Face it… look in the mirror: Do you see Steve Jobs looking back?! NO?! So get over it! Apple is a religion, Starbucks is a religion, Coke is a… follow me?! They have followers, disciples and BELIEVERS! They started something great, but it wasn’t always a “religion”. They had to build it and it took time.

There are many reasons why people start businesses. Money, believe it or not is not the driving factor, it’s passion. Passion for what you do and what you sell. That’s why you started. Steve Jobs has passion! Of course he now has $money$ too. You believe in your product so much you think there is NO WAY others can’t “believe” as much as you! I mean, so help me if I tell you why your product sucks! This passion can backfire and often does!

Here’s my point…I’ll be quick, I promise. When was the last time you signed up for an email newsletter? OK…When was the last time you read one? I’m willing to bet rarely if at all. Why? You don’t care!! Nobody “reads” email “blasts” (I said blast because you and I both know what it is…it’s a blast to push something…be honest! It’s not an “informative” “newsletter”). If you don’t get me in the subject line, sorry, too busy trying to sell my own products, can’t be worried about buying yours! Email marketing has changed. 99% of the ones I get are horrible. I can tell just by the way they look how bad the stats are. Luckily I don’t get any in my professional email, I do get them in my personal email however…funny, to date I have NEVER signed up to receive an email “blast”. Hmmmmmm….anyway, can they still work? Believe it or not, yes. Below you will be what has worked and why and what does NOT work and why.

Look below…This was an email I received in my inbox. Go ahead…I’ll wait…………………

WTF are they thinking? Really?! You think anyone with a life will actually look at that?! This looks like a yard sale! You DO NOT have to put everything you ever learned in a single email. Nobody cares! This thing had golf clubs, tires, heavy text, the kitchen sink, a baby…throw it in!!! What is the point of this email? Look how long it is?! Wow! I thought, man these people need my help bad! But, I’m busy and they don’t even know they need me. So, I’ll just use them as an example for all of you on what NOT to do. : ) Why? Because I care, that’s why. Honestly I can tell you a million things what’s wrong with this email, but I think you can see it for yourself. Oh…this was sent on September 23, 2010. So it’s not like it was sent 5 years ago when we didn’t really know “how to” do these the right way. Unbelievable! Right? Use common sense. I mean, would you read that?!

Too much Text
Too many graphics
Way too long
ALL Selling!!
Product push
No focus…where should I end?!

You get the point.
This person has no relationship with me! Never met him, I have no idea who he is. That is mistake number 1. You are more likely to turn people off than gain a following by doing this. I wouldn’t buy anything from this cat if he had the last putter in the world and I was putting to win the FedEx Cup!

Email example below:

This was for a new company in Texas. The stats on this email were very high, not just that, it was amazingly successful…for a few main reasons. The subject line had the words “Sneak Preview”. You see I knew the audience of 3500+ was anticipating the opening. The person that sent the email has great relationships in the community and with this audience. The “sneak preview” was the focus. An “organically produced video” was done. People LOVE media and video! The video was nice, well-done, shot in HD etc… but not too polished and over produced like an Avatar movie. Why? I needed video and the person in the video to be herself and real. Otherwise it would look staged and gimmicky. There is a fine balance. It’s OK not to spend thousands on a video. Other than celebrity videos, look at the top videos on Youtube that went viral. The actual email was simple: VERY little text… Call to action, click to go to the new website, click to get the sneak preview video, date of opening. Colors and look were consistent with the brand message and personality. The viewer didn’t have to scroll much if at all (depends on screen size of course) to see the entire email. The actual text in the boxes they didn’t even have to read…there were clearly identifiable buttons for them to push.

Your goal is to get the viewer OUT of the email ASAP. (Or at least want to come back to it later.) You need them to engage with you on your website and take action. (Assuming your website doesn’t suck)

Again, this one email was extremely effective! It worked for a LOT of reasons. Letting your audience feel invited they are about to see something for the first time is intriguing to them. You have to know your audience! It was a carefully thought-out strategy that DIRECTLY affected the bottom line in a very positive way. Now there were other factors here, but that goes back to doing your homework.

So next time you think someone is drooling over your “gizmos” think again. Know your audience and be passionate, but know your limits on pushing too hard. Email is a time to invite and engage, not a time to sell and push anymore (unless your Apple and people are camping outside your stores to buy…in which case PUSH). In this article I used email as an example, but think about the other ways you connect with buyers and potential buyers. Are you on a platform to sell or engage? Should you be educating and building relationships? In the end you don’t have to be Steve Jobs or Starbucks to find buyers, just build good relationships with the target audience, identify the real “believers” and let them sell your stuff. Amplify their voices by including them in your outreach. Sometimes that just involves talking to them or letting them in on a sneak preview video tour of your new place.

Oh…if I get an email from you that looks like the first one, I’m calling you and telling you how much it sucked. Don’t be a statistic.

Author: Richard Harmer, Brady Media Group