Email Marketing, Forrest Gump-Style

This article originally appeared in MediaPost on June 21, 2012.

 

Anyone who knows me will get a kick out of the headline of today's article, as “Forrest Gump” is one movie I just cannot watch all the way through. Something about it wears on my last nerve. I know that I am in the minority and that it is a beloved film. To its credit, although his drawl is a bit much for me, I do have an appreciation for the wise sound bites that Forrest bestows on viewers throughout.

I’m sure that 18 years ago there was little inclination that these quotes would be used to describe the world of email marketing -- but nonetheless, here we are. Here’s email marketing according to Forrest Gump.

"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
I am greeted by this same element of surprise every time I open my inbox or glance through my email on my Droid. One rarely knows what to expect these days, and it is the unknown that keeps it interesting.

So when you consider your email messaging strategy, ask yourself just how predictable it is. Is it safe to say that your recipients can logically guess what you are sending to them next? No matter how good your email, your content or your offer, if there is no element of surprise, the impact of the messaging can be minimized. Add a little spice to your email; don't keep it all vanilla. Sometimes a nice, unexpected surprise at the center of it all is exactly what the recipient ordered.

"Mama says they was magic shoes. They could take me anywhere."
The truth is, your email program can work like magic, too. You can transport and take your customer anywhere you can imagine. Take them somewhere else with your content, your imagery, your offer that is aspirational. Create a situation that allows them to think about being somewhere else or doing something different than what they are doing right now. Be those magic shoes for your customer and take them somewhere -- anywhere.

"Now you wouldn't believe me if I told you, but I could run like the wind blows. From that day on, if I was going somewhere, I was running!"
This happens to be the approach that many email marketers take. You start your email program, and it just keeps running. And running. And running. There are so many things that you can do with your email program today that you couldn't when you first conceived them. Echoing Chad White's point earlier this week, email has evolved and continues to. As such, incorporate fun elements in your message to engage the reader. Countdown clocks, video snippets and interactive content can really bring some attention to your message. While your program keeps running, it does so in style!

The point is that just like anything else in life, you need to keep things exciting. Change it up a bit, step out of your comfort zone. Because if you don't, all Forrest could say is: "Stupid is as stupid does."

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