Is all email marketing the same? Do the same rules apply for every piece of email content you send?
Your email newsletter is part of your marketing mix – so it’s email marketing. Right? Well, yes and no. They’re the same but different, and they require a different tone. Here’s why it’s important to separate email campaigns from your regular email newsletter.
Only one call to action?
We’re working with one of our clients on a new email newsletter. Our clients are savvy and switched on, and they always do their marketing homework, so they’ve pushed back on our chatty, content rich first draft with the words ‘we only want one link, and one repeated call to action.’ (We’d drafted something rich and useful with several links back to the various blogs and reports on the new website, plus a link to a survey tool – and that felt wrong to them.)
What they’ve picked up is a rule governing good direct response copywriting – only one, single call to action, repeated. But is your email newsletter direct email marketing? I don’t see it that way.
Learning from the digital master
To help explain the distinction I was making to our client I went back to see how one of the masters of digital communication handles email.
If you read Chris Brogan’s newsletter, you’ll see that it feels like a conversation with links that fly all over the place – not even just back to his own content. This week for example he takes you off to art galleries and coffee shops and other people’s content.
I get this newsletter every Sunday, and I always read it because I find what he has to say really helpful and I like him. That’s the kind of loyalty you want to build with your newsletter.
I compared that to a piece of email marketing he sent me yesterday. This email obeys all the rules that our clients wanted us to follow. Chris was promoting a webinar, and it was clear what he wanted me to do. There was one call to action, and it was repeated often – ‘sign up here’ ‘reserve your place’ ‘join me’.
I read both emails from start to finish. However I was more receptive to reading the marketing email (and acting upon it) because I get such good value from the newsletter. If everything Chris sent me was focused hard on selling, than that wouldn’t be the case.
“I was more receptive to reading the marketing email because I get such good value from the newsletter.”
There’s a balance to be struck.
Aim for a mix of both email styles
You need a mix of both email styles – conversational AND promotional – but they are two different things and each requires a different tone.
Use your newsletter to build a community, and don’t sell too hard here. Make yourself useful, share good stuff. Think of this as a conversation, not a sales pitch.
“Think of your email newsletter as a conversation, not a sales pitch.”
When you’ve got the loyalty, people will be more receptive to your sales messages. That’s the time to employ your smart direct response marketing tactics. Add in the occasional promotional email to the mix. Make it clear what the one thing you want people to do is, and make it really easy for them to do it, and make them want to do it NOW!!!
Just recognise that your email newsletter is not direct email marketing.
Paying in to the bank of trust
For information on striking the right balance with your email marketing check out copywriting supremo Andy Maslen’s ‘bank of trust’ analogy in his excellent guest post on this blog – Content Marketing and the Bank of Trust. As Andy so rightly suggests, they key is to: ‘build up enough credit before you make a withdrawal’.
What do you think? Should your email newsletter follow the rules of direct response marketing? Or is it an all together different beast?