If I took a look at your email inbox, I bet it would look like mine. A hodge-podge of internal communications, promotional emails, sales emails, event invites, special offers, newsletters, and alerts.
In this article, I’m going to tackle the list email. These are emails you would send to a list of people who completed an opt-in form to stay informed and receive tips and news from your business.
Remember in these previous posts I talked about developing your brand voice? Sending emails on a regular basis gives you the opportunity to talk to your clients and prospects in that voice, further building trust in your knowledge and expertise.
Your emails allow you to build a relationship with your clients and prospects. The more authentic you are the better. Honesty and transparency are valuable currencies. Too few businesses realize today’s anxious world requires more effort than ever to gain the consumer’s trust. The emergence of “fake news” and exposure of products and services that aren’t living up to their claims only adds to the challenge that today’s business owner face.
To cut through the skepticism and doubt, you need a channel which allows you to counter such attitudes with marketing that sound different. And the quickest way to sound different is to say something provocative—but true.
When I say “provocative,” I mean to tackle topics that might be what everyone else is saying but offer a different perspective. Challenge the status quo. Correct assumptions or misstatements. Such messages will continue to support your expert status.
Remember This When Writing List Emails
We live in an entertainment-saturated world.
This reality has affected every level of business. Many large Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies use entertainment in their ads. They also have developed their own content marketing departments, which regularly produce entertaining articles, videos, and podcasts.
So, it shouldn’t surprise you when I say you need to use a few entertaining elements within your emails. Today’s readers are overwhelmed with emails that are pure sales pitches. Very few of those emails are remotely interesting, let alone entertaining.
In fact, you want to create a blend of messages which are both educational and entertaining. These types of emails are commonly called “edutainment” emails.
Consider the type of entertainment you love most. Are you a jazz enthusiast? A huge comic-book movie aficionado? Never miss a gourmet cooking show on the Food Channel? Do you love salsa and Latin dance? Or maybe you enjoy author Michael Connolly’s detective series?
What Do You Find Entertaining?
Whatever you find entertaining, use some of this in your emails. As an example, here’s one of my emails I sent on Memorial Day:
Subject line: By rights we shouldn’t even be here
We’re huge J.R.R. Tolkien fans.
We’ve read The Lord of the Rings. We were mostly pleased with the film versions.
There are a ton of great lessons in both the book and films, but one really touched me.
It touched a lot of people and today, on Memorial Day in the U.S., it seems appropriate to mention it.
For those who haven’t seen the movie, here’s the context:
An evil force called Sauron is trying to get back his power. Except he doesn’t have his body (he’s just this evil, flaming eye that sits on top of the Dark Tower).
And all this evil spirit needs for complete world domination is a special, magical golden ring.
The “One Ring to rule them all.”
A band of good men (and hobbits, dwarves, and elves) get involved in the ultimate fight between good and evil.
The “One Ring” must be destroyed before evil Sauron discovers it.
So, two of the most unlikely characters find themselves tasked with this mission. Frodo and Sam. The hobbits.
The journey to get rid of this ring permanently (which can only happen by throwing it inside a volcano where it will melt away in the lava), is exceedingly difficult.
Too much to go into, but you need to read the book or at least watch the films to appreciate it.
So back to Sam’s speech. It’s a doozy. You’ll be glad I set it up the way I did.
(You Tolkien fans already know where I’m going but isn’t it fun to remember?)
So, Frodo is just plain worn out. He’s beginning to think this quest of theirs is going to fail.
He’s ready to throw in the towel.
Call it a day and try to make it back alive to their cute little hobbit-holes.
Except Sam wasn’t having it.
He gave one of the most inspirational speeches I’ve ever heard in a fantasy film… much less anywhere else.
Here’s what he said:
“Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are.
It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy?
How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow.
Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t.
They kept going.
Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”
On Memorial Day, we remember the veterans who fought for our freedom. Who gave their life defending what they believed in.
Because there is some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for.
We’ll always need guardians to protect what is precious. I am humbled and grateful we have so many who volunteer to do just that.
And may we never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
We honor those lives today.
Now at the end of that email, I did mention my coaching services. However, the bulk of the email, as you can see, was spent on the “entertainment” portion.
I know this runs counter to the idea that in every email you must do straight selling. However, you’d be surprised how an email like the one above helps connect people to you. If the person shares the same interest, they bond a little more with you. Such “mini-commitments” add up when it comes time for someone to consider whether they should stay a client or not.
When I was writing daily emails, I used all sorts of entertainment references: Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” films, Marvel’s Comic Universe (Deadpool, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Captain America, etc.), Walt Disney, TV series (Once Upon a Time, Fringe, Halt and Catch Fire, Limitless, etc.), Michael Connolly’s “Bosch” book series, and jazz music.
Whatever interested me, I’d find a way to connect it to a marketing message. I know you can do the same thing with your services. All it takes is to share what captures your attention and use it as a springboard to highlight your business.
Done right, and you’ll hook your readers faster than Thanos snapping his fingers. Except this time… nothing will disappear but your readers’ disinterest.
Partial excerpts taken from the book, The Maverick Advisor: The New Rules of Marketing for Financial Advisors and Consultants – Get Great Clients, More Respect, and the Fees You Deserve, by Mary Rose Maguire.