The Personal Relationship of Email Marketing

If the goal of an email is to influence a purchase or an action, then sending any message that is not personalized is a bad idea.

Today, it’s nearly impossible to have a captive audience. Consumers are bombarded with choices at any given time by companies vying for their attention – email, Twitter, Facebook, mobile websites, you name it – but a proper sales follow up can serve as a powerful tool or a red flag.

Red flags are easily avoided when the customer knows a company is human. Gone are the days of corporate giants, replaced by the (customer-service oriented) startup renaissance.

Be Human – Say Hello

When someone signs up to receive emails from a company, that transaction should be viewed as a precious request from the customer. The customer is asking the company to communicate something of value – approximately 100 percent of the time the customer does not want to find a billboard in their inbox.

Consider an email address to be the first step in a new relationship. Social norms will determine the degree to which a follow up resonates with and excites the customer. Like actual relationships, unless an interaction seems potentially fun and interesting to the customer, he or she has little likelihood of staying engaged.

Show Interest – Communicate “With”

In effect, marketing and sales communication is a conversation. The last thing a marketer should do is recreate first dates where the conversation completely ignores one party. Consider the following conversation:

“I’m the best person you can know when it comes to finding a dress; I’m the best when it comes to kitchenware; I spent 10 years studying how to make stainless steel and have THE greatest boiling pot at home.”

It’s no longer the world of advertisements that speak to customers instead of with them. Impersonal follow ups like these make it easy to understand why social media spend is projected to rise from $6 billion to $11 billion by 2017: the customer wants to be communicated with, not to.

Provide Value – Use the Data

The way a company fulfills a customer’s desire to be communicated with needs to be on his terms. When the customer shares his email address, this is the contract he believes he’s signing up for.

Just like a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship, a company owes it to its email subscribers to deliver them a deal they want to buy or a message they want to hear or information they want to act upon. As companies apply purchase data and validate each customer’s interest and buying behavior, the deals and messages will become more relevant, more impactful and more important.

When a customer receives an impersonal message, it’s as though everything that has been learned about sales and marketing over the past 70 years is being completely ignored.

Is following up with leads with the exact same email a bad idea? Absolutely.

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