Dads.

They offer an endless supply of awesomely terrible jokes. They amuse us with their habit of wearing socks with sandals. They keep us humble with their dictator-like control over the thermostat and light switches (everyone’s dad follows them around the house turning lights off … right?!).

On top of all the funny little quirks they have — dads give us some pretty solid life advice that can be surprisingly relevant in a wide variety of situations.

In honor of Father’s Day, we’re reflecting on some of the priceless wisdom our dads have passed on to us. Specifically, we’ll examine how we can apply these gems of wisdom to email marketing.

Priceless Email Marketing Lessons From Fatherly Advice #1: Have Fun

My dad coached my brother and me in Little League baseball.

His focus was never on winning — it was about having fun. Sure, he taught my teammates, my brother and me the fundamentals. He helped us hone our skills and showed us how to get better at the game.

At the end of the day, my dad taught us that all our hard work was for nothing if we weren’t having fun. That was an important lesson: that we should be smiling even if we weren’t hitting home runs.

That’s an idea that definitely translates to email marketing. Sure, there might be times when it feels like you’re not winning. For example, when you’re just trying to get things going from scratch, or when you’re attempting to rebound after a stagnant period.

Still — as Tom Hanks’ character says in A League of Their Own — “there’s no crying in baseball!”

Similarly, there should be no crying in email marketing!

When you find yourself feeling down, or uninspired — think about what it is about your business that brings you joy. Why did you start doing this in the first place? Maybe it’s the satisfaction of knowing that you’re solving problems in people’s lives. Maybe it’s the joy of dreaming up new products and getting them to the market.

Whatever it is, there’s something special and unique that drove you to do this. Channel that feeling, and infuse it into your email campaigns.

How do you add that sense of fun into your email marketing?

One way is to use humor. Now, a warning: In order to use the power of humor effectively, you have to be … wait for it! … funny. We all know this instinctively. Attempting to be funny and failing is far worse than not trying to funny in the first place.

There are lots of places you can inject some humor. For example, your signup form, your welcome email, your unsubscribe page or anything in between. Check out these examples:

Examples

FUNNY SIGN-UP FORM

Nerd Fitness signup form

From: Nerd Fitness

Why it’s great: Nerd Fitness, as its wonderfully descriptive name suggests, is “a fitness website for nerds and average Joes.” The company stays wonderfully on-brand with this funny email list sign-up form — which is jokey without becoming a joke.

FUNNY WELCOME EMAIL

Find Me A Gift welcome email

From: Find Me a Gift

Why it’s great: Casual. Congratulatory. And accompanied by a funny and memorable image. This welcome email hits all the high notes. It does a great job of introducing customers to the “quirky little world” of this service.

FUNNY UNSUBSCRIBE PAGE

1-800-CONTACTS unsubscribe page

From: 1-800-Contacts

Why it’s great: Great unsubscribe pages do the opposite of what their name suggests — they give customers a reason to stay on your email list rather than severing the inbox relationship. This sassy and surprising unsubscribe message from 1-800-Contacts sends out a subtle but powerful message: If you unsubscribe, you’ll miss out on some pretty amusing content!

Another way to have some dad-approved fun in your email marketing is by using GIFs.

Yes, at the end of the day, we are all like cats chasing laser pointers. Moving images are downright hypnotic! GIFs are great for emails for a couple of important reasons. First, they catch the eye and are much more fun than a photo. Second, they are very current, so they add some hipness to your campaigns.

However, be very careful that you don’t overdo it — or your email will end up looking like a bad MySpace page. Also, be sure to use alt-text — the little description that describes what an image is either when you hover your mouse over the image frame or if the image fails to load. That’s another great place to infuse a little humor, by the way.

Examples

Ann Taylor LOFT gif email

From: Ann Taylor LOFT

Why it’s great: This subtle bit of movement creates an eye-catching surprise while keeping the message clean, uncluttered and totally on-brand. Who can resist the urge to unwrap a holiday gift that’s wiggling so invitingly?

Moo gif email

From: Moo

Why it’s great: Sale announcement burnout … it’s real. How many emails do we all get every day screaming “Final hours!” “Don’t miss this one!” and such? Chances are unless a customer is further down your sales funnel already — that is, looking to pounce on a discount or already about to pull the trigger on a purchase — a message announcing that a sale is about to end could feel irrelevant at best and irritating at worst. Luxury business card printer Moo combats that vibe with this mesmerizing GIF.

Priceless Lessons From Fatherly Advice #2: Always Do Your Best

There was a second part to my dad’s big lesson about the importance of having fun.

Sure, winning isn’t everything. But it’s important to always try your hardest and do your best.

When the two lessons are combined, you get my dad’s attitude. For instance, he always wanted me to do well in school, but he was happy as long as I was putting my maximum effort into things.

