Let's think about it, sending an email and having the receiver to transform is a little bit like going out in a club to score. Let me just call my email John.
John wants to score. He is in his apartment downtown and is dressing up. If he wants to score he probably has to dress as well as possible to be the more attractive possible. This is the creative.
Once ready he heads to the club, this is the broadcast.
If he arrives there without any incident (delivery) he gets in the line outside the club and wait for his turn.
Then he gets to go through the bouncer (the spam filter) who will let him go in if:
1 - he matches the dress code (Tidy HTML) 2 - he never went in a fight in the club or got thrown out (Reputation) 3 - He isn't drunk and talking crap (content scan)
When he gets in (inbox) he spots a good looking girl he likes if he already knows her, she's a client, else, she's a prospect.
He gets close to her and then throw his pick up line (subject line). There are several types of pick up lines: 1 - If you lie about yourself, it's a scam 2 - If you are too mysterious, you might loose her attention 3 - If yo are too long you might be boring.
In a few words, your subject line needs to be as good as your pick up lines: short, punchy and interesting.
If the girl gets in the discussion with John, then he got a click, but there's a lot more to do to score.
He has to try to keep the discussion live and interesting and to gather as much information about the girl so he knows what she likes, what she wants,... that's web analytics.
The interesting thing here is that even if he doesn't score right away with that girl, the more information he will get here, the more likely he is to score on a later night when they get to meet again.
As I see it, email marketing is like trying to score with hundreds, thousands of persons in one go.
4. You are following 1,243 people and 47 are following you. (Hmm, have you considered using deodorant?) 7. I scan your last 20 or so Tweets and they all involve phrases like: anyone got any RedBull, I think I might be drunk, can someone Tweet me a cab, whoa I’m really f**ked up, just saw this really hot babe; how did I end up here. (I have nothing against being 24, single and living life to its fullest – well, oh maybe I do, as following you would be just too painful for this card-carrying member of the AARP.) 11. Your Twitter handle is: @bigstick. (OK, well I’m happy for your being rewarded at birth, but remember size isn’t everything.) 14. Your Bio says: Nothing, it is blank. (Sorry, you FAILed Twitter 101.) 19. You are a company I could be interested in, but ALL of your posts are links to press releases or requests to vote for you in the Shorty (or similar) Awards. (Show me you can contribute to the conversation, and I’ll reconsider.)
You don't link to your blog or website, so I don't know who you are.
You don't use your real name, so I don't know who you are.
I'm just too busy at the moment I receive the email and I don't recognize your name immediately.
However, even if I don't follow you and you send me an @reply I will do my best to answer it. I will even take the time to check out your profile. Heck, I might even decide to follow you (if you deliver on the above 3 rules) :-)
Morgan Stewart dug up some old footage of a computer show from 1997 in which they show this cool new web email client called "HoTMail" which allows you to check your email within a web browser. How cool is that, huh? :-)
HotMail (and email) has definitely come a long way!
Before you hit send on that next email, Seth Godin advises us run down this list, just to be sure:
Is it going to just one person? (If yes, jump to #10)
Since it's going to a group, have I thought about who is on my list?
Are they blind copied?
Did every person on the list really and truly opt in? Not like sort of, but really ask for it?
So that means that if I didn't send it to them, they'd complain about not getting it?
See #5. If they wouldn't complain, take them off!
That means, for example, that sending bulk email to a list of bloggers just cause they have blogs is not okay.
Aside: the definition of permission marketing: Anticipated, personal and relevant messages delivered to people who actually want to get them. Nowhere does it say anything about you and your needs as a sender. Probably none of my business, but I'm just letting you know how I feel. (And how your prospects feel).
Is the email from a real person? If it is, will hitting reply get a note back to that person? (if not, change it please).
Have I corresponded with this person before?
Really? They've written back? (if no, reconsider email).
If it is a cold-call email, and I'm sure it's welcome, and I'm sure it's not spam, then don't apologize. If I need to apologize, then yes, it's spam, and I'll get the brand-hurt I deserve.
Am I angry? (If so, save as draft and come back to the note in one hour).
Could I do this note better with a phone call?
Am I blind-ccing my boss? If so, what will happen if the recipient finds out?
Is there anything in this email I don't want the attorney general, the media or my boss seeing? (If so, hit delete).
Is any portion of the email in all caps? (If so, consider changing it.)
Is it in black type at a normal size?
Do I have my contact info at the bottom? (If not, consider adding it).
Have I included the line, "Please save the planet. Don't print this email"? (If so, please delete the line and consider a job as a forest ranger or flight attendant).
Could this email be shorter?
Is there anyone copied on this email who could be left off the list?
Have I attached any files that are very big? (If so, google something like 'send big files' and consider your options.)
Have I attached any files that would work better in PDF format?
Are there any :-) or other emoticons involved? (If so, reconsider).
Am I forwarding someone else's mail? (If so, will they be happy when they find out?)
Am I forwarding something about religion (mine or someone else's)? (If so, delete).
Am I forwarding something about a virus or worldwide charity effort or other potential hoax? (If so, visit snopes and check to see if it's 'actually true).
Did I hit 'reply all'? If so, am I glad I did? Does every person on the list need to see it?
Am I quoting back the original text in a helpful way? (Sending an email that says, in its entirety, "yes," is not helpful).
If this email is to someone like Seth, did I check to make sure I know the difference between its and it's? Just wondering.
If this is a press release, am I really sure that the recipient is going to be delighted to get it? Or am I taking advantage of the asymmetrical nature of email--free to send, expensive investment of time to read or delete?
Are there any little animated creatures in the footer of this email? Adorable kittens? Endangered species of any kind?
Bonus: Is there a long legal disclaimer at the bottom of my email? Why?
Bonus: Does the subject line make it easy to understand what's to come and likely it will get filed properly?
If I had to pay 42 cents to send this email, would I?
Bill Nussey, author of the book The Quiet Revolution in Email Marketing has this fun little quiz on his website that tells you what level email marketer you are. Give it a try, there's only 4 questions, so it won't take you more than 2 minutes to complete it and see the results.