I have a lot of thoughts about content, especially as it relates to content marketing and businesses as publishers. I tweet about this a lot, and I’ve even done some speaking on the subject, but I thought it was about time to write down some of these thoughts into a more coherent form.
First up, email.
If you were to go to your local mom & pop store, order something, have it delivered to your home and then wake up to their billboard in your yard the next day, how happy would you be?
Yet that’s exactly how we treat people when they provide us with their email address. That email address is, for most people, as close as they’ll come to providing us with a direct line of communication via the Internet. It’s every bit as real today as someone’s home address was 10 years ago.
I did an informal survey of my Twitter followers. Of those who responded, 98 percent of them stated that they had an address that they used specifically for signing forms online, because they know that the account is likely to be spammed.
But what if we could do better? What if we, from the very start of a relationship with a customer, made it abundantly clear that we only wanted to share with them content that they found valuable? What if we were actually producing valuable content in these emails, instead of having them show up like the blue envelope of coupons that nobody uses?
The question that remains to be answered is whether the trust is too far gone. Are customers so set in their expectations of what providing an email address to a company will give them in return that doing anything else is simply a waste of time?
I honestly don’t think so, and there are absolutely some best practices that can be seen to turn that email address into an effective, two-way communication with your customers. I’ll dive more into my thoughts on this at a later time, but you should re-evaluate your email strategy and start doing things that work.