Email Marketing: Totally Rockin' the '80s Hair

As many of you know, I often use my average, everyday life as inspiration for my continued and ongoing muses about the email space, and today is no different. My five-year-old daughter is participating in Spirit Week at school; we've got Pajama Day and Beach Day under our belts, and we're faced with tackling '80s Day today. Last night we spent a good amount of time online looking at pictures for inspiration, which concluded with my daughter looking at me, nose crinkled, saying, "um, mom, is it ok if I just go to school as 'me' tomorrow?" I nearly lost it - given that I grew up in the '80s with the six pairs of socks, tight-rolled jeans and multiple popped collars (and please, don't mention the perm...)

In the end I let her go as herself, but was inspired by something I found during our online tour of the '80s -- VH1's 100 greatest songs of the '80s. I really can align just about anything with email marketing, right? 

**WARNING: these songs are likely to get stuck in your head. They're little ditties that you will be humming the rest of the day. Don't say I didn't warn you!



1.     Livin' on a Prayer, Bon Jovi (1986)
For those of you email marketers that continue to spray and pray -- this song is for you. The days of being able to send your entire database of email addresses the exact same email, week after week are gone. In order to really succeed with your email program today, you need to do some level of personalization, increasing relevance and driving engagement. If you aren't, you truly are Livin' on a Prayer.

2.     Pour Some Sugar on Me, Def Leppard (1987)
You need to sweeten the deal. Provide the recipient with content, offers and information they care about and will ultimately engage with. It is important to remember that your email needs to be about "them," not about your marketing goals. Recognizing the individuality of your subscribers and providing them value will help you achieve those goals in the end.

3.     Hungry Like the Wolf, Duran Duran (1982)
By achieving number two, you've set yourself up nicely for number 3. Providing recipients with solid content, consistently, makes them hungry for more. Creating a sense of anticipation for your messages is important in driving continued and valuable engagement with your email programs.

4.     Billie Jean, Michael Jackson (1982)
Keep an eye on your partners - if you regularly include content in your email messages from a partner contingency, be aware of what they are doing with their email program and what their reputation is in the space. Their bad reputation can potentially affect your good reputation -- and you wouldn't want that, now, would you?

5.     When Doves Cry, Prince (1984)
Complainers. The world is full of 'em, and I would bet you get them from time to time in your email program as well. It is all in how you handle them that makes the difference. When complainers hit the "This is Spam" button, be sure that you immediately suppress them from your database -- but don't stop there. If you see a consistent issue with recipients hitting the "Spam" button, you need to start investigating why. Maybe your content isn't as relevant or targeted as you think it is. Best to start addressing it now, before the problem gets too big and your reputation is impacted.

6.     I Can't Go For That (No Can Do), Hall & Oates (1981)
Consumers are smart. They know that we marketers have the ability to talk to them, provide them with information and content that they care about and that resonates with them - and because of that, they expect it. They will no longer go for the blanket, generic, one-size-fits all email that some marketers continue to send. Adjust accordingly or you could be back to number 1 (Livin' on a Prayer).

7.     Sweet Child O' Mine, Guns N' Roses (1987)
I would bet that you have some elite folks in your email database: subscribers that have been active and engaged over a long period of time.  They may even share your content, engage with you in social channels or even evangelize on behalf of your brand. These are your best customers and you should treat them as such. Don't just bulk message to them like other, less valuable, subscribers. If your sweet subscribers aren't seeing the continued value in being engaged, they just may stop.

8.     Like a Virgin, Madonna (1984)
Your email virgins -- new subscribers -- should be properly welcomed into your program. Be sure to have a succinct welcome message (or complete program depending on the complexity of the product/service) providing new subscribers with information and details that will properly set expectations for the email program. Don't forget to include information about how to get the most out of the subscription, product or service. The best time to convey this information is at the onset of the subscription. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

9.     Walk this Way, Run DMC (1986)
Lead by example, both within your organization and within this industry. We are nothing if not a vocal group of people - and there is no shortage of information out there about what to try, what to do and how to do it - you just need to start testing it within your email programs. I know that it is often times easier said than done, but the upside for your program could be grand. Who knows, maybe you'll get your email featured in articles touting email breakthroughs and even winning awards. It's better than the alternative....

10.  You Shook Me All Night Long, AC/DC (1980)
Rounding out the top ten, it's all about getting it right. You want your subscribers, your customers and your internal teams to love the email you send. It may not rock their soul (because that would just be dramatic...*grin*) but you can leave an impression -- a great one. You just have to be committed to achieving it and making it happen.

To close, I will leave you with an open-ended number 11...Don't Stop Believing (there are oh so many things I could do with that) - but How Will I Know (yes number 12). OK, I'm done. Hopefully the earworms won't last all day.

3 comments about "Email Marketing: Totally Rockin' the '80s Hair".
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  1. Keith Huntoon from LiftEngine, March 31, 2011 at 10:58 a.m.

    Great article, but you've ruined my day. In response, I hope the theme songs to 'The Facts of Life', 'Different Strokes' and 'Happy Days' echo through your noggin' for at least a few hours.

  2. Kara Trivunovic from Epsilon, March 31, 2011 at 11:12 a.m.

    Darn it Keith! Now I *am* humming The Facts of Life...ya take the good, ya take the bad, ya take em all and there ya have...UGH. :) Glad you enjoyed the article though.

  3. Georgia Christian from Mail Blaze, April 6, 2011 at 11:30 a.m.

    Love it! Great points, but you're right - I started humming Living on a Prayer as soon as a I saw the name of the song!

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