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Email marketers are from Mars, email consumers are not

Let’s make it an even half-dozen articles in a row devoted to various aspects of email marketing, shall we? You can see the previous five here, along with my other recent Biznology columns.

In conversation with a client earlier this week, it occurred to me that the one thing I talk about almost endlessly when it comes to using your website as a marketing tool is what I rarely mention when talking about email marketing. That one concept is:

Your prospects don’t care about you.

Your prospects don’t even care about what you do.

Your prospects care about what you can do for them.

It may not be obvious at first glance how that applies to email marketing, so let me explain. At the core of my little three-line manifesto is the idea that marketers need to operate from the perspective of their prospects.

Forget about yourself and your company. Forget about your products and services. Concentrate on the issues facing your prospects, and the reasons they are evaluating whether what you offer can be their solution.

For email marketing, that means forgetting about what you want, and focusing on what they want.

You want people to subscribe to your newsletter. You want them to read your newsletter. You want them to click through to your website, click your calls-to-action, download your white papers, schedule a demo; you want them to buy.

Is that why they subscribed? To be sold to? Of course not. If that’s all your emails focus on, I wish you the best of luck in your new career – because your marketing career isn’t going to last very long. Instead, a focus on what is of value and importance to them.

Make it easy

First, the email has to be easy – easy to read on whatever device they have in their hand; easy to digest because the writing is clear and concise and the visual design supports both the content and your audience’s expectations.

Make it informative

Your email has to contain information that helps a prospect get closer to a solution to their problem. For existing clients, it needs to remind them why they’ve worked with you already and provide reasons they might want to use you again.

This isn’t a time to sell; it’s a time to offer assistance and, in the process, establish your expertise.

Make it for me

Today’s email marketing tools and integrated CRM tools make it easier than ever to personalize your marketing. Progressive profiling makes it easy to send the next logical message rather than repeating a message some prospects may already have seen just because, well, that’s the message you’re sending out this week.

Make it about them, not about you, and you’ll be rewarded with a much more productive email marketing program.

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Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on Biznology.com, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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