Email marketing allows us to start conversations with our fans and customers in a place that’s private (their inbox).
You don’t have to cross your fingers and hope that people will see your updates on social media when they’re scrolling through. Instead, you’re landing right in their inbox where they can’t ignore you.
But even though email marketing is a great direct approach to interacting with your audience, it’s still difficult to get people to listen to what you’re saying.
According to research, 77% of email marketers struggle to get their campaigns to stand out. That’s over three-quarters of businesses that feel like their emails get lost in the noise – something that seems fairly easy when you consider that 82% of all businesses are using email marketing to reach their audiences on a regular basis.
So how can you make sure your emails stand out?
Let’s take it back to the 90s for a moment.
I want to talk about the popular sitcom Seinfeld.
“What?!” You might be thinking, but bear with me.
For those of you who don’t know what Seinfeld is, it’s a comedy about four friends where not much really happens. Each episode goes off into weird and wonderful tangents, and there’s no real point to the show; no real life lessons at the end of each episode.
If that’s the case, what does Seinfeld have to do with email marketing?
The tangents and the nothing-ness of the show really ties in with how your emails are written and explained.
Think about it this way: when you’re writing an email, it’s important that you teach your readers what you’re talking about (using the power of the three E’s), but it’s also important to relate to them in a way that’s practical and builds a connection. Let’s take a look at a really basic example of an email.
You’ve probably received hundreds of these types of emails before. There might even be one waiting for you in your inbox right now…
Hey, it’s Jimmy and I have a brand new product to show you. It’s called Email Tools. Email Tools will create a timer, survey, video, and personalized images for your email. Go check it out right here.Thanks!Jimmy
Reading it back over, you might be thinking: “I’ve given them all the information they need… It’s the perfect email!”
But it’s boring, right? You haven’t connected with your reader; you haven’t made any attempt to build rapport. It’s basic human nature to crave connection with other humans. We want to feel like we’re part of something and that we belong, but the example above doesn’t do that. It doesn’t make people feel like they want to be a part of your brand.
The Seinfeld Experience in Action
Okay, so with that really bad email in mind, let’s re-write it using the Seinfeld Experience – or using the idea of tangents and “fluff” to create an engaging email.
Hey, it’s Jimmy and as you may know, I’ve been an email marketer for the last eight years. And over those last eight years, I’ve been watching email evolve. I’ve seen different things happen with email that have been quite exciting. You know, when I first started my email business, it was really easy to send emails. Everyone opened those emails and clicked, and I made sales. But fast forward to 2016, and I’m having an issue with people actually engaging or clicking on my emails. So I ran into my friend, Jimmy, and he started to show me a brand new app that he’s been testing called Email Tools that helps anyone create highly engaging emails that help you get clicks.
When you see this email compared to the first example, how does it make you feel?
There’s tons more information in this version, but notice how I didn’t really talk about anything yet you already know what I do and my struggles – that’s the key to building a connection with your readers.
Let’s take one more example of this email and see how we can take the Seinfeld Experience even further.
Hey, it’s Jimmy, and this past weekend I had a bbq.I had tons of friends over and we just had a great old time. And it was funny, because my friend started to talk about my online business and how he thought the evolution of it was simple.
You see how I started this version in a different way? I started with an even more personal approach.
Again, I’m not really talking about anything in particular, but readers will already feel that connection because I’ve given them some personal information about myself (that I had a bbq with friends on the weekend).
Was it necessary to share that information? No. But this is exactly how the Seinfeld Experience works.
The best way to describe it is to add “fluff”. It doesn’t add any meat to the email, but it works at creating a connection. This idea of tapping into human nature and psychology is what makes the Seinfeld Experience so interesting.
I started to really test it by sending out a combination of different emails that are similar to one of the examples I’ve shared with you here, and noticed that the “fluffier” versions (or the ones that I’ve used the Seinfeld Experience in) perform much better – there are higher click through rates and higher levels of engagement all around.
Email Marketing is Storytelling
Think about writing an email like writing a novel or a good story. You have to set the scene and the backdrop of the plot so the readers can place themselves right in the middle of it.
Don’t let this scare you, though. You don’t have to create the perfect story or be the next Stephen King, you simply need to share the information you need to share with your audience via a completely different angle.
In fact, you can create a “rapport building story” which doesn’t require an actual storyline. Instead, they simply share part of the human experience and make a connection with your readers.
In the third version of the email above, I’m giving the same information as the first email, but I’m setting the scene with a bbq. I’m opening up a conversation with the reader, even though there is very little meat to the story. In the first version of the email, there’s absolutely no conversation, which means there’s no way the reader can relate.
I basically say “Hey, I have a product, buy it!”. How does that make you feel? It doesn’t make you feel excited, right?
And emails that fall under the Seinfeld Experience don’t have to be personal; they can be about your business or something professional.
Because it builds relationships, email marketing is the leading channel for customer retention.
Leave Readers Wanting More
Even though nothing much happened in each episode of Seinfeld, the show managed to leave viewers wanting more with cliff hangers at the end of each episode. This is something that’s easy to carry over into email marketing.
The power of a P.S…
The P.S. has been used for years in marketing, starting with the father of direct marketing, Lester Wunderman in the 60s. Today, email marketers often rely on the power of the P.S. to make one final push for clicks or sales.
But the P.S. doesn’t have to be a needy end to an email.
In fact, I like to use it to keep readers eagerly waiting for my next email. Something like “P.S. In my next email, I’m going to show you…” usually does the trick. It keeps readers looking out for your email and continues to build that connection with them.
How Will You Use the Seinfeld Experience?
The Seinfeld Experience is all about creating conversations with your consumers and building connection. People want to engage with brands; they want to feel a part of something. In fact, consumers in this day and age actively seek out engagement with brands, and email is their most favored way of doing that.
The thing is, you could write an email with no hard facts or information in and still build a connection with your readers.
And guess what? When you start building that rapport, each and every email on top of that continues to nurture that relationship, so when you do eventually come to sell something later down the line, your readers are already primed to buy.
The Seinfeld Experience email examples I’ve shown you above are very basic forms, but you can do pretty much anything with this technique as long as your main focus is having a conversation with your readers and generating engagement. It works for nurturing emails, but it also works for sales emails, because we’re more likely to buy from brands we know and trust.