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Don't Send Any Email Til You Read This! #mktgnation14

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Welcome ______, we're thrilled you've chosen to click on this!

Really, we are happy, because our livelihoods depend on it. But that's not the point. (Who cares if our children starve?)

The point is stale language like that isn't going to get anyone other than a very bored and sad person to read any further. And that can mean disaster for your livelihood.

The fact is 182.9 billion emails went out last year, and the chance that your marketing missives stood out are, well, not encouraging. 

8 Paths to Joy

It may come down to how creative you are in your subject line, landing page, even your signature, according to DJ Waldrow, the digital marketing evangelist for Marketo. He outline eight such points Wednesday at a session on how to send better marketing emails at the company's Marketing Nation conference in San Francisco.

Clue: the session was called "On Being Human," and that was the message. In the age of marketing automation, the human touch is something that is valued, even prized, by the very people you want to reach.

Waldow began with several emails, mostly from government agencies, that literally said "Do Not Respond," which is not a great way to start interactions with customers. Some went on to state just facts without emotion and indicated they were dispatched by a machine.

"These are all examples of what I would call non-human emails," said Waldow. "Who would read them?"

To be sure, US anti-spam law dictates that the subject lines on marketing emails must relate to the content, but that doesn't mean you can't have a bit of fun, said Waldow.

Funny Business

OnBase by Hyland, the enterprise CMS company, sent out one email with a subject: "[Checklist]" that included a functional checklist of a customer's document management solution.  About 9 percent of the recipients opened it, and 4.4 percent clicked after they did. Respectable, said Waldow, but not great.

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That was followed by a second email. Subject: "[Comic Strip]" that included an interactive comic on the costs of paper-based insurance documents. Waldow said 19.7 opened that one, with a click to open ratio of 40.7 percent.

Upworthy is another company that gets it, according to Waldow. He was so pleased when they sent him a very attractive email to welcome him that he responded, misspelling "Hallo."

To his delight, they wrote back, and said "Hallo." He wrote back again. So did they.

Bottoms-Up

Look at the footer of your landing page. Is it boring? Ryan Solutions added a giant logo, and when people clicked on it, they saw a page that began "Welcome, footer-link clickers!"

The dreaded 404 error page that shows up when people go to the wrong page, Waldow said, can also be entertaining. So can the out-of-office message in your email. So can your email signature ("Sent from my iPhone?" Really? Is that the best you can do?)

Someone in the audience observed this all sounds very cute, but it might not fly in her staid company. "I think the company that has the least humor has the greatest opportunity to be more human," replied Waldow. But he also cautioned: "You have to test and see if it works for your audience."

 
 
 
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