Last year, I became aware more than ever of something we’re losing in our society. Some might argue it’s already lost.

Connection.

You know, every day I connect my Amazon Tap speaker to my laptop with Bluetooth technology. I enjoy listening to all sorts of Amazon Prime music stations—classical, jazz, country, and nature sounds.

We connect every day to our electronic devices—smartphones, tablets, computers, and even “smart appliances.”

But how often do we connect to those we care about?

And how often do we really connect with our prospects, clients, and customers?

This is what email has the power to do – to connect you to those who are interested in your business.

But connection is just the tip of the iceberg.

Once you connect with someone, then you have the opportunity to build a relationship.

For instance, take MailChimp.

I’ve been using them as an email service provider (ESP) for nine years.

Sure, there are a ton of other email service providers out there like Constant Contact, AWeber, Campaign Monitor, ConvertKit and more.

But somehow I found MailChimp, liked their interface and options, and joined. At the time I was a marketing manager for a cybersecurity company and looking for alternatives to the clunky email software program we had at the time.

I then promptly got banned with my first email campaign.

Now, that might sound awful (and was more embarrassing than anything else) but here’s what happened:

I contacted MailChimp and explained that I was working with an old list and that my current email software wasn’t giving me accurate information regarding any “dead” addresses – therefore not allowing me to import a clean list to MailChimp.

You see, ESPs are very particular about the lists you import to them.

Why?

Because if you’re sending emails to someone like Joe Snazzypants who didn’t opt-in to your list (by downloading something from your site), then he could mark it as spam.

And then if Suzy McSmart, another MailChimp user, wanted to email Joe Snazzypants at Company XYZ, she couldn’t because Joe’s company server has now identified MailChimp’s email server as a spam-machine and could very well block it.

So it makes sense that MailChimp wants to protect itself by making sure any email contact lists imported to their platform is “clean” and approved for use by those on that list.

This is why it’s a bad idea to buy email lists.

First, you have no idea how old those email addresses are and second, if you didn’t establish a connection with them on your website, there’s a good chance they’ll wail louder than a stuck pig if they feel annoyed.

So back to my story…

I let MailChimp know my blunder was unintentional and pleaded a newbie’s ignorance. They were kind enough to let me back into the party after my profuse apologies. As a result, I sent out a message on social media about how they simply rocked and were plum full of awesome-sauce.

And do you know what they did?

They sent me a bunch of cute ninja stickers! (Picture below)

Notice the message they wrote: Hello Mary Rose, Just a note, and some stickers, to say thanks for your kind words!! If you ever need anything, please let us know! ~ MailChimp

And even in the corner of the postcard it said, “From your human support team.”

Now I will admit I am a HUGE stickler for kindness and good manners.

MailChimp, with a very inexpensive gesture, showed me that not only did they notice my praise but appreciated it by giving me a small reward.

Make a note of that last part.

Rewards are important. The effect of showing your prospects, clients, and customer’s appreciation cannot be overestimated.

MailChimp, with that simple postcard and their helpful support team, built a trusting relationship with me. As a result, I haven’t seriously looked at another ESP in years although they’re multiplying like rabbits.

I know there are other options but I feel like MailChimp and I have something special. In other words… I’m committed to them.

Also remember that this postcard was sent to me years ago and I still have it. That’s something to consider when you mail physical items to your list.

Another ESP would face a big challenge if they tried to woo me away. But I tell you this story to demonstrate a few important lessons:

  1. Connecting with your prospects, clients, and customers in a meaningful, authentic way can be THE most important marketing tactic you employ and will explode like dynamite if you employ it on a regular basis.
  2. Knowing your prospect may have such a relationship already with your competitor should be on your radar and demand heavy-duty strategy sessions from you and your team. How are you going to woo them away?
  3. MailChimp was clever, fun, and real.  How can you incorporate their example into your own business? Stickers aren’t expensive, either. Brainstorm ideas for what you can do that will help your business stand out in the marketplace.

Remember, connection happens when two people meet. What are the chances your perfect buyer will think of you when it comes time to purchase your products or services?

Make it easy for your prospects, clients, and customers to connect with you. Connect with them on a regular basis with helpful and relevant email messages. It’s a great way to build loyalty, repeat sales, and referrals.

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