How NOT To Do an Email Campaign

I’m a member of a local Toastmasters group in my hometown of Portland, Oregon, and recommend Toastmasters to anyone who wants to get better at public speaking or presentation skills.

Toastmasters International has, over the years, come up with a very effective formula for helping its members get better at oral communication. Unfortunately, there is some evidence that they haven’t quite figured out online communication yet.

For example, there’s an email I received from the head office. Here’s the whole thing:

The pitch, in its entirety: “Please click here to view a special message from International President Michael Notaro.”

What did the message say? I have no idea — I didn’t click on it. And neither, I’ll wager, did many of the 270,000 members who received it. Whoever wrote the email did not offer me a compelling reason to click on the link.

Any time you attempt to communicate with a client or prospect, you are in the “attention-rental” business. You offer information to the recipient, who “pays” for that information with a very scarce resource: his or her attention.

What would prompt your target to open a message from you? Here are three examples:

•A discount on a product or service
•A free e-book or information kit
•An invitation to an exclusive members-only event

Make sure that when you ask for a prospect’s attention, you are offering true value in return.


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