A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hearing one of my idols, Seth Godin, speak in person for the first time. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have been trying unsuccessfully to hear him speak for the past three years, so this was a big deal for me and Seth did not disappoint.
In support of his recent book the Icarus Deception, the subject of Seth’s talk was on creating connections. The internet has enabled us to make connections that we never thought possible and this phenomenon has changed consumer behavior and expectation. As a result brands will need to adapt by moving away from one way communications, and creating dull products aimed at pleasing everyone, to an economy that exists to create connections. Seth calls this the Connection Economy.
A connection economy is built on the pillars of permission, trust, exchange of ideas, generosity, and art. I feel that these pillars are very applicable for success with email marketing.
We are in an era where there is an abundance of information, so getting permission is a key step in building and retaining an audience. In my opinion this is the equivalent to showing up at a friend’s house unexpected. You may get away with it the first time, but if you continue to do that, you eventually become known as“that guy” and people start avoiding you. Don’t be “that guy” with your marketing, take the time to ask permission to communicate with your audience.
Establish trust with your audience by keeping your promises. When you send out your welcome email take the time to let your audience know what they can expect from you. Let them know what kind of content they can expect and how often will they receive messages. Once you establish those expectations hold up your end of the bargain and don’t disappoint. Remember your audience’s time is precious so don’t take advantage of it. If you have a wide variety of topics that you talk about, give your subscribers a chance to give you their preference on the types of messages they would like to hear, then stick with it.
In a Connection Economy, communication is a two-way street. Encourage your subscribers to give you feedback on what they like and dislike. If you implement any of their suggestions, take the time to thank them. Also make it easy for them to share your messages. These little details go a long way and will make your subscribers feel like they have a place in your community.
Make your email subscribers feel special. They are giving you their attention, so repay them with exclusive discounts or actionable insights.
Dull and boring gets ignored or deleted. This is your craft, so put some passion behind it. Work to excite and inspire your audience. Your brand voice should be reflected in everything that you do, and email is no exception. Your subscribers want to connect with the personality behind your brand and you won’t make that connection by “setting and forgetting it.’ I am not opposed to automation, there has to be some thought behind the messages that are sent. Also art isn’t perfect, so don’t be afraid to try new things. If it doesn’t work out exactly like you hoped you aren’t going to be punished.
Email is not going away anytime soon, so don’t abuse this channel by just going through the motions. If you take the time to make a connection with your audience and create art they will welcome it with open arms.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to keep the conversation going in the comments.