For Professional Consultants & Financial Advisors: Bill’s Top 7 Email Bloopers

Sending email this week while on vacation, I realized how many mistakes many of us make when using email as a marketing tool. Humbly, I offer my unscientific Top 7 Email Bloopers to avoid in email, as I’m learning to do in mine. Hope it’s helpful.

1. Limp Lists
When building your email list, add only those who actually want on it. I’m on the road a lot, and return with a fistful of business cards from executives who seemed “interested.” But they’ve not really opted-in.

Get permission in a 3-second question (phone, face or mail): “We share a lot of valuable content of benefit to your business, may I add you to our list?” Whether you grow lists organically or through acquisition, add names carefully or suffer a Rube Goldberg contraption.

2. Ego-Laced Email
All business depends on our ability to sell something to someone. Even the great Einstein knew that “Nothing happens until something moves.” Get into your subscribers’ heads and understand what they value. Deliver content that’s useful, relevant, interesting, humorous, factual, entertaining, comforting, and thought provoking. As a kid, I watched road signs on long car trips that tickled my brain. Every 100 yards stood big red teaser signs like—My job is . . . Keeping Faces Clean . . . and Nobody Knows. . . the De-Stubble I’ve Seen. Then, wham! Burma-Shave.

People love stories. We’re hardwired to pay attention to them. Share your stories. Evoke responses, and learn how readers think. Park your ego. Deliver valuable content. And try to resist selling until you’ve created trust.

3. Pointless Subject Lines
Free Shipping-Reorder. Subscribe Now. Register for Webcast. Millions of examples of ho-hum subject lines fill stuffed inboxes daily. Keep your subject line short and smart, no more than seven clever words because that’s the capacity limit of our working memory, cites the classic research of George A. Miller in The Psychological Review. Today, researchers believe we can only hold three to four things in our head. Make every word count.

4. Boringly Bad Content
A key writing rule warns us to “keep it bright and tight.” Say something of value. Get to the point. Say it well. Or assign email marketing to a staffer or an experienced outside writer who can reflect your voice. Spend time on your email copy, read it aloud, ask others to proof it. What passes today for good English deadens the mind. Errors of grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure and redundancy weakens the best of sales messages.

5. No Value Nuggets
Even well-written emails fall flat if no perceived value to the reader. Offer a glistening nugget like a timely white paper, a fast-read success story, a hard-to-find statistic, a new study or a useful link he can appreciate. We’re all in the publishing business today to some degree. Take the role seriously. Publish your content, your point-of-view, your unique perspective, your expertise, whatever you can to rise above the crowd.

6. Unsociable Behavior
As much as we (of a certain age) may view social media as alien invaders, use it or be tagged as unsociable. Encourage readers who value your content to forward it, share it, like it, link it, tweet it, or pin it. Today’s world hums with digital harmony. Join the chorus.

7. No Unsubscribes
Always include an visible unsubscribe option in any email. When you send emails to people who didn’t actually ask for them, you’re breaking the law. Federal law in the Can-Spam Act stipulates that companies must follow guidelines for bulk commercial email. Give everyone the freedom to opt-out. And Let Your Reader Go.

Better yet, give readers every content reason to stay on board while you earn trustworthy dialogue.

See you on the upside,

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