If Dr. Evil Were An Email Marketing Consultant

My husband is a big movie lover. He is one of those guys who can whip out a quote or scenario from some of the most obscure movies at just the right time, and then immediately follow with: “Name the movie.” After 15 years of exposure, I am pretty used to the “go-to” repertoire of films and quotes, but every once in a while he will surprise me with one I haven’t heard before.

The other day we got on the subject of the many Austin Powers movies and the classic quotes and moments that came from that series: Femmbots, Mr. Bigglesworth, I want my baby back, baby back, baby back… ribs -- and yes, Dr. Evil.

As an archenemy for Austin Powers, Dr. Evil is a pretty funny dude (though you may choose to disagree). But what if he were an email marketing consultant? How funny would that be?  Can you imagine the conversations that would happen between him and any given brand? The advice would be priceless -- or at least worth “one million dollars.”



So welcome to my quirky mind as I dispense email marketing advice, Dr. Evil-style.

"Why must I be surrounded by frickin' idiots?"  Email marketing, as a discipline, is not overtly complex. It requires attention to detail, regard for subscribers and the delivery of content and information that recipients want. They may not even know they want it -- but as the marketer, you have an inkling.

What is critical to remember is that you are NOT surrounded by “frickin’ idiots” (OK, you may be -- but those people are not your customers). Customers are smart. They know that you have the ability to understand their behavior and act upon it in a very real and meaningful way. If you ignore that behavior and those customer signals, you may just be the “frickin’ idiot,” and no one wants that.

Achieving relevance in your email programs is simple in theory, but can be complex in practice. You need to find the right balance of targeting and segmentation to include the customers who should want what you are selling, while trying to weed out those who may not be interested. Using customers’ historic behavior has been a pretty common practice for years, but now  recognizing behaviors that are happening right now that signal buying readiness is fast becoming the expectation.

If you are not actively looking at other channels to determine predisposition to engage with your email programs, you may be doing yourself a great disservice. A simple phone call or search on your app may be just be the trigger you need to send that ever-relevant message that drives the conversion.

“Well it's true! It's true! You're semi-evil. You're quasi-evil. You're the margarine of evil. You're the Diet Coke of evil. Just one calorie, not evil enough. You don’t just send email – you are an email marketer, and that means something. Marketers commit to strategies, align goals and objectives and dive in head-first to achieve the right mix of promotion and value for the subscriber. If you just send email, you are the Diet Coke of email marketing.

The devil (or the evil) is in the details. Consider your audience and ask yourself if the message fits them. If not, you should refine (or test) to validate the consideration. Make sure that your subject line isn’t an afterthought.  It better be captivating and stand out from the crowd. And for the love of margarine, don’t just hit the send button because you can -- if that's what you are doing then maybe your program is “just one calorie.”

Let me tell you a little story about a man named Sh! Sh! even before you start. That was a pre-emptive "sh!" Now, I have a whole bag of "sh!" with your name on it.”  Let’s face it: We don’t have a whole lot of time to grab the attention of the recipient, so you really do need to make the most of those moments. Just as you start to tune out people who talk, and talk, and talk, and talk (c’mon, you know those people) -- customers do the same. They want you to get to the point. Tell me what you want me to do and why I should want to do it, in the least amount of time (the fewest words) possible.

If you are responsible for writing your email copy, it is a great practice to write it how you want, then hand it to someone in a different department or team. Give him/her thre seconds with it, then take it away and ask what the purpose of the message was. If (s)he can’t answer your question, you need to revise. Wash. Rinse. Repeat with a variety of test subjects (never using the same person twice) until someone gives you the right answer. In essence, teach yourself the art of the pre-emptive sh!

I am sure Dr. Evil has droves of advice for the email marketing community (and humanity in general) but for now we are going to let you get back to your regularly scheduled programming…uh, day. And as Dr. Evil would say, “Boo-frickity-hoo.”

2 comments about "If Dr. Evil Were An Email Marketing Consultant".
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  1. Jason Klein from Selligent, February 14, 2013 at 11:39 a.m.

    These emails fail to reflect our relationship with the customer. That makes me angry. And when Dr. Evil gets angry, Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset. And when Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset... people DIE!

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 14, 2013 at 2:16 p.m.

    Highly recommend.

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