Although Kara Trivunovic is being a little tongue-in-cheek in her EmailInsider post on why marketers should send email birthday greetings, one sentence in here really gave me pause. Kara cites examples of her clients getting appreciative notes upon receiving a birthday email, including this one:
“You can’t know how much this means to me. This is the first year I am celebrating my birthday since my wife passed away. It put a smile on my face, thank you.”
This, for me, sums up one critical email marketing best practice we must keep top of mind: These are real people and they must be treated as such. These aren’t just customers, prospects, subscribers, dollar signs, statistics or numbers. These people we send our emails to, they are husbands and wives, sons and daughters, lovers and divorcees. They are people living through all the joys and hardships that come with being, well, human.
Would we approach our email marketing programs differently if we considered every recipient a person rather than a stat? If we look beyond the goal of getting into the inbox and toward the goal of connecting and relating, of being real and adding value to that person’s life, will we change our frequency? Our message? Our offer? Heck, will we change our preference center options?
We can no more know every person on our in-house email list personally than we can know every person in our city by name. But can we think of them that way? What would that look like?
If our email marketing best practices call for us to be relevant, informative, useful, even awesome, and we challenge ourselves to answer that call, we’ll do an even better job, I suspect, if we can keep in mind a real person gets that email. A real person living a very real life.