Relationship Marketing – Email Marketing’s Better Looking Second Cousin ?
Relationship marketing is the softer, fairer version of email marketing but just because it is all sweetness and light doesn’t mean it will be less effective. In fact, as far as email marketing goes, this seems to be a perennial debate. Do you build a humungous list with more focus on the building or do you build a small list and then tend to it like Uncle Maurice tends his prize winning Pumpkin ?
Relationship marketing is all about tending to your list like the aforementioned Pumpkin. But the irony here is that the best pumpkin at the local fair is often the largest one. So the first thing to talk about as far a list building goes (I think we’ll kick the pumpkin analogy into touch now) is size versus quality.
I’m of the school of thought that quality is better than size (ooh, err missus…sorry I said I’d stop that !) I can’t talk about this from personal experience yet as my list is neither large nor have I developed a strong relationship with it. I’m still a work in progress. But the people that I listen to and model, all seem to be of the opinion that quality is best.
For the record, Mark Thompson, a guy that I follow in internet marketing recently came third in a warrior forum special offer product launch with a list a fraction of the size of other affiliates. Apparently he send out a promo email to 2500 people which was smaller than many others competing.
And others who adopt the same strategy have similar stories, in many cases even more competitive than his.
And this conclusion is not only based just on numbers. The churn and burn list building approach seems a bit unrewarding to be honest. If you know someone only stays on your list for 3 weeks so you send him/her promo after promo do you ever help anyone ? Do you ever get any satisfaction from knowing that you have changed someones life for the good ?
Ah..now, I can feel a tear welling up but the truth is that helping other people can help you in more ways than just financial. You could develop new partnerships with people you help. Everyone has different skills to bring to a project but if you only ever rip them off or treat them like an ATM machine, you’ll never find these sorts of things out.
Relationship Marketing Tips
If you have ever read the book “How to win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie you will know it is about improving your relationships with people. It was written 70 odd years ago and is more to do with face to face or interpersonal relationships, but it could just as easily be applied to email marketing. Here are a few points that stand out.
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
Understand who the people are in your niche.
This always helps if you know the niche intimately but you can also get a feel for people by visiting the places where they hang out – forums.
Try to understand their problems, their needs and wants. Ideally you want to become genuinely interested in the issues in their lives after reading about them.
This will frame your email messages in a way that hopefully communicates empathy with the readers.
Omar Martin recommends that you smile when you create audio messages because a sense of fun and warmth will come through even if people can’t see your face.
The same goes for emails.
It might look a bit goofy but smile or at least have a sense of fun when you write your emails. Try to make yourself smile as you write the email or when you reread it. Hopefully, if you have enough empathy with your readers they will smile too.
- Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
Email Autoresponders allow you to put the first name of the person in an email. This can certainly personalize the message you send out and make it seem more friendly.
Of course, most people are wise to this now and some people even put stupid names in place of their real ones – Darth Vader, Mickey Mouse, Astroboy and things like that but don’t let it put you off personalizing your emails.
If you can’t make yourself smile (previous point) then picture writing a message to Astroboy every time you come to writing
Also, write the email as if you a speaking to one person. Some people think they are writing to a list i.e. a group of people and words things accordingly. Don’t do that.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Even though reading an email is a one way communication, you should try to get people involved or participating in your email messages.
Ask questions in the message so that the reader is answering you in their head.
This will turn the one way communication into a dialogue and people will read more of your message.
Also, if people respond to your emails, answer them and let the responses guide future email messages.
Get a conversation started.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
Deliver value. Don’t send out a promotion every email. There are no hard and fast rules but a rule of thumb is to send 4 to 5 value emails to one promotional email. Send out emails that solve people problems and help them – this is the equivalent to talking in terms of the other person’s interest in email marketing terms.
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
Respect your list, don’t treat people like an ATM machine. Have the attitude that you can learn just as much from them as they can from you.
If you can get a conversation going with your list, you will be able to learn heaps from them.
How do you develop a relationship with your list ?
What’s your view on the churn and burn list building strategy versus building a small but well tended list ?
I’d love to hear your views…