Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's Your Message?

I received an email blast from an "industry expert" yesterday. While she is an acquaintance of mine and I have attended a few of her seminars, the email felt so generic and blah. Now, this post is not a means to bash her, as she is very well respected in apartment marketing and presents great information & ideas at her seminars. This post is about improving your message and deciding that maybe email blasts are not a good idea.

Let me summarize what her message included.

Subject Line: Still Undecided? Vote for [her name]!
Email Letter Content: Large picture of her, letter summarizing why you should hire her to present her latest seminar and a summary of new website features and a link to her website. She also mentions a $500 discount coupon at the bottom of the email.
Additional Info: a brief history about her, quick summaries of the 4 seminars she is currently presenting, and, of course, the coupon.

At first glance I was curious to open up the email and peruse, but after doing so I realized there wasn't anything really there. Nothing grabbed me, nothing was newsworthy, and her picture (while very nice) was actually a distraction. A lot of copy and very generic.

Below is my response to her with some recommendations on how to improve her message.

“Don’t send me an email just telling me who you are why you are so cool with some generic descriptions of your seminars and your background. I’ll be honest, it’s not interesting as I already know you (as most people do that get these emails). What would be interesting is if you shared pieces of your seminars with me. Give me a taste of the good stuff! Here’s an analogy. Let’s say you’ve just emailed me a picture of McDonald’s French fries. I’m a sucker for McDonald’s French fries, but a picture doesn’t really motivate me to actually go buy some. What if you just gave me 1, just to try it, just to get that taste. If you did that, then I’d probably want the whole box. So, maybe ask yourself the next time you send out a SPAM email, are you sending out just a picture or are you giving us a taste. Send me one of your PodCasts, or your latest blog post (which doesn’t appear to be working), or maybe one or two graphs or slides that have some of your great statistics. And one final note, you don’t need a coupon!!! Coupons are for commodities. You are not a commodity!"

I share this with you because I know that she knows all this. But if she knows, then why does she do it? Here's her response back.

"I agree with your marketing thoughts. That was a blanket email that went to over 12,000 people and I need to introduce myself. The next emails we have planned have content in them that will be valuable to the reader. This is what I have been doing for some other marketing and I know those emails get read. With my new Web site, we are set up to put a lot of free content there and that will link in my

As for the spam, I got a call to work on a project in Atlanta as well as two managers retreats where I will keynote. Not too bad."

The excuse for a bad email is because it went to 12,000 people that she needed to introduce herself to??? In my opinion it was a very boring introduction, and while I didn't ask her if the jobs she booked from it were from previous customers my gut is telling me that is the case.

So, what's my point? My point is that you're only as good as your last email, or last podcast, or last blog post. The content you put into these represents you and what you do best. If what you do best is make excuses for average work and justify it with a couple success stories fine, but I can tell you that things are getting more and more competitive and average will only get you so far. Just because someone has opted-in shouldn't give you an excuse to send an average message. Provide compelling content as your last message is what you will be remembered for.

Until the next. Enjoy your day!

blog comments powered by Disqus