The Internet teems with practical advices, tips and tricks on email marketing: how to create an email newsletter, build an email list, get better response rate and so on. Such information is absolutely important and should be studied by email marketers, in particular, by those one who are just starting their online business. By the way, you can find much useful information on email marketing in the articles on my blog. Do you want to know how to make your emails easier and friendlier to your subscribers? Go on and read my 5 Real Steps to Fast, Easy and Relevant Email
But in this article I won’t tell about any 1, 2, 3 … best email marketing practices and strategies. What I am going to focus on is a psychological aspect of the Internet marketing.
We’ll try to get inside our recipients’ minds and try to understand how they perceive us (those who email them) and what they feel towards us and our emails. Some of my inferences are made based on my own expertise. Me too, I am a recipient, not only a sender. I also receive email marketing newsletters from other people so I am acting as a recipient and maybe as a future customer for someone. I hope my thoughts and some tips I will give in passing will be useful for you and help you understand, at least in general, who your recipients are and how you should build relationship with them.
So, let’s begin…
Inveterate Internet users live in a totally different “galaxy” if you want in comparison to those who don’t use the Internet. They have a totally different mindset compared to those who are reading newspapers, watching TV, listening to radio, or sending the letters by mail.
But the mindsets of the Internet users are also quite different depending on what they are doing in the net: reading email, reading blogs, forums or their favorite sites, or using search engines.
A search engine user’s mindset is “problem – solution” or “ready to buy”. They have a problem and they are searching for am immediate solution. Or, they need something – software, tool, book, household appliances, or whatever; – they are doing a little research for it and get ready to buy things.
A blog (forum, site) reader is usually in a “news getting/entertainment” turn of mind. They are going to their favorite blogs, websites or forums to know the latest news, to find out what is happening on the blog today. They are looking for fun or relaxation if you want by visiting their favorite sites.
An email reader usually has a “I’m curious” or “what’s in it for me” frame of mind. What is the main reason we use email? To communicate with friends. Friendship and relationship are in the basis of email. People never check email to see if someone they don’t know who sent them an offer or proposal. In the hierarchy of reasons why people check email offers and promotions are at the last position. Well, we check email because we are looking for:
- Funny pictures or other funny stuff sent by a friend
- Reply from a boy or a girl met on the net
- Work stuff (is typically opened after your funny non-work stuff) … and lastly
- Offers and promotions
So, you need to have some relationship with people to email them. And the relationship starts with content. They are looking for something and you are offering it to them. It’s simple. You have a great report, mini-course, e-book, software or whatever they are interested in. You put a signup form on your website. They subscribe and receive the content. You have their email addresses and you can continue emailing them and build your relationship.
Once you got them on your list, your goal now is to keep them. To keep your subscribers, you become a character they follow and are interested in. We (people, humans) are made so that we remember and respond more to entertainment rather than to useful knowledge. In the result, the character beats the content. I’m going to clarify what I mean, OK?
So, when someone subscribes to your list, you’ll want to have a lot of content and a little of character. They don’t know you, they ask for your stuff. You give it to them and you start introducing yourself as a character: who you are, what you are doing, why they should stay with you and so forth. And as far as time goes on with every new email you play more as a character. Yet they don’t know what’s in the email, they open it because it’s sent by you, character they like. But a word of caution here: you don’t want to make your content completely worthless, do you? So, make sure your stuff is still useful, don’t email them for no particular reason.
As a character you can assume a few basic roles (identities). You can behave as the leader, the adventurer, or the reporter.
When you are assuming the role of the leader, you simply hit your subscribers over the head and tell them what to do from the start, something like “If you wanna get …bla, bla, bla, you need to get my stuff because it is the best one ever“. Period. Don’t be timid. People want to be led. This is a human nature. We need someone to tell us what to do and how to do. You are the expert because you said it. Don’t think about your expertise, knowledge, or qualification. Who cares? Be an expert in their eyes. Your stuff works because you say it works. That’s your mindset as the leader. However, the idea here is to focus on their problem and divert attention from you. It’s always about them. It’s always about their problems and needs. You just provide them with a solution and assert it’s the best one.
The adventurer is the type of character who makes a shocking or accidental discovery. Tell them what they are hiding, secrets they don’t want to know. Show them the things they don’t want to know. But the common idea is always – it’s their fault, not yours.
As the reporter you use a before and after story to create your character. You are telling about something (some amazing thing) that has happened to you in your life. A story of loss and redemption always works like a charm. “I was a complete loser until I knew about this amazing thing and …so on and so forth”. It’s the most powerful story. Period. But again remember: the actual hero of the story is the thing, not you. Focus on telling them how the stuff helped you, how you’re benefiting from it so far.
Playing one of the roles as the character you are building relationship with your subscribers and seducing them to purchase your stuff. Here are a couple of seductive selling secrets you should be aware of:
- Convince them of their own ignorance. For example: “You are not succeeding because those cunning gurus aren’t telling you everything. They are trying to foist these crappy PPC or JV schemes on you while they are secretly using the real methods to make fortunes”. But you want to let them know that it’s not their fault. If you can convince them of their innocence, they will follow you. Do it ethically and be honest with people. Do not lie. Lie engenders mistrust. And you want people trust you and buy from you.
- Do not hide flaws, admin them. There is nothing perfect in the world. So, go ahead, make this imperfection admission and turn it into a selling point: “This isn’t a magic wand, it works but sometimes it may not. At least, I told you about it”. You take that kind of mentality. The sincerity is your ally.
- Have them make an implied admission of the total failure if they don’t comply with what you say. You say “My stuff is not for everybody, it’s not for dolts, it’s not for complete idiots, it’s not for losers or evil-doers”. It’s like you are asking-asserting “You are not one of those people, are you? So, if you are not a complete idiot, or loser, or evil-doer, you will benefit from my stuff”. You can use this method to provoke a wounded self-respect feeling with them and urge them on getting your stuff. It’s a little bit nasty, a little bit black-hat thing but it works, it’s pretty effective and you can use it to your advantage.
A little understanding of the human’s psychology can help you communicate with your subscribers in a specific way with a specifically tailored email message, resort to various email marketing tricks and sell your stuff to large groups of people.