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Relationship Advice for Email Marketers

March 30, 2011  

"Today's online marketing world is full of lovely words like engagement and empowerment, communication and conversation, interaction and integration, friends, fans and followers," writes Mark Brownlow at Email Marketing Reports. "Many of these keywords go back to the age-old idea of building a strong relationship between your organization and the members of your audience."

But here's the problem with that: Marketers spend too much time talking about the relationship, and too little time having a relationship, Brownlow argues. The result, he notes, is common mistakes like these:

Speaking to your subscribers as if they're all the same person. "I don't talk to the postman like I do to my wife," Brownlow says. "And I don't talk to the postman now like I talked to him five years ago." In the same way, you should consider various factors when speaking to a subscriber:

  • How long has she been on your list?
  • What kinds of purchases does she make?
  • What does she open and click on?
  • How does she browse at your site?
  • How likely is she to share your content with others?

Assuming your subscriber considers your brand a BFF. We tend to think of the email marketing relationship as having a far stronger bond than actually exists, Brownlow says. "[F]or most subscribers it's an extremely tenuous commitment. Marketers who forget this often assume unconditional love, meaning subscribers will always forgive the occasional (or regular) transgression." Your most loyal customers might forgive you, but the majority of your list won't have any trouble hitting the unsubscribe button, he cautions.

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  • by The B&B Coach Tue Apr 5, 2011 via web

    Great point! As a bed and breakfast owner, I develop relationships with guests and repeat customers deserve additional recognition! I need to keep that in mind when events and activities come up that don't fall within the newsletter cycle - and take the time to send out a special e-mail!

  • by Lara Marlin Hull Thu Apr 7, 2011 via web

    Thanks for this great advice - especially useful to us new marketers! What I like is that the tips here apply to all audiences regardless of your industry.

    I'm interested to know - are you aware of any info out there that reports how folks in different industries tend to respond to email marketing? I focus largely on scientists as an audience and they appreciate valuable content just like most, but am wondering if they as a group are more or less receptive to email marketing in general.

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