Last year I made half a dozen resolutions for 2012 as an email marketer. The basic overall theme was to focus more on relating better to people we serve on their terms, be they clients of the company I work for or subscribers to an email newsletter of any of those clients.
I don’t know how you did with your resolutions, but here’s my self-assessment of how I did.
1. Stop talking like a rocket scientist
I’d give myself 7 out of 10 on this one. While like to think I’m naturally talented at putting industry terms and complex ideas into frames of reference which people can understand, I still found myself being lazy at times. Who wants to write out ESP or CTA and so on? I’ll tell you, don't confuse the people who most need to understand what you are saying!
Don’t assume people know what the jargon and the abbreviations mean! Assume the opposite and you’ll be a better teacher.
2. Tell better stories with real world examples
This past year has really made it clear to me that people want those case studies, data and real world examples. I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers and industry insiders trying hard to do just that. For example major email marketing conferences are being even pickier about speakers and insisting they have case studies and not just pontificate.
A good story based in fact makes the best lesson.
3. Be not an email or social media marketer, but a marketer who uses the right channels and devices to reach the right people
I don’t think we’ve made a great deal of progress here. A recent study by Pitney Bowes Software found an apparent disconnect between what channels marketers are focused on and what channels people are actually on. 57% of marketers reported using Twitter and yet only 31% of consumer respondents are actually on it. 51% of marketers said they use Google+ and yet only 21% of consumers are using it. On the flipside, 53% of consumers are on YouTube and only 41% or marketers have a presence there.
It’s a case of “shiny object” syndrome. We’d rather find some new magic channel and jump all over that then reassess how we are doing with established channels such as email (which according to Ispos is used by 85% of people online around the world). What we should be doing is creating conversations which span multiple channels, talking less and listening more.
5. Use data to get to know customers better, be more relevant and engaging and move closer towards the 1-1 conversation
You’ve got to test and you’ve got to listen. You’ve got to ask your subscribers and your frontline staff what your customers are asking about and then answer those questions, using each channel based on its best strength.
This means testing and unless your email marketing service provider is in the dark ages, testing should have gotten more intuitive and easier to leverage in 2012 than ever before. Take a second look at what tools you have at hand for this and if it’s they are not as easy as screwing in a light bulb, ask your email marketing company why and what they plan to do to change it.
5. Worry less about what a product does and more about what people do with it
I like the fact that this has resonated with marketers this year. I’m not claiming credit for it by any means, but I have heard more discussion and seen more examples of people sharing stories rather than spec sheets. Heck, even having consumer reviews online goes a long way in this regard. Sometimes I read a user review and they share something they do with a product which I never even thought of. That alone can actually increase the perceived value to a potential buyer.
Why not share the reviews you get across multiple channels? And don’t forget that the bad reviews can be powerful marketing opportunities if you react in a positive and constructive way to them.
6. Do something different
I’d like to think I broke out of my shell a bit this year and tried to move outside my comfort zone. Each time I did, I learned something.
How about you? What did you try this past year or what do you plan to try this coming year that’s new and different?