Doing Group Emails – The Hard Way
September 8th, 2009 | Tutorials
Recently I was asked about managing an Emailing list, and the best ways of distributing newsletters to your group. I think the answer that was expected would be either sharing about some mailing service (like this one, but there are many others that also Google well) or to give a step by step on free distribution methods (Update: I have written a post called Easy DIY HTML Emails).
What I want to share is a smarter and much more impacting way – and I don’t think it’s what the average client wants to hear:
Email your newsletter one at a time.
I know it sounds ludicrous, but think about it. You get an email from your friend; “Hey guys, check out these photos of my weekend camping” complete with a link to a Flickr set. This email has dozens of names in the To field. What do you do? In my own personal experience I’ll check out the link 7 times out of 10. I’ll reply maybe 2 times in 10. Whether you do it consciously or not, your numbers are probably about the same or less.
I have sometimes been that friend sending the mass email. You rarely get a reply if at all. I think it’s human nature. When you see so many names in the email-to field, you expect someone else will reply, and go about your day. The call-to-action is impersonal, and as the reader you feel required to do nothing.
On the flip side, when you take the time to personally write a friend an email, and ask them about something specific in their life, and engage them in the way that you normally do, that link will always be checked out, and you will almost always get a reply.
This isn’t anything new – this is how human relationships and interactions work. Yell at a bunch of people that you have a newspaper for sale, and the people that care will come and get one. Personally go up to someone, and engage them, and you have their full attention.
This obviously won’t work when you have thousands of people you’re mailing. If you’re keeping mailing lists, I suggest you keep a list of the no-effort addresses (people that have taken the time to sign up like those who did here), as well as a list of the people who you need to make a stronger appeal to. At the very least, keep a list of the VIP’s. Often in business it’s the 5% that do 80% of your revenue. Treat them like gold. The purpose of a newsletter is to keep people up to date. Sometimes that’s a two way street.
Easy isn’t always better. Sometimes you have to really commit to make results.