While trying to start my car the other day, I heard that terrible clicking sound that you hear when the key doesn’t do what it is supposed to. I also felt that instant of internal disappointment, knowing that something I trusted had suddenly let me down. A few more times turning the key didn’t change things; the battery was dead. (The next sound I heard was the clinking of money ringing in my ears). I was going to have to find another way to get to work.
Then it hit me: the dead battery was a lot like some email marketing campaigns I’ve seen. You know when you see a brilliant subject line from a trusted sender, you open the email, and are disappointed by the content? It turns out not to be the insightful and enjoyable read you thought you were getting, but instead just another lame pitch. Don’t be the dead battery in your reader’s inbox.
While eating ice cream one hot afternoon with the kids, I found it hard to keep the ice cream from melting down the cone and all over my hands. They never give you enough napkins at the ice cream shop window, so you’re forced to deal with about a quart of vanilla nut crunch dripping all over the car and trying to mop it up with a single-ply tissue the size of a business card.
My first thought was about how this was exactly like dealing with email deliverability issues. Every time you think you have it licked, the spammers find another loophole and force the ISPs to make changes that catch your legitimate emails in the dragnet. Your email service provider’s compliance department is already catching up to current best practices, and now they, like the tiny napkin, are hopelessly outpaced and saturated with hot fudge and jimmies.
While crossing the street downtown, I stood by the crosswalk for a good fifteen minutes waiting for the cars to stop. Stopping for walkers is the law in my state, but motorists see that as more of a suggestion than a moving violation. Finally, somebody stopped; a nice, little old lady in a 1984 Buick (in mint condition, of course). I waved and stepped out, cars honked, hand gestures were offered, vulgarities were issued, and then I was nearly run down by cars going in the other direction.
“This is exactly like email compliance,” I realized. One good email marketer sends their perfectly compliant, well-messaged, highly-engaging, double opt-in email, while all the other messages in the inbox are like the other drivers on the road, honking, gesturing, screaming for attention. The legitimate email marketer is in a tough bind; how to get read while surrounded by so much nonsense?
@myleftone: So marketers: How far can you stretch the spin? #marketingspin