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The Golden Rule of Email Marketing

A golden rule to rule them all

I grew up being taught the golden rule that one should always do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

It’s thought which is beautiful in its simplistic wisdom. We've all thought about how much better and brighter this world would be if we all followed this golden rule.

I suppose this could be a problem if you’re masochistic, but let’s assume most of us aren’t...

Email Onto Others as You Would Have Them Email Onto You

It’s not stretch at all to revise this rule to:

"email onto others as you would have them email onto you"

Isn’t that the best place to start? Let’ s put aside all the rocket science and just think of how much better and more effective email marketing would be if we all kept that golden rule front of mind.

Email Marketing Science

Of course there’s a science to email marketing which requires certain elements and, procedures such as testing and optimization – I wouldn’t ever deny that. However, this rule is not about science, this rule is about perspective.  When one is thinking in terms of “us” and not in terms of “us and them,” one does things differently.

I realize I’m oversimplifying here and I’m doing so on purpose. With all the technology we have at our disposal today, we need to be reminded of the most basic things. We are not trying to reach an inbox, we are trying to reach a person.

Be Relevant & Engaging: Know Your Audience

When I was in radio, it was drilled into my head to know my audience. But more than just knowing them, I was encouraged to be them! Back then it meant attending community events, watching the TV shows, and reading the magazines they did. Today it might mean becoming a member of certain online communities, LinkedIn Groups or following people on Twitter or Facebook.

In the old days of push marketing you could just keep shoving stuff out there, but in today’s pull marketing world, it requires us to know our subscribers a lot better than just some demographics on a spreadsheet.

Experience the User Experience

While we are at it, when was the last time you “walked the grounds” and tested the customer experience yourself? From the signup form to the subject line and on through the landing page, CTA and conversion (checkout/payment) doing this keeps you grounded and motivated to continue to optimize the user experience.

Staying Grounded

So yes, there is a lot of science in email and online marketing in general, but don’t spend too much time in the lab and lose perspective by forgetting what should be the golden rule of email marketing.

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By Jim Ducharme

Jim Ducharme (LinkedIn) writes on the intersection between email marketing and social media marketing. Jim is the Community Manager with GetResponse, one of the worlds leading email service providers with clients of all types and sizes around the world. Jim’s role is to reach out to people and communities and help answer their questions and help them enhance their email marketing ROI. He's a veteran broadcaster and editor, having launched such brands as PC World Canada and The eMail Guide as editor. He also has a background in technical support and has built and managed online community networks with hundreds of thousands of subscribers. His traditional and new media experience gives him unique perspective and insight regarding integrated email and multi-channel marketing. Jim loves to demystify complex ideas and terms, putting them into context for busy marketing professionals. You can follow Jim on Twitter - @hugeheadca.

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