What does this idea mean in the world of email marketing?

Stop putting pressure on yourself: Your email marketing does not have to be perfect. In fact, you should give yourself a big pat on the back right now — just the fact that you’re doing email marketing gives you a leg up on much of your competition. (The fact that you’re taking the time to read an article about how to optimize your emails? You get extra credit!)

Take this moment to realign your priorities. Focus on continuous improvement. It’s fine to have big goals, but don’t be discouraged by them — email is all about the micro-wins.

Break your objectives down to their building blocks. Yes, you want eyeballs and engagement. But to start with: Did you get people to open your emails? Great! Now you have a way to see who’s already interested in your content. Refine this data even further by A/B testing your subject lines and “from” names to improve open rates — and to have even more fun.

Next, take a look at whether your customers clicked through to your website. If they did, that means your content was compelling and your call to action was effective. That’s no small feat — good work! To drill down even further on this data … you guessed it: test your calls to action (play around with the text, colors, placement, etc.), try different things with your content and switch up your design for even more fun.

Finally, don’t miss the chance to follow through! You can track your customers from email to website for conversions or follow-ups. There are loads of great tools out there to help with this. Use Google Analytics to see what portion of the traffic you drive from emails is converting on your website. Use Automation to follow up based on links clicked or web pages visited.

Priceless Lessons From Fatherly Advice #3: It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

My dad built a career on relationships. And it took a while for me to realize this — because kindness was an effortless part of his personality. It just came naturally to him.

I grew up believing my dad truly “knew a guy” at every single place in the city of Chicago. We got special access to places at Chicago Bears games, the zoo and countless other places.

Why did we get this special treatment? It was the result of my dad doing tons of favors for others without ever asking for anything in return. If he could put someone in touch with another person to help them out, he would. If he could be of assistance to someone, he would. He knew it would come back around to him at some point — but that’s not what motivated him.

The people who invited my dad to exclusive events and gave him special access behind velvet ropes felt like it was the least they could do for him. The favors flowed naturally — but they never felt like repaid debts or calculated transactions on either side.

I’ve taken that spirit with me to L.A. I’ve been able to help out countless friends as they navigate careers in this city. When I tell folks I was invited to 8 weddings in 2018 — which is only a slight uptick from most years — they wonder how I have so many friends.

Well, I learned from my dad.

Bringing it full circle back to email marketing — what lesson can we learn from this?

Most importantly: Your email list is your most valuable marketing asset.

That’s no exaggeration. Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing Institute, said it best: “Getting an email address is the first critical step to figuring out who my reader is, and hopefully in the future, my customer of some sort.”

That’s the thing about your email list — you own it entirely. So when you use it for marketing purposes, you have the key advantage of doing things on your own “turf,” so to speak. You aren’t marketing on rented space.

Rand Fishkin, the founder of SEO firm Moz, said in his recent keynote speech at Digital Summit Los Angeles, that 10 new email addresses on your list are worth more than 10,000 new followers on social media.

How can your email list be a thousand times more valuable than your social media followers list? It has everything to do with the ways we use each medium.

Email messages are:

  • Personal
  • Goal-oriented
  • Targeted

As such, you can get an amazing ROI of $38 for every $1 you spend on email marketing.

Bringing it full circle back to fatherly advice and the importance of leveraging “who you know” — I’ll conclude now with five killer ways to maximize your email marketing ROI.

  1. First: automate your email marketing. Even the fastest typing, never-sleeping, most dedicated and methodical marketer could never hope to beat the sheer accuracy and convenience factor provided by automation. When you automate your email marketing, you take full advantage of your incredibly valuable email marketing list. The addresses on your list are worth their weight in platinum. Focus your energies on creating incredible content for your audience and constantly analyzing how they’re liking it.
  2. Make sure you have an incredible welcome email. We’ve mentioned before how important it is to have an on-brand, memorable and compelling welcome email. Use automation to have that message sent immediately once someone signs up for your list.
  3. You should make sure your conversion funnel is optimized. As you know, the conversion funnel is the path your customer takes from curiosity all the way to the sale (and hopefully raving to others about it). If you haven’t optimized your email marketing to take advantage of each distinct phase in your customer’s journey, you are truly leaving money on the table.
  4. Use dynamic segmentation on your list. This is another critical factor in the idea that “it’s all about who you know” — because if a person joins your list as a prospect, but then later becomes one of your biggest customers — you better be sure that your email marketing has adjusted to match that huge change. Dynamic segmentation, or the practice of constantly updating how your email list subscribers are categorized, is vitally important if you want to keep people engaged. It’s only by keeping a firm handle on people’s individual needs that you can hope to create compelling content that feels fresh, timely and personally relevant to them.
  5. Hone your timing. We’ve mentioned before that Tuesday through Thursday mornings are a great time to send an email, as a general rule. But taking that a step further — what information do you have about the individuals on your email marketing list that might cause you to change or adjust that rule? For example, if you have a trip planning app where people enter their travel details — don’t miss the opportunity to send out uniquely relevant content to your subscribers when they’re crisscrossing the globe, and adjust the send time based on local time zones. Or, for another hypothetical: If you’re an eCommerce retailer, you can track a customer’s interest in a product over time (by making note of when they favorite the item, add it to cart, ask to be emailed when it comes back in stock, etc.). Make sure you’re using the power of automation to send out perfectly timed, personalized content that addresses your customer’s needs and desires. That’s the kind of thing that closes a sale — and builds incredible brand loyalty.

