickly. A good picture can create an immediate feeling.
Below the picture, ask a question. The question you select should usually be a question you are frequently asked in your ministry. Use a large, bold font for your question and center the question in the middle of the page.
As you begin to answer the question in your email, keep in mind the goal will be to drive your reader to a download page to find a more thorough treatment of your subject. The purpose of your initial email is to build "know—like—trust" with your readers. Develop content such as white papers, sermon segments and other writings to provide in-depth responses to common questions. Use email to drive readers to your deeper content.
Now, consider the connection of content to frequency. Think of it this way: say fewer words...but say them more often. At least every week, I hear a leader say, "I tried email marketing, it didn't work." Typically, when I ask follow-up questions, I find only a few emails had been sent. Email marketing is a drip technique. The strategy is to send frequent messages with sustained, consistent effort.
Remember, your mailing list is an opt-in list. Your audience has asked to hear from you. If they want to stop hearing from you, they have an opportunity to opt-out. If you send creative, compelling messages, your audience will read what you send and eventually respond by clicking on a link you offer. Your download page is a metric to measure your connection to an audience. But be patient and allow your messages to impact your readers.
To summarize this brief series:
- Define the audience you wish to attract.
- Develop your brand as an authority in your field.
- Develop at least two platforms to address your audience on a regular basis.
- Consider blogs, podcasts, article or book writing. Speak and write outside of your current audience.
- Add to your personal e-mail list on a daily basis. Your mailing list is your primary platform. Remember, social media sites don't allow you to take your contacts with you.
- Write at least several times a week to your personal list.
Content is King. Frequency is Queen. The horse and carriage is your email list.
"Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.' " (John 8:12).
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