Give a man a hammer, and everything looks like a nail. That's the way a lot of new e-marketers treat their ACT! /Swiftpage drip marketing tool. They think, "Woo-hoo! Now I can send automated sales pitches 24/7!”
Even if you're a veteran e-marketer, you may be tempted to go over to the dark side. ACT’s new e-marketing tool makes it easy to "set it and forget it." But with great power comes great responsibility.
I tell my clients “never sell anything directly in your drip marketing campaigns.” Now, never is a long time, and there may be instances where a sales pitch is perfectly warranted and acceptable --not because you think so, but because your readers are at a point in your sales process where they're ready to be asked for their order (as opposed to you asking by default).
Drip marketing is for relationship building, not selling. If you need sales now, hire a salesperson. Building relationships takes time plus a genuine interest in each person you put on your drip campaign.
Instead of sending automated sales pitches, write drip marketing messages that educate, influence, persuade, inform, advise, and entertain.
Readers are smart. They know how to connect the dots between valuable information and contacting you when they want to take the next step. They’re not “prospects.” Readers are "people you want to know better so you can help them more."
If marketing automation tools only excite you for the purpose of accelerating your own personal agenda, then it’s time for an attitude adjustment. Drip marketing messages filled with bullet-pointed product features, specials of the day, last-chance discounts, cajoling, pleading, and begging for the order--these are not good looks for you and your company. They’re boring, and they fail miserably at bringing in more business.
Here's an example of the all-time worst e-marketing message I ever received. The subject line was, "Help me win a bet with my wife." Intriguing. So far so good. The message opens with a picture of "the family:" dad, mom, son and dog, standing in front of the family Jaguar convertible. Mom’s in her fur coat. The headline under the picture reads in bold red type: "Help Send my Family to Hawaii!"
The next 514 words explain in great detail how if I (and presumably everyone else on his list) buy enough of this man's product before his manufactured deadline of “end of business tomorrow,” he will take his entire family to Hawaii and win a bet with his wife who doesn't believe this incredible feeding frenzy of financial funding is very likely (moms: gotta love ‘em; even in fur coats, they’re so practical).
There are so many problems with this message, it’s hard to know where to start.
First of all, I don't know this guy. He is a vendor in my industry, but we've never done business together. What emotion am I supposed to feel when I see this picture of family harmony and affluence? Empathy for their desire to see the Islands?
Why should I send his family to Hawaii? If I send anyone, it’ll be me, myself and I. I don’t care about his wife’s bet. Just the opposite, in fact. Now I have an ick reaction about him and his product.
Second, here’s how I know he doesn’t really care about my needs above his family’s: He doesn’t pass the personal pronoun test. Sales copy is more effective when you talk about me more than you. Effective marketing messages use a 2: 1 ratio of “you,” “your” and “yours” versus “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine,” “we,” “ours,” and “us.”
I counted 23 “me” references in this message to 20 “him” references. Not as bad a ratio as it could’ve been, but not high on pure “what’s in it for me” (not him) persuasion either. Maybe messages like this work when they are sent to customers who know you. Maybe, but not likely. When we meet people like this IRL (in real life), we tend to cross the street to avoid them because all they do is talk about themselves.
The only sense of urgency this kind of self-promotion creates is how fast the reader can press his delete button. So not only do you create a "not interested" reaction to your first message, now you’ve set up a “not interested ever” reaction on future messages (or an opt-out altogether). A reader’s time and attention is a terrible thing to waste.
Drip marketing campaigns are highly effective relationship builders if you put aside your need for immediate sales gratification and, instead, focus on how you can help or become a resource for your readers. If you can’t, you'll miss out on a valuable marketing channel that adds long-term incremental revenue to your bottom line, is a source of ongoing referrals, and positions your company with unfair competitive advantage. And all you have to do is stop selling.
Lori, we always enjoy your insights and tips, this is no exception. Thank you!