Maybe You Just Aren't Good Enough for Them...

I often try to relate articles and concepts that I write about in the email space to my everyday life. Some find it annoying, others like the "human" element. Whichever side of the fence you live on, take solace that it is not my life mimicking email today, but a single friend who shared a dating story with me that, oddly enough, made me think of email marketing. (Yes, I spend way too much thinking about my job.)

This isn't the first time email marketing has been likened to dating (and it won't be the last), but it is a fun take on being relevant and knowing your subscribers. So here it goes.

My friend "Mary" is a single mom on the dating scene. Given that she is a single mom, she doesn't get a lot of dating practice, but she tries to find love. On a recent date, a gentleman told her that she exhibited two of the five signs that she is just not good enough for him, which is hurtful and crude regardless of what the actual signs are. Still, I hopped on to Google to find out what some of these signs are -- and they just translated so nicely I couldn't miss the opportunity to draw the parallels.



You might not be good enough for your email subscribers if...

The only thing going for your email program is looks. Your subscribers have committed to you and agreed to receive your email.  However, if your email is just "pretty" and has no substance, you are doing your subscribers no favors. Just as in dating, you don't want to have to pull conversation out of your date over dinner -- your subscribers do not want to have to beg for something interesting to interact with.  So when dinner's over -- the date is never heard from again. Translation: They've UNSUBSCRIBED -- or worse, they've COMPLAINED.

Your email program could get you in trouble with the law (or has). If you find yourself interpreting the legalities around your email program in a "gray" way -- beware.  Your recipients might chalk it up to just being unlucky at the first or second hint of suspicion (after all, we are all human, mistakes happen, pick your catchphrase). But eventually they may decide that you just have a fundamental problem with following the rules -- both within the confines of the law and the laws of relationships. Result?  You've been arrested by the relationship police.

Your subscribers need to encourage you to try something new. Your email program, albeit interesting, may get dull after a while, so spicing it up isn't a bad idea. While you want your recipients to anticipate your content, you don't want them to already know what they are getting when your message hits the inbox.  Let's face it, variety is the spice of life. Your email subscribers demand some variety -- or you won't be going steady for very long.

Your subscribers feel like you are dumbing down the conversation. Who your subscribers are and what your content focus (or business) is drives how complicated or in-depth your content needs to be.  In a retail sense, customers don't constantly need to be hit over the head with discounts and deals. Providing some value-add editorial content may be just what the doctor ordered in meeting the mental needs of your subscriber base.  Last time I checked, talking to a wall was not a lot of fun.

 Your email program has bad hygiene:
"I'll purge those 10-year old email addresses some day."
"Double opt-in is really going to decrease my numbers."
"They don't expect me to unsubscribe them just because they clicked *this is spam*"

If you, or others in your email marketing department, ever utter these words, maybe you need to hit the showers and put on some deodorant. Keeping your data clean and hygienic is paramount to your program's success -- not cruel and unusual punishment, contrary to popular belief.

None of us want to admit that we may not be good enough -- for anything -- but let's face the facts, my industry compadres. If any of these apply to you, you might not be right for your subscribers, but your competitors could be.


5 comments about "Maybe You Just Aren't Good Enough for Them...".
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  1. Dj Waldow from Blue Sky Factory, October 1, 2009 at 10:52 a.m.

    Kara T:

    I love your writing style, the way you relate "real life" things to email, and that you think about your job too much. All great things in my opinion.

    Thanks for reminding email marketers about being "good enough."

    Love it.

    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory

  2. Darrah Maclean from Smith-Harmon, October 1, 2009 at 11:12 a.m.

    Love this article! Love it.

    Darrah MacLean
    Senior Writer

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 1, 2009 at 11:13 a.m.

    Unwed, divorced. widowed or adoptive mom. There is a difference, just as you explained like email.

  4. Peewee Herman from Agency XYZ, October 1, 2009 at 6:13 p.m.

    that was no gentleman

  5. Kara Trivunovic, October 2, 2009 at 11:58 a.m.

    Thanks DJ! I truly believe it is important for email marketers to remember that their subscribers have a choice and if the information being sent isn't up to snuff - the subscriber will leave or disengage...

    Pee Wee: you're right - he was NO gentleman!

    Paula, Darrah, et al: Thanks for article recommendations and comments - it's always inspiring to know that folks find the information you put out there valuable.

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