For the next month or so, I’m going to talk about agendas. For the sake of clarity, let us define agenda as an underlying plan or goal that drives action. An agenda may be tangible or ideological in nature; what matters is that you recognize that most everyone has one, and it influences everything they do on both a conscious and a subconscious level.
So, if everybody and every business has an agenda, it might be reasonable to assume that we’re all out there trying to act on it. As an email marketing firm, it behooves us to take seriously the privilege of arriving in the personal and business inboxes of our readers, and offer them something of value. Here is a little hint: make it about them. If your email newsletter is written to serve the agenda of your subscribers, then they will see exactly how it fits into their world. Asking the questions, “how does this content serve the reader?” and “have I made my promotion about their utility rather than my value?” before sending a newsletter may provide some insight into whether you’re tooting your own horn at your readers or handing them a horn of their own. Did that metaphor fall apart in the middle of the sentence for you, too? Moving on…
Start with a little research and introspection. Ask yourself the following questions and see what you come up with.
1) Who are my readers?
2) What do they want from me?
3) What do they want in general?
4) What do I provide that isn’t on the label?
5) How can I improve the life or business of my subscribers?
Let language be your first step. This is the easiest way to start acting on the answers you got by asking the above questions. Language is so powerful; never underestimate how much you can achieve by changing the wording. “Bob Brown. Mayor” is a sign more likely to win an election than “Bob Brown for Mayor.” Why? The first sign asserts that Bob Brown IS the mayor. It’s subtle, but when it comes time to vote, people act accordingly. Now, while you are using this subtle yet assertive technique, don’t fall into the trap of making this about you. It’s not – its about the user. About how you not only offer what they want, but you are already there with them, making it happen.
Learn the language of your clients. Being able to speak their language will go a long way in ensuring that you seem like part of their agenda. If you need to segment your list further, do so. You can’t talk to a small business like you would an MLM business, and trying will only hurt you. Fall in line with the tone of their offerings, and you’ll be much better prepared to try and take on the task of serving their agenda.
Tell them about their experience in your content. While backstory and personalization on your end are good and helpful parts of building a brand, a significant portion of your newsletter content needs to be more relevant to their story. If you haven’t watched any Mad Men, now is the time. Go burn through a season or six and watch Don Draper work his magic. His scripted ability to tell the story of the consumer is legendary, and is exactly what I’m talking about… only without the boozing and the moral irregularities. Consider the wants and needs of the reader, and then tell the reader what they want and need (the implication being: you understand this, and you are the best at meeting said needs).
Create your social interactions via this same logic. If you’re going to communicate with your subscribers via social media, why not try giving them credit where credit is due? Shout out their good works to your whole audience. It’s great for their moral, and it’s good for others to see you in a position where you are raising up those around you. It doesn’t hurt if part of how they achieved some of the success you point out is via their relationship with you, of course. Regardless of that factor, however, by being a supportive community member you create in your content production the ability to slide in promotional materials from time to time without ever appearing like you’re abusing social media as an advertising platform instead of as a means to connect.