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					  Stop Throwing Money in the Trash
How to prevent prospects, leads and clients from deleting your email
                       marketing budget
                              Matthew Shaw
                                1/20/2010
Stop Throwing Money in the Trash
How to prevent prospects, leads and clients from deleting your email marketing budget




Table of Contents
The Delete Button is Not Your Friend ........................................................................................................................................................ 3
Change Your Medium................................................................................................................................................................................. 3
Marketing 101: Know Thy Audience ......................................................................................................................................................... 4
Nix the Fluff................................................................................................................................................................................................ 5
Target Practice ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 6
If You Skipped to the End, Read This: ....................................................................................................................................................... 7
                                                                          So how can you prevent your email recipients from throwing your
The Delete Button is Not Your Friend                                      marketing budget into the garbage? Let’s break it down.

File this under “Things I knew already,” if you’d like, but I want to
start out by simply stating that if you’re engaging in direct
marketing (or “outbound” marketing, if you’d prefer), the one thing
                                                                          Change Your Medium
you likely despise the most is the delete button.
                                                                          The primary reason that emails get deleted is that a reader isn’t
If one of your emails gets deleted, it means you have failed on some      compelled to action. If you’re a seasoned email marketer you know
fundamental level to engage your audience. Deletions come in              that sending untargeted emails to your database is a very bad idea.
many different forms: unopened emails, emails sent to a SPAM              You also know that asking a reader to perform an action without
folder, or worst of all the dreaded unsubscribe. Sure, there are slight   providing clear value is similarly bad. These things are cardinal sins
differences in each of these actions, but at their core they all mean     of email marketing, so I’ll assume that you’re not guilty of them.
the same thing: someone doesn’t want to hear what you’re saying.
It’s an awful experience, and one that every direct marketer must         If you’re adhering to email marketing best practices and your
cope with at some point.                                                  emails are still being deleted, then it may be the fault of your
                                                                          medium.
Perhaps more potent than this rejection of your good intentions –
after all, you are only trying to help your email recipient by offering   Are you still using static text and graphics to try to engage people?
your product or service – is the financial cost of an email deletion.     If so, you should know better. We live in an on-demand world
You put a tremendous number of man-hours into the crafting of             where every pixel on our Web browser competes for attention. Is
your email message. You’ve sent your content to your designers,           text winning this war? Hardly. A block of text could never be as
who sent their content to the HTML programmers, who sent their            compelling as a video on the same topic. Don’t believe me?
code to the email administrators, who sent the email to a pre-
determined list. Your IT department is monitoring the performance         Did you know that YouTube is the second-biggest search engine in
of this email blast so that they can send you the statistics you need     the world, after Google?
to optimize your messaging strategy.
                                                                          It’s true. Think about it. More people watch the news than read the
And one click of the delete button made all of that work                  newspaper. More people watch TV than read books. More of your
meaningless. How much money do you think is wasted every time             customers would rather watch a video of your product than read a
someone deletes an email?                                                 spec sheet.

Likely more than your boss cares to think about.
Still don’t believe me? Google and DoubleClick recently released a
report that said that video is four to seven times more engaging
than static media. That same report indicated that the promise of           “But I’m an XYZ company. I can’t do video.”
video content behind a link earns click-through rates three to four         Utter nonsense. If you can use pictures, you can use video. If you
times higher than the promise of static media. And according to             can use text, you can use video. Just because no one else is using
research done by Flimp Media, the average viewer response rate for          video doesn’t make it verboten. If there isn’t another company in
video email is north of 28%.                                                your particular industry or market using video, then get out in front
                                                                            of it before someone else does.
It’s clear, then, that video is much more engaging than text and
images. That makes sense, though. What doesn’t make sense is                If no one is fishing the pond, there are a lot of fish with your name
why so few people use it. The excuses are in no short supply. Maybe         on them.
you’re familiar with a few of them:

