Five Lessons Email Marketers Can Learn From @Sh*tMyDadSays
His success has energized millions of basement bloggers, but marketers and other communicators can also pick up pointers about creating highly focused, in-demand content, whether they occupy cubicles or spacious corner offices.
Lesson One: Find the Voice that Differentiates You
Halpern amassed 800,000-plus followers by obeying the first lesson of situation comedy: Let the material speak for itself.
Each tweet faithfully reports some comment, question or observation that strikes him funny. No set-up, no editorializing, no sanitizing for his audience's protection.
The humor grabs people's attention, but the consistency, authenticity and transparency of Halpern's tweets, which reveal his father's personality, warts and all, turn readers into fans.
Your email challenge is to find the personality that speaks best to your subscribers and customers. Humor is one way to do it, but it's hard to do well and needs to match audience expectations.
A consistent and authentic personality will also help you position your email program in the marketplace, just as it helped Halpern stand out.
Dad Says: "Son, no one gives a sh*t about all the things your cell phone does. You didn't invent it, you just bought it. Anybody can do that."
Lesson Two: Capitalize on Common Experiences
Anyone who has ever had to live with, care for or otherwise exist on the same plane as an aging, cantankerous, parent can relate to Halpern's experiences.
In your own emails, give your readers ample opportunities to tie their own experiences to your products, company or content.
Employees can contribute their own product recommendations or positive interactions with customers, while customers can supply their own anecdotes, reviews and recommendations of products or services.
Dad Says: "Oh please, you practically invented lazy. People should have to call you and ask for the rights to lazy before they use it."
Lesson Three: Be Choosy
Halpern tweets only one saying every two or three days, yet I expect his dad talks more often. That must mean he exercises tight editorial control over which comments go public and which stay private.
If only more marketers were that choosy. Send an email message only when you have a great offer or article, or are responding to customer behavior? That defies all the trends that show email frequency continues to rise.
No doubt Halpern's followers would love to see more, but maybe the content quality isn't there. Being particular certainly hasn't hurt either his following or his business prospects.
Dad Says: "You worry too much. Eat some bacon... What? No, I got no idea if it'll make you feel better, I just made too much bacon."
Lesson Four: Stay Focused
The formula is simple: One of Dad's sayings per tweet. No opinions, no leveraging the platform to promote unrelated topics.
As a result, Halpern's followers know what they're going to get: unintentionally funny statements that often mock the son who makes them famous.
Still, you never know exactly what creatively profane thing his father will say next. You have to tune in because you don't want to miss anything.
Your emails should deliver this consistent level of quality, yet be slightly unpredictable, so that your subscribers are never tempted to let them pile up in the inbox.
Don't recycle creative content or offers. Find new ways to promote your products besides the usual 20% off, free shipping or "Friends and Family" offers that everybody's doing.
Unlike Halpern, your content isn't constrained to 140 characters. However, readers should grasp your meaning quickly, even if you have more than one offer or article per message.
Dad Says: "The worst thing you can be is a liar .... Okay fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but THEN, number two is liar. Nazi 1, Liar 2."
Lesson Five: People Do Respond to Great Content
Halpern built his Twitter following by word of mouth first, without a blog, spectacular design, a call to action or a mailing list. Press interest got him his book and TV deals, but his content went viral thanks to his fans and followers.
You have more tools to attract and engage your customers, but great content still rules.
Dad Says: "My flight lands at 9:30 on Sunday...You want to watch what? What the f*ck is mad men? I'm a mad man if you don't pick me the hell up."
Until next time, take it up a notch!