Call me when you have 24 million followers

Call me when you have 24 million followers


People are acting like “Hey” is the greatest headline ever written.

The marketing world is still all atwitter about the success of the Obama campaign’s email marketing, in particular the success of the subject line that just said “Hey.”

People from all across the blogosphere are blathering on about what this proves about the nature of email, and trying to paint the entire tactic with a broad brush.

They’re sayings things like:

“The conversational tone is what people respond to now in marketing!”

“Familiarity is the x-factor in the social media era!”

“Casual email is the best way to market to millenials!”

But you know what? There’s a strong possibility it’s all bullshit.

Why, you ask? Because there’s no one email that works for every market.

The reason I’m so skeptical about this is that it’s too simple, too broad, and too lazy to make a difference in your marketing.

And also?


It probably won’t work for your business

You’re not Barack Obama. You’re not Oprah, either.

And you probably won’t ever be.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a wildly profitable email marketing campaign. It just means you have to do things differently.

The thing about using conversational subject lines like “Hey” is that your subscribers need to have an intimate familiarity with who you are for that kind of subject line to work. In fact, you need to be famous enough in your market that your prospects would have an “Oh my god” moment if they got a personal email from you.

Because that’s the way the “Hey” email works – it gets amazing open rates because the reader can’t believe Obama would send them a personal email.

It’s a bit of a bait and switch at best, but if the email is well written, it can still convert.

There’s a good chance that you’re just not that impressive to your market. In fact, there’s a good chance they don’t know who you are.


Unless you’ve already made yourself a “star”

Many, many businesses resist putting a face on their public persona – I’ve personally worked with e-commerce stores, software start-ups, and international nonprofits that openly admitted they didn’t want to take that step.

But here’s the catch: personal marketing is, objectively, the most powerful marketing.

So that begs the question: how do you take advantage of that kind of advice when you don’t have a relationship with your market?

Well, you don’t. You build a relationship with your market first.

So what does that mean?


Here’s how to get started

Reaching out and sharing some of yourself BEFORE you want your prospects to do something for you – especially if that “something” is sending you money.

Start signing emails with your own name.

Include a profile photo on your webpage, or even in the signature of your emails.

Update your “About” page to include the story of how your company came to be, and why you built it, instead of a short paragraph about what you do.

And start telling stories in your emails. Share your life with your customers, and help them understand why your business matters to you – not “I like noodles and I need money to buy them,” but why you sell what you do, and how you can relate to their lives.

Then, when you’ve got 24 million fans (or 24 thousands…or even 2.4) you can start sending emails that sound like “Hey” …or “What’s up?” or “What do you think?”

And you know what? They’ll work great. But you have to put the work in to introduce yourself first.

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