It’s Not An Email You’re Sending Out, It’s An invitation To Connect Via Story

Mike May, Head of Insights at Real Magnet, shares some insights into the art of email marketing with Email Insider from MediaPost.

He likens the process of writing an email to that of writing a novel.

Writers embarking on a new work do not just sit down at a keyboard and start pecking out the great American novel. Storytelling is a craft, and the act of actually writing a novel is usually preceded by months of researching, planning, sketching and vetting.

Novels are romances, mysteries, psychological thrillers or comedies. Emails also have a genre, ranging from newsletter to promotional message to announcement. The important thing about a genre is choosing one. You don’t hear a novelist say, “Gotta get a book out” (OK, Stephen King probably says that, but he’s an exception who proves the rule), but we say it about emails all the time. The emails we send also need to have a clear purpose, which their genre defines.

May also says if your company makes a point of sending only messages that it is uniquely qualified to send, then a theme starts to emerge and every message helps strengthen the brand.

That’s great advice not just for an email campaign but for all marketing communications. A customer or prospect is always asking, “What’s in it for me?” That’s the natural state of things. The answer has to be unique value, either in the form of information or entertainment from the brand in question. Without that highly differentiated value email marketing, or any other form of marketing, is just more noise.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.