You Don’t Have to Hit a Homer Every Time

I like to look at email marketing the same way I look at sports. That’s mostly because I like to look at everything like I look at sports, but whatever. I like competition and I like physical power. YOLO, right?

Anyway, I’m going to draw a quick analogy to baseball. Not because I love baseball, but because I spend a healthy portion of each day listening to old men yell about it on the radio, and I’ve picked up a thing or two because of it. Let me get to the point.

One of the most exciting aspects of baseball is the home run. Not only does it require a great deal of skill and physical prowess, but it’s a one-time, hard-nosed effort that puts points on the board right away. It’s great, right? Well, I bring that up, because I think many people look at email marketing the same way – assuming that the only successful attempts (in this case, newsletters) are the ones that result in big sales or loads of new clients.

Unfortunately, swinging for the fences every time doesn’t always put the ball out of the park. In fact, it rarely does, and it rarely wins games, either. This is where the game’s parallel with email marketing is most apparent. In both marketing and baseball, effective managers know that winning the game means laying some groundwork first. Setting up a single or two, and getting a few runs on base not only increases your chance of snagging the win, but (and here’s the really important part) that kind of strategy also makes the eventual home run that much more impactful.

So, what does that mean, exactly? When you’re managing your email newsletter campaign, put some effort into building a sustained and engaged subscriber base with interesting content, surveys and simple incentives. Then, after a few months of conservative gameplay, you can finally bring out the big bats and try and hit one out into the parking lot. Use a subscriber exclusive weekend sale or limited time offer to make the most of all your ground work, and show your subscribers that you appreciate their attention.

With some careful game management and a few easy plays early in the game, finally hitting that big homer will be much more satisfying—and successful.

Before I go, no baseball-related piece would be complete with a quote from the great Yogi Berra: “When you come to a fork in the road…take it.” Totally irrelevant to the topic at hand, but it’s such a great quote I had to share it.

Happy Sending!