Some Email Landing Craft Won’t Make It

65 years ago, on June 5th 1944, hundreds of thousands of Allied forces were preparing to invade Normandy from the sea and air, and begin the liberation of Western Europe from the Nazis. (Yes, I’m not forgetting that the conflict on the Eastern front was still raging too.)

In the previous post (part 1 of 3) I briefly mentioned how a D-Day Battlefield Tours company might make use of an email marketing campaign to improve their response rate – and ultimately, to make more money.

And just as military campaigns are composed of strategy, tactics and a primary vision or ‘reason why’, your Internet Marketing efforts should be carried out in a similar manner.

For instance, the mission statement I recall General Eisenhower being given before he left the US was:

“Proceed to London. Invade Europe. Defeat the Germans.”

Everything else became subservient to that desired objective – coloured and distorted as it was by the ‘Fog of War’.

By the way, you do have a mission statement for your business? Something that pierces the marketing clouds of confusion and helps you to focus? If not, get it written down now on a single sheet of paper.

 

Holyhead

Assuming you do have one, then the development and execution of article marketing, press releases and email marketing campaigns etc must be carried out with your overall vision and mission statements for the business in mind.

So how does email marketing fit into the plan for this battlefields tour company?

Well, the overall email marketing campaign should have the objective of building one or more targeted lists of prospects and customers.

(Where possible, you should avoid having prospects and existing customers on the same email list as your marketing messages to newbies will not appeal to the old hands.)

The easiest way to start building your list is to have a sign-up box on most all the web pages. (Some sites request name and email as a minimum. Others are experimenting with only asking for email address. You can split test which works better in your case.)

Then when a prospect reaches the page they can be encouraged to sign up to your list.

How?

By some form of valuable giveaway – such as a limited time tour discount coupon or perhaps some unique online video clips/interviews from one or more of the tours. What works best will require brainstorming from you and feedback from your list (ask them!)

Then, having got people to optin to your list – and to confirm that optin by replying to a “did you really request to join my list” email from your autoresponder system – you can begin to market to them.

Notice I said “market to them.”

I did not say “sell to them.”

That’s a major landmine right there – and one of the reasons why many email marketing campaigns fail.

Because people H-A-T-E (well, most I know!) being sold to via email. It reeks of s-p-a-m these days.

So what do you do?

Well, let’s remember that most people probably don’t make time to read long emails (although you might want to test that assumption in your market!) and so we are looking at somewhere between 500-700 words per email.

With a brief intro, a conclusion and a PS statement at the end, that leaves just enough room for a short and relevant story or metaphor concerning some aspect of your product/service.

BUT – and I stress this – each email’s written specifically to get your reader to take action and CLICK through to a specific page on your website.

That’s it’s only purpose!

So, for example, your market research might show that US visitors prefer to visit places where US servicemen fought in Normandy – Utah and Omaha beaches, St Mere Eglise village etc.

Whereas the British and Canadians may be more interested in Sword/Juno beaches and the area around Caen and Bayeux (home of the famous tapestry).

In those cases you would probably have different email lists (each with a unique landing page) and the desired click through would be to get an info packet or place a specific online tour order.

The actual email content might be things like a short anecdote, or a client’s story, or before/after photos of the famous St Mere Eglise church where the dangling US paratrooper ‘played dead’ etc.

Now there is some story-telling art here in how the email is structured and the reader then transitioned into choosing to click through. It might take some digging through the customer feedback to find what really interests the type of person who comes on battlefield tours. But it could be done.

And how many waves of emails should you send?

Well, for a new prospect to (say) the US beaches mailing list, maybe 5 to 7 emails spaced over 10 to 14 days would probably work well. (We’d have to test to be surer.)

Remember the whole idea is to get the prospect to take action on every one of these emails and CLICK through to your main site.

Of course, not everyone will do this.

Some (only a few, I hope) will read every email and do absolutely nothing.

Some will unsubscribe. Fair enough. (And ALL your emails should ALWAYS have a visible and one-click way for them to easily unsubscribe. You do NOT want alleged spam complaints because they couldn’t find your unsubscribe button.)

Some will delete the emails or they’ll be lost in their ‘spam’ folders (it does happen, alas, despite our best efforts to educate subscribers to ‘whitelist’ emails they want to reach their actual In-box.)

And some will maybe only take action after 5 or more emails.

That’s why you need to send successive waves of these email landing craft – as many are literally sunk before they can reach their target (the target’s the prospect’s computer mouse clicking finger haha!)

And after the 7 ‘new prospect’ emails have been sent?

Well, I don’t advise you to go into radio silence mode and send nothing ever more.

What you can do is to (for example):

  • send a periodic newsletter (every month or so.)
  • send a ‘broadcast’ email if you have a special tour offer or announcement (e.g. a participating hotel has a 25% room rate discount if you book tour ‘X’ before May 1st etc.)

You can also start a blog and automatically have a short email reminder sent to your list each time a new blog post appears.

And then we have the internet marketing equivalent of the US 101st Airborne or the British ‘Red Devils’ paratroops – the 140 character microblogging tool, Twitter.

Imagine tweeting ‘live’ from a battlefield tour with links to photos and possibly short video clips throughout the day. You simply email your list and invite them to follow you on Twitter – and hey, it’s like a remote reconnaisance mission for people who can’t (yet) be there in person.

But we’ll talk about Twitter another time – else this blog post will resemble the 3 hour movie about D-Day, “The Longest Day” (which incidentally, I did require my 2 cycling companions to watch before we boarded the Portsmouth to Cherbourg ferry back in the early summer of 1990!)

And the call-to-action of this post?

It’s very simple.

If you want to have an ace email copywriter create a ‘get-the-click’ email marketing campaign for your product or service, I encourage you to enlist (sorry, force of habit. I mean ‘visit’!) my email autoresponder copywriting service. (Oct 2011 update: I still write email autoresponder copy but mostly for b2b clients in Information technology markets.)

– Mark McClure

PS – In the 3rd and final part of this brief series we’ll secure our email beachhead by looking at how the big guns of article marketing, blogging and press releases can drive traffic to your landing pages (where the email signup box is waiting for them!)

Posted in Copywriting, Email Copywriting, Social Media
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About the Author
Author: Mark McClure - A freelance b2b case study and white paper writer to the computer networking industry. Based in Tokyo, Japan. About the 'Samurai Writer'.

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