“But I don’t have any video content.”                                       Marketing 101: Know Thy Audience
Funny, your competitors do. Someone at a competing company
thought that video would be a great idea, so they invested a couple         Who is your ideal buyer? I want you to picture in your head the guy
of bucks in a cheap video camera and some basic editing software.           (or gal) who, if you cloned him three million times, would make
And now they’re investing an hour a week in creating fun video              your job really easy. Picture the guy who understands the inherent
content that they use to engage their Web audience – content that           value of your product or service because it solves a problem that
they probably repurpose for their email marketing efforts. That             plagues him daily. Can you see him? Good. Now answer a few
leaves you in the lurch a bit, doesn’t it? Ball’s in your court.            simple questions:

If you don’t have video content, you’d better get with it.
                                                                            Do You Know Who I Am?!
                                                                            What is your ideal buyer like? Is he young or old? Urban or rural?
“It’s too expensive to create video.”                                       Modern or classic? Think about the music he likes, the books and
You know what else is expensive? Dumping money into email                   magazines he reads, the websites he visits, the stores he frequents,
marketing efforts that generate a pitiful return.                           the clothes he prefers, the people he hangs out with, and so on. I
                                                                            want you to know everything about this guy that you can possibly
In fact, creating video is really cheap. Heck, I’ll bet your laptop has a   know. He is, after all, your best friend. (In theory, anyway.)
camera built into it. What would it cost to click the “record” button
and give a thirty-second spiel about why you think your product
could benefit a company in the XYZ Industry? Prorate your annual
salary to thirty seconds. That’s how much it costs.
What Do I Do?                                                             Nix the Fluff
What is your ideal buyer’s occupation? What are his
responsibilities? Is he a decision-maker? Is he in control of a           Like most Americans who would rather not be bothered, I get a lot
budget? Does he run a department? If so, which one? Who works             of prospecting emails that are cluttered with fancy graphics telling
for him? Who does he work for? Are there any challenges inherent          me to do half a million things at once. 10% off this, buy-one-get-
to his kind of work? What are they?                                       one that, limited time offer the other – all in the same email. The
                                                                          person who sent me this message obviously thinks I have a lot of
                                                                          time on my hands and can spend the time clicking each and every
What Do I Need?                                                           call to action he throws at me. Or, if not, he is simply
What problems, hurdles or roadblocks keep your ideal buyer awake          demonstrating that he has no idea what it is I want, and is throwing
at night? Why hasn’t he overcome them yet? What is he currently           everything he has at me in the hopes that something will stick.
doing to try to overcome these obstacles? How often does he come
in contact with them? Is he making due with these obstacles or            Guess what? Nothing ever sticks.
trying to face them head-on? Has he made plans that compensate
for setbacks due to these problems? If so, will the implementation        Schizophrenic emails are the worst kind. If you have five different
of your solution force him to alter his workflow? If so, is this a good   incentives to offer, how conceited would you have to be to assume
thing or a bad thing?                                                     that in a single email you can convey the real value of all five offers
                                                                          without writing pages of ad copy? Hemingway couldn’t do that, and
                                                                          neither can you.
What Can You Do For Me?
In order to consider buying your product or service, what does your       One Message
ideal buyer require? What are the deal-breakers? How does your            Of the five incentives you are offering, which is the most
solution fit with the products or services he’s already using? Does it    compelling? Which creates the most value for your customer?
replace any of them? If so, what added value do you offer? What           Which provides the greatest mutual benefit? Once you have this
about your product is more appealing to him than the products of          figured out, come up with a creative way to present the value of
your competitors?                                                         this proposition. But keep it simple: “I know you need a solution to
                                                                          Problem X, and Product Y (or Service Z) is just what you need.”
Knowing what your buyers need in graphic detail is your greatest
weapon against the wasting of your marketing budget.                      Remember: You’re not selling products or services. You’re selling
                                                                          solutions.
One Video                                                               Target Practice
So you’ve got your message. Good for you. Now dust off your video
camera and find a creative way to tell the world that you               Now that you’ve got a compelling (single) offer, it’s time to figure
understand how people are struggling with Problem X, and how            out who will best understand the value of it. Marketing 101 taught
Product Y (or Service Z) solves that problem. Now your solution has     us to always, always keep the audience in mind when crafting a
a face. This is a very good thing.                                      message. Now it’s time to figure out who that audience is and how
                                                                        to get your message to them.
Video changes the implications of a message from “My company
will sell you a product to help you deal with Problem X” to “I can
solve that problem for you.” Which do you think is more                 Go Vertical
compelling?                                                             Let’s revisit your ideal buyer, shall we? You probably already have
                                                                        an idea as to what kind of company he works for. What industry is
                                                                        that company in? Are you intimately familiar with the goings on in
One Button
                                                                        that industry? If not, it’s time to bone up on your blogs and trade
You have created a video that tells your customer in no uncertain       mags. Is your message particularly timely to current events? Can
terms that the solution to Problem X is well within his reach. You      you make it timely? If so, you stand a much better chance of
want him to perform a certain action now, whether it’s                  making your messaging more effective.
downloading a white paper, signing up for a free trial, contacting
your sales department, or any of a variety of other things. Why on
earth would you give your customer the opportunity to do anything       Get Horizontal
other than what you want him to do?                                     Check out the buzz among people with the similar jobs in the social
                                                                        media sphere. What’s the latest trend? Are new Google protocols
It happens all the time. The most recent email in my inbox as I write   making CMOs rethink their SEO strategy? Are more IT
this is a solicitation from a marketer who goes on for three            professionals experimenting in the cloud? Are entrepreneurs
paragraphs about how great his white paper is. He wants me to           lamenting changes to federal tax codes? If so, how does your
download it. But in the email there are links to his website’s          product or service fit into this picture? Can you make your message
homepage, a press release about one of his products, and a              relate to these hot topics?
YouTube video. (I clicked the link to the video and subsequently got
lost on YouTube perusing videos that had nothing whatever to do
with the services offered in this email.)                               Get In the Crosshairs
                                                                        If you can relate your product or service to a current trend in a
Never forget that you control the buying environment. Don’t let
                                                                        particular vertical market and a hot topic among those with a
your reader become distracted!
                                                                        certain occupation, then you’ve just hit the jackpot. All you have to
do now is create a message that positions your product as a
solution not just to the problems of an industry or occupation, but
to the problems facing an occupation within an industry. For
example, the problems facing HR professionals in the
manufacturing industry, or buyers for electronics retailers, or CMOs
at telecomm companies.

