Three Ways Email Marketing Is Like A Newborn Baby

My wife and I just had our first child. Eva Claire Waldow (@babywaldow) entered this crazy world on March 23, 2010.

As any normal person would do, I jumped out of bed six hours after she was born, grabbed my iPhone, and jotted down the following phrase: email marketing and newborn babies.

Now I realize that relating this life-changing event to email marketing may sound like a stretch; however, to us email geeks, it's pretty much par for the course. So here we go...

The three ways email marketing is like a newborn:

#1: What works today doesn't necessarily work tomorrow. Our three-week-old baby seems to change every single day (sometimes a few times per day). Last week she woke up twice in the middle of the night; this week it was six times. I'm betting tomorrow, next week, and next month will all be different.

Think about your email marketing campaigns. Are you sending out the same boring, stale "stuff" week after week, month after month? Are you finding that some campaigns perform brilliantly while others fall on their face? What makes one email "work" and the next fail? The good news is that you have tons of data that can help explain why. Do some A|B splits on subject line, content, send day/time. Don't guess. Make decisions based on the data. Don't be afraid to mix it up once in a while.



Takeaway: Test. Look at the data. Tweak. Send. Look at the data (again).

#2: You are no longer in control. I bet all parents can relate to this point. From the moment our daughter was born, the rules of the game changed. We no longer do what we want when we want. She runs the show. Her schedule rules the day.

Marketers must remember that the same concept applies in the world of email marketing. Your customers/clients/subscribers dictate what they want and when they want it. It's no longer okay to send untargeted, poorly timed, value-free content. Subscribers expect more. They opt in. They opt out. They open. They delete. They mark as spam. They share with their social networks. They even dictate content and frequency.

Takeaway: Before you hit that send button, ask yourself: Why would someone open or click through on this email?

#3: Recognition and trust are the name of the game. Even at less than a month old, my daughter is starting to recognize her parents. Her eyes are tracking ours. She can sense when she's in dad's arms. (Okay, I admit this may not be entirely true. She's pretty young. I'm going to tell myself it is!) My point is this: she trusts us. She recognizes us.

Just like a newborn, trust and recognition is key for effective email marketing. If I recognize who is sending me an email (think: from name / subject line) and trust that the email will deliver value, I'm more likely to open, click through, and maybe even convert (take some action). Too often I see marketers try and get fancy with the "from" name. Keep it simple. If you company name is, say, Blue Sky Factory, then make that the "from" name.

Takeaway: Recognition and trust are critical. They lead to opens; valuable content leads to click-throughs and conversion.

What would you add to the list? Time to get creative!

3 comments about "Three Ways Email Marketing Is Like A Newborn Baby".
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  1. Ben Isaacson from Part-Time Privacy, April 12, 2010 at 12:35 p.m.


    Many congrats on the lilone! I have also learned a few things from parenting that relates to email (albeit I don't wake up in the morning thinking of them). The main one is that no matter how hard I push them to eat something or go to bed or whatever, the more they push back. The relation is that I see so many marketers using sketchy sales tactics to push products via email, or send email more frequently. The result from pushing hard may be to get what you want at that moment (more sales or to eat your peas), but the long term conflict that builds has to be fully considered. The next time that hard sell comes may be more strongly negated, and in emails case-come in the form of a complaint.

    Finally, it may be easier (yet less fun) to acquire more subscribers than kids, but causing conflict with either of them leads to a dysfunctional relationship and society. Email and parenting require a long-term commitment, neither of which should ever be neglected.


    --Ben Isaacson

  2. Kurt Johansen from Johansen International, April 12, 2010 at 6:06 p.m.

    Great analogy DJ. Another Insight - "If you do your email marketing incorrectly you could land up in the proverbial baby poo." Cheers Kurt -

  3. Dj Waldow from Blue Sky Factory, April 14, 2010 at 5:14 p.m.

    @Kurt - Ha! Love it.

    @Ben - Hey Ben! I love your other analogies (email & parenting). Spot on. Thanks for adding to the mix.

    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory

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