Let Your Audience In on the Joke

I recently got a particularly terrible marketing call, so let’s all take a moment and learn from this company’s failure.  Here’s what happened;

1. The phone rang.  I answered the phone.  My “hello” was answered with the rather loud and resounding sound of a ship’s horn blowing in my ear.

2.  As I went to hang up, a voice piped up:  “Hello, this is your captain speaking!” the obviously recorded voice announced excitedly.

3.  Then came the meat of the announcement, which explained the whole deal. It was really nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to fill a cruise ship with promises of contests won.

These grievous errors have a lot to teach us to keep our email and newsletter ventures sailing smoothly on the marketing seas. 

1.First impressions are everything.  Whatever your equivalent of blowing a horn at your reader is, don’t do it.  It could be spammy languaging like “Buy Stuff Now At Awesome Low Price Sale!!!!” or sending with an obscure name in the “from” field. There are plenty of very cheesy ways to blow the horn at your readers and it’s best that you avoid them all!

2. Always introduce yourself and make it clear what the point of your business is. The “from” line, your personalized banner and your branding should do this for you. Likewise, craft subject lines that depict the content of your newsletter and endeavor always to make sense in your content. If something might be new to customers, reintroduce it. It’s easy, just start with “As you may already knew, we here at Company X are working on this really cool thing…”

3.  Obviously you all know better than to blast people with false promises. However, there’s another layer here:  make sure that your content is relevant to your market when you send out email newsletters. Even if you have that metaphorical cruise ship that needs a few more reservations in order to leave the port, you’d have more luck appealing to customers based on their known wants and needs.

Having fun in marketing is a great way to keep things fresh and entertaining - just make sure that anybody reading your email newsletters is in on the joke before you launch right into it.