Weird as it sounds, with all of the new technologies, email seems almost old school today. It’s been around for decades and much like other mature mediums, we value and loathe it at the same time.
Part of the loathing comes from the daily experience of being barraged by emails we didn’t ask for, don’t want and that offer no value. We all suffer from email fatigue. What the senders forget is that they’re in the receiver’s in-box because they were invited in and have been granted permission to stay.
Until they’re not. Email us too often, or email us nothing of value and you’re quickly asked to leave, either through the unsubscribe link or simply by being ignored.
And yet for most of us, there are some emails we look forward to receiving and when we get them, we actually go out of our way to read them.
What’s the difference?
I believe it’s both intent and content. When you get those both right, the receiver will not only allow you to stay but actually be open to considering that next action (click on a link, sign up for the webinar, learn more about your product or services, etc.) you want them to take.
Intent is really about respect and a genuine desire to help. When we prepare an email campaign, we need to ask ourselves if we’re truly being respectful of the receiver’s time and attention. Yes, of course we want them to become a customer or if they’re already a customer, we want them to buy more. But we have to trade them something of value in exchange for that consideration.
Are we offering them something of value in terms of insights, information or even a reminder of something important? A realtor sends me an email every month and at the top of the email is a “don’t forget tip” reminding me to do something around my house. It’s usually something simple like “change the furnace filter every 30 days.” Do I already know I need to do that? Sure but the reminder often triggers me to do whatever he’s reminding me to do.
I’m not in the market to buy a house right now but I give him permission to stay in my in-box because he’s actually helpful. He’s also smart enough to know that if he keeps earning the right to email me, then when I finally am in the market for a realtor to help me buy or sell a home or when one of my friends asks for a referral – he’ll be top of mind.
Another aspect of intent is how often are you asking me to pay attention to you? I am happy to get his email once a month. If he started emailing me a couple times a week, I’d unsubscribe in a hurry because the value proposition wouldn’t be there for me. The frequency of your emails shouldn’t be about how frantic you are to sell something but instead; it should be based on how or why you’re being valuable.
I get an email every evening from a company that analyzes the day’s market activities and talks about how the day’s changes will impact what’s going to happen tomorrow. That information would be stale/less helpful if I received it once a month. So again, their timing is about me, not them.
Intent is about putting the audience first and being valuable before you ask for anything in return. That makes it much more appealing to envision hiring you down the road.
Next time, we’ll explore the content side of this equation so you can get them both correct every time.