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Steve McCardell | stevemccardell

Two Sides of E-mail Marketing

Dec 1st 2010 at 4:58 PM

In the world of professional web development -- and I mean when you're hiring consultants to major corporations and such -- there are two primary sides to building a website. One has to do with usability. Obviously you need a site that operates as it's meant to.

But plenty of websites work. That's not the end goal. The end goal is to persuade some action. And that's the other side of development, famously noted in the PET concept -- Persuasion, Emotion, and Trust.

The same concept can and should be carried into e-mail. All the time I hear networkers, for example, talk about needing more leads. But maybe they should focus more on the quality of interaction they have with fewer leads. Then it wouldn't all be about a numbers game. It would be about a relationship -- and don't they call networking "relationship marketing"?

That's as it should be, but often not how it is.

E-mails from networkers, for instance, habitually take the same tired approach every time. First, they're probably being shot out to people the networker doesn't know, and how often have you read an e-mail that begins like this:

"Are you tired of all the BS?" or "You already know that the money is in the list, but ..." or "Hey {FIRSTNAME}, are you sick of the gurus jerking you around? What they're not telling you is ..."

(Yeah, you've seen {FIRSTNAME} in your inbox, haven't you?)

You've heard what they say about not offering unsolicited advice. But that's exactly what these e-mails are until someone invites you in. And the first thing you have to do to get that invitation is gain someone's trust. So why do we jump so quickly into selling something rather than building a relationship?

You can have the leads, you can have a system that allows you to send an e-mail to someone. But do you have the content that actually encourages a "sale" -- that is, have you built trust, learned what someone needs in their life, and then provided for their needs?

Now think for a moment about something proven to work because it focuses on building trust first: article marketing. When someone's searching for information on something they are interested in, they come across an article that addresses their need. Your article. You show yourself to be an authority and now they trust you. And now they learn more about you in your bio and perhaps take the next step of buying from you or joining you in some program.

In a similar way, people in forums can establish trust through meaningful posts, and the only marketing they do is perhaps in a signature at the bottom. Have you considered that in e-mail?

Every day we interact with those who should already trust us (friends and family), and if we haven't lost that trust by beating them silly with programs and promises of money, we can market with a signature only. We focus on the relationship, e-mailing as we always do, but they see the signature on a regular basis, which can build "brand" recognition of what you're involved in. And if THEY choose to check it out, they can. And you've lost zero credibility and trust.

We can of course do this for free with a text signature, or we can use the popular eSig tool to capture a lot more attention with images and animations; get stats on button clicks; promote multiple programs if we like; and even have simple web pages at our disposal. eSig only costs $9 a month, so it's used by a lot of networkers in this kind of way. (They have templates for a large number of network marketing companies.) But you still want to ask ... what are people putting into the CONTENT of their e-mails? Are they focused on building trust followed by a signature?

Following this same thinking, if we stick to a signature to make our sales pitch, we can focus on building relationships with those we don't know. We can provide answers, tips, or whatever it is that they're looking for. In the process, we make legitimate friends rather than just business partners who are here one day and gone the next. And in doing so, we build much more long-lasting teams, and teams that will look into anything with us due to a true interest in mutual success.

This article has focused on the "T" of PET. Building and maintaining trust. But that is the first thing to accomplish, because the mind is the first defensive barrier. Get past that and you'll have people truly hearing what you have to offer.

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