This diary entry is based on real life events.
Dear Email Marketing diary,
About six months ago, I went for my yearly visit to Dr. E. Newsletter. He poked and prodded and checked to make sure everything was working as it should, then he sat down on his little stool, looked me straight in the eyes and asked:
"How is the plumbing?"
I blushed, made note of the nearest exit, squirmed on my seat and said, “I thought you were a marketing doctor. Since when do you ask questions about, er, uh, the pipes?"
"I'm talking about your emails dummy, " he said. “Any blockage, inconsistency, irregularity or even - constipation?"
Still too shocked to comment on his analogy, I stuttered while answering. “Uh, we send out e-newsletters. Probably about fifteen in the last year. "
"What prompts you to send your messages?" he asked.
"When we have things to announce, like a few months ago one of our author's published a new book so we told all our email subscribers about it. Then a few days later we got her book signing tour dates and locations so we emailed again to let the subscribers know where they could meet her. She appeared on CNN, so of course we had to tell everyone about that, and then yesterday we announced her e-course, so we emailed everyone again. "
"Sounds like you have been active. What were you doing before the book came out?" Dr. E. Newsletter asked.
"Oh, not much, everything was same old, same old, not really much to say. The author had not written anything new for a few years so we didn't really have much to communicate. " I explained. “We really don't want to bore people when we have nothing new to say. We had not sent any emails for about a year before the book came out, we had to retrain on the software, our skills were rusty. We had even forgotten the password to the admin panel!" I playfully giggled.
Feeling pretty proud of myself I sat back, looked around the examination room, crossed my arms and noticed my shirt was drenched. I was sweating like a pig! Was I sick? Had I picked up something in this office?
Dr. E. Newsletter noticed my physical condition and became very silent. He got out his prescription pad and started to scribble something.
I panicked and started talking very quickly, “We are not sick, you just said we are active. What are you giving me? I don't want any marketing drugs. "
"Your emails over the past few months sounds like you were blocked and constipated for a year and then digested a book and got a case of Montezuma's Email Revenge. You said you had sent about fifteen emails in the last year. How many of those were sent after the book came out?" Dr. E. Newsletter grunted.
"14. . . " I said, turning my head away in shame.
"Take the prescription, your email marketing campaign sounds like you need it, " Dr. E. Newsletter said as he shoved the pad towards me.
I left the doctor's office that day a little shaken up. Dr. E. Newsletter had compared my email marketing campaign to a common bowel condition. Was my campaign really in trouble? Did it really stink?
It was two days before I even remembered to look at the prescription Dr. E. Newsletter had given me. What kind of a drug would I have to take to fix this?
Turns out, his prescription was pretty easy to follow. We only had to take one dose and we were regular again.
From the desk of Dr. E Newsletter: Take one does of Pepto-Bismail and
1) Send your email marketing newsletters on a pre-determined regular schedule.
2) Keep to the schedule, or stop sending e-newsletters.
Dr. E. Newsletter was right. We rarely got much of a response from our email newsletter campaigns. It probably had to do with our customers rarely hearing from us and then getting bombarded with messages when we wanted them to do something.
One customer even sent us a well written, but scolding, email that said she felt dirty when she would get our messages. It was clear we were only sending her email messages when we wanted something.
I booked a six-month check-up with Dr. E Newsletter. I go next Friday. I am actually looking forward to the visit. We've been sending e-newsletters once a week for about five months now. Oh sure, in the beginning we pulled our hair out a little, but after awhile we got in a groove and now the weekly email message gets sent every Wednesday at noon. Even in the summer when most of the group is on holidays we band together and get that e-newsletter out.
After my last visit to Dr. E Newsletter I vowed to never have my email marketing campaign referred to as constipated, irregular and (I am even ashamed to think it. . ) Montezuma's Email Revenge. How embarrassing!
Dr. E. Newsletter mentioned to me that ‘Email Irregularity’ was the most common condition in email marketing. He said he prescribes gallons of Pepto-Bismail every week.
Readers: Email irregularity is a condition that is extremely dangerous. The customer in the story who said she felt dirty when she would get intermittent emails is a real person. Maybe your customers feel like she does.
This story was inspired by 4 different companies who suffer from Email Irregularity:
*A semi-famous author / coaching company who had not sent an email message in over two years, wrote a new book and then sent a flurry of messages hocking the book.
*A very famous author / business guru who had not sent an email message for months, made a new website, changed some business methods and sent a number of emails in a very short period of time hocking the new business approach.
*A baby products company that sends emails on a very inconsistent basis, and then sent two in one week, both hocking new products.
*A movie distribution company that usually sends an email message about once a month, and then decided to sent three messages in two days.
How would you have felt on the receiving end of these Email Marketing messages?
Having a regular scheduled email marketing campaign encourages:
*Your customers to expect to hear from you. Who knows, they might even look forward to your messages if you are providing real value.
*Repeat customer sales. The more times a customer hears from you, the more likely they are to partake of your services again. (The key is for them to hear from you frequently on a regular basis).
*A perception that you are still in business, you are consistent and you are always ready, willing and able to provide more goods and services.
Just in case you aren't clear on the symptoms of ‘Email Irregularity’ here is a quick summary. If you experience these symptoms follow Dr. E. Newsletter's prescription right away:
*No consistency in the frequency of your Email campaigns - Things are rather irregular.
*A flurry of email messages when something happens in your company Usual sending triggers are a new business approach, a new website, a new product or service - Montezuma's Email Revenge.
*Long periods of time when you don't send any email messages - Total Blockage. Your customers will think you are really sick or even are dead.
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Earn good karma, forward this article to everyone you know who has an email address.
Copyright Joan Pasay - 2005