Putting it All Together: Send Marketing Emails That Would Make a Father Proud

This Father’s Day, there are bound to be a lot of cheesy ties, #1 Dad mugs and bottles of bad cologne given as gifts.

We won’t judge if you’re giving one of those to your father or father figure this year. However, we do urge you to take a moment and be grateful for the incredible lessons that your dad — and all dads — have taught us about life, love and the art of email marketing.

Have fun, always do the best job possible and nurture your relationships above almost everything else. Those are the best email marketing lessons that my dad taught me.

Benchmarkers Share Advice from their Dads

Fernanda Brito – Mexico

You must be hot or cold: you cannot be lukewarm with your decisions.

Shresth Prabhat – India

The best technique to use in the world of marketing is word of mouth. People will generally consider an option suggested by another person. It builds an unmatched reputation.

Jason Ashley – USA

It takes all kinds of people to make the world go around, so don’t judge or question another’s actions or who they are as an individual. Learn something from the uniqueness or actions of others, accept them as helping in your growth, even if it doesn’t seem that way at that time.

Juanjo Polo – Spain

Take care of your family.

Frieder Egermann – Germany

It’s not direct advice he gave me, but he showed me to be responsible and true to myself.

Curt Keller – CEO

He told, me that my lack of athletic success was ALL IN MY HEAD! I now agree with more than ever.

Raquel Herrera – Spain

If I have to say one piece of advice that my father gave me, it’s about having common sense in everything that I do. It is very simple but very deep and important and applying in your daily life helps you to make a good decision.

Ilich Lamas – Italy

If things do not go your way, look at things from another perspective. There is always a way to change things.

Tanay Chaturvedi – India

Work smart but do not underestimate hard work.

Lisa Fletcher – USA

Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see. It was his way to say don’t always default to trust. Find out for yourself.

Yersing Noriega – Guatemala

Treat people the way you would like to be treated. Also, one act of kindness from you can change somebody’s day!

Yamile Flores – Mexico

More than advice, I had his example. He woke up in the morning to go to his job and would walk. I saw him from the window walking away, and once I asked him, “why you don’t take the car?” He told me because you have to go to school in it. He is a man who took his t-shirt to give it to his sons always.

Irene Martinez – USA

‘Sacrifices are temporary.’ My dad came to the US as an immigrant, and since his first day here he worked day and night to provide for his family. There was a time where I did not understand why my dad worked so much. But every time I asked, he would hug me and tell me Sacrifices are temporary. – Lo quiero mucho apa!!

Sandeep Kumar – India

Build/maintain relationships.

Leticia Mottola – USA

The ‘no’ you already have. Go for the ‘yes.’ If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

Titi Bekaert – Belgium

Be curious, be open-minded and stay rational in a world that has a lot to offer!

Joanne Walker – USA

You put in a good days work for a good days pay.

Virender Mohan Dang – India

This was not a direct advise to me but a cousin in my presence. We were visiting him a few days ago when he mentioned friction with a few family members, that he was trying to resolve the matters, and the lack of response from the rest of the family was frustrating. My dad told him “No matter what they say or do, you maintain a good mindset” (If I translate from the Hindi language to English it meant something like ‘keep your level of thoughts high.’

Today when I saw a message from Andy to share some advice from my dad that could relate to email marketing, this incident popped out of my memory box. A lot of people see what others are doing when it comes to email marketing and hence try to achieve quick success by purchasing contact lists, sending over content that’s just not relevant, and sending volumes that would trigger the anti-spam filters of various ISPs. To succeed in email marketing, one needs to keep a high mindset where they are patient enough to generate their own contact lists, work on the content that resonates with their customers, research various ESPs and the features they offer, work on warming up their IPs to help ISPs get acquainted with their sending practices, honour unsubscribes, and so on.

 

Are you ready for a smarter way to engage with your customers?

Benchmark helps you do email marketing the practical way. Create an ongoing relationship with your subscribers that leads to increased sales and happier customers.

Content & Social Networking Manager

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