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I just got off the phone with the CEO of a company who told me he’s been doing email marketing for many months now and is not seeing results.  “Is there something wrong with my contact database?” he asks me.

The conversation feels like “Groundhog Day” to me.  I’ve had this same discussion more times than I can remember.  Companies are doing email marketing and they are not seeing great results.  Does email marketing not work?  Or are they doing something wrong?

The truth is, email marketing has tremendous return on investment.  According to the Direct Marketing Association, it yields 4,300% ROI.  Not too shabby, right?

So what does it take to get email marketing working optimally?  Properly addressing that question could take a 10-part blog.  Instead, I will focus on the one thing all marketers can do to positively impact the effectiveness of their email marketing.  Just one change in how this type of marketing is viewed can dramatically impact your campaign’s ROI.

A Change in Perception

Effective marketing requires a change in perception.  It’s important to keep in mind that nobody likes to feel sold to.  That’s when their guards go up.  On the other hand, people prefer to engage in conversation, they want to be educated and be respected.

How do you achieve this?  Some may jump to the conclusion that one must educate when doing email marketing. That’s true, but it’s only part of the equation.

In marketing, it’s not just what we say that matters, it’s how we say it.  Consider this:  If you got an email from a friend and then a newsletter from a big corporation, which would you want to read first?  If you’re like most of us, you’d go for the friend’s email first.  After all, we like and trust our friends.  We want to hear what they have to say to us. In contrast, a dry, impersonal email from a company sounds boring.

That difference in how we view those two emails exemplifies what often goes wrong with email marketing.  It is often dry, impersonal, and not from a trusted source.

So the next time you work on an email campaign, or any sales letter for that matter, consider taking these important steps:

1. Personalize your email. Have it come from an email address with your name on it.  Then, greet the person receiving the email with their name, and write an opening note that comes from you.

2. Speak to your recipient. That is, write as if the email is just for one person, so that when the person receives it, the email feels personal. You’ll be amazed how many people will reply to you as if you had sent them a personal note!

3. Help and advise. Don’t sound like an ad.  Help your recipients as if they were your friends.  You may be helping them by offering them your services or products, but do so in a helpful way.

4. Inspire them. Getting people motivated to take action is something friends do best.  So make sure to put energy into your tone, and inspire your recipients to take action.

Seems easy, right?  These simple tips can forever change how you view your communications with prospects—and forever impact your success rate.  Give it a try, and prepare to see the difference in response rates.

And if you’d like to see how experts do it, just reach out to me.  I’d be happy to help.  Contact me at   I look forward to hearing from you!

By Rosalie Berg, President, Strategic Vantage