The more you speak to a reader’s individual needs, the more your
message resonates.

So there you have it. A no-nonsense guide to doing everything you
possibly can to give your audience an incentive to click. I’m excited   About the Chump Who Wrote This:
to hear your thoughts about this, and to listen to your comments
and suggestions. I’ve listed my contact info at the bottom of this
                                                                                                  Matt Shaw, a.k.a. “The Marketing Intern,”
page. When you’re done reading the blurb next to my ugly mug,
                                                                                                  lives and works in central Massachusetts.
reach out and let me know what you think.
                                                                                                  He is the Marketing Director at Flimp
                                                                                                  Media, a small company that develops
                                                                                                  really, really cool video marketing
                                                                                                  software for businesses. He is also the
                                                                                                  host of a weekly web show called
If You Skipped to the End, Read This:
                                                                                                  “Checking Out Early with The Marketing
    1. When a reader deletes your email, your money goes in the                                   Intern,” hosted on his blog.
       trash.
    2. Video is better than text and graphics at keeping your           Matt is currently writing (and pitching) a book tentatively titled The
       money out of the trash.                                          New Rules of Marketing, and Why They’re All Wrong. He lives in
    3. There is no good excuse for not using video.                     Westborough, MA, with his fiancée and their two gorgeous
    4. Know what your audience needs.                                   children.
    5. Eliminate all the content in your message that does not
       address your audience’s needs.                                   You can contact Matt here:
    6. Eliminate all content in your message that does not compel
       your reader to do the one thing you want him to do.              Email: shaw.matthew.p@gmail.com
    7. Adapt your message to be timely from both an industrial          Twitter: @CheckOutEarly
       and occupational point of view.                                  LinkedIn: Click here.
    8. Stop throwing your money in the trash.                           Facebook: Click here.

				
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