I feel fortunate to have discovered some simple tools in the strategic growth of our Long Island and Stamford profitability consulting & tax business, and one of these foundational tools has been the power of real relationships — and forming them through email marketing.

Many businesses and organizations use email marketing of course, but often it’s with middling-to-poor results, which is easily written off: ‘Email marketing doesn’t really work,’ they say. As with any media, however, the problem usually lies with the execution rather than the tools. And as my Grandfather taught me when I was a boy: A poor workman blames the tools.

My last Note dealt with (just a few) commonly-held myths about email marketing which, when adhered to, lead to exactly those kinds of poor results which I just mentioned.

So, let’s give you some tactics and strategies which do work, shall we?

But as I mentioned last week, I should hasten to add that I have stumbled upon the power of all of this mostly through experimentation and testing. I do not claim to be an email marketing “guru”. However, I have seen things work, and I’d like to let you peek behind my curtain a little…

Michael Kessler’s Trenches-Tested Email Marketing Strategies
When you see “boot-strapping” internet businesses which are thriving these days (usually doing seven figures with 1 employee, and the owner working from his basement — yes, they exist and are actually quite plentiful!),  or non-profit organizations which have a thriving internet presence that fuels their growth, a key “hidden” secret behind their success is usually excellent email marketing.

In a future Note, I’ll discuss how the following can be systemized, but here are 3 essential components of email marketing which drive sales and organizational growth:

1. Write with sincerity and authenticity — not being smart and smarmy. And to do so, make sure that you are writing (in your mind) to an individual, NOT to a list.

As you write, visualize who that recipient is — in all regards. Which, of course, presumes that you have a good handle on that information … but that’s a topic for another day.

Know their fears and phobias, their wants and needs, their objections and their hot buttons — and write with those clearly in mind.

That means writing to a real person! A contact list does not read your emails. There is no jostling crowd looking over shoulders reading a computer screen or iPhone. As far as your recipients are concerned, and the effect you want to have on them — he or she is the only one receiving your email; he or she is the only one in the room with you; he or she is the only one you’re seeking to build a long-lasting relationship with (and, um, don’t worry about ending a sentence with a preposition or a dangling participle 🙂 ).

2. Understand and integrate the Pareto Principle (The “80/20” rule).
Your emails should contain approximately 80% valuable content and 20% pitch.

Or, put another way, 80% of the emails you send should be valuable in and of themselves (truly valuable — not junk which could easily be found by a random internet search on your topic), which leaves 20% of your emails to prompt a specific response (a reply, clicking on a link to sales or lead-generation page, donating to your non-profit, etc.).

Your readers must believe, based on the valuable and actionable content you consistently provide, that you truly are their friend and advocate — that you’re not just interested in their money, but rather their overall well-being.

Doing anything less than this is abusing their trust (which leads to unsubscribes and steadily-decreasing response), and forms no relationship with prospects, clients, and/or donors.

And a related tip: Write about what your READERS care about … not about all the great, hottest things which you and your organization are up to. News-flash: People care a lot less than you think they do … unless you prove to them that you care about THEM. This is, after all, a principle as old as time.

3. Write as much as you’d like! Do NOT believe the myth that “nobody reads long emails”. The truth is far more reasonable: Nobody reads long, poorly-written emails  — which, if you wrote them without keeping your recipients concerns in mind (see #1), are likely to be one and the same.

Because if you’ve successfully attracted the attention and increased the interest of your list, your readers will read every word you wrote and wish you wrote more, because …

… you are writing about something near and dear to their heart, or wallet! And they just can’t get enough of what you can tell them about how what they’re interested in purchasing or supporting is exactly what they need or should be connected to, for all the reasons you can possibly list (which usually confirms what they already knew or suspected).

Can I give you a 4th component? Yes? Here: Try to write with personality. Be unpredictable. Be controversial. Be engaging. Be fascinating. Don’t shrink back from who you really are. Make your contact list want to receive your emails, rather than suffer through them.

In a future Note, I’ll share with you how you can begin to systemize this process, and develop a foundation for long-lasting growth through leverage and email marketing.

Until next time, then?

Please do forward this article to a business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance–or simply send them our way. These particular articles relate to business strategy because, as you know, we specialize in profitability consulting as well as tax planning and accounting for small business owners. And though we’re gaining many new clients monthly, we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.

Warmly (and until next week),

Michael Kessler
(516) 449-2852