Email Marketing is Like Dating: Woo 'Em and Keep 'Em Interested

As an email marketer, sometimes it can feel like you’re talking to yourself. Right? You craft interesting, relevant, compelling messages, and send them out to the universe, and unless you’re actively engaged in monitoring the results (and you should be) you are probably already onto the next email marketing campaign, considering the best approach, how to win new subscribers and entice your current subscribers to follow through to convert.

Are your subscribers into you? Or not? Sometimes it’s hard to tell (just like in dating).

And also just like in dating, what you want from your email marketing campaign is very much what you want from a successful dating experience. As an email marketer, you’re equivalent to a beau, courting a new and attractive prospect. And for a successful courtship, as with a successful email marketing campaign, the rules are simple. No stalking. Stop endlessly talking about yourself. Start flirting (or wooing). Start listening.

It’s not all about you: The art of wooing

Contrary to what you might think, your email marketing messages shouldn’t always be about whatever product you’re selling, the information you’re pushing, or the deals you’re delivering. A successful email marketing campaign is actually about your subscribers. How is this possible, you ask? I have a product, my subscribers want to learn/read about/buy it so why do I need to care about why? Well, as we’ve told you before, listening to your subscribers’ preferences is key to keeping your subscribers opening, reading, clicking through, and converting. And only through list segmentation can you ensure that your messages are specific and relevant to your subscribers’ individual needs. After all, if you’re dating multiple people, you wouldn’t discuss the finer points of cuts of steak with a vegetarian, would you? And just as in dating, it’s hard to get a handle on what interests your prospect unless you listen to what he or she has to say.

Variety is the Spice of Life: Keeping them interested

Now that you’ve got their interest, congratulations! You’ve captured their attention and you have a new subscriber. But now comes the hard(er) part: how are you going to keep the love alive?

All too often in both email marketing and personal relationships, people get bored, and people are taken for granted. In order to keep the spark alive from your subscribers, you need to make sure to never take them for granted. Giving you their email address is the equivalent of handing out your actual phone number to the cute guy at the bar who said he’d call tomorrow. So make sure to follow through on what you said you’d do. The guy that said he’d call but never does is a jerk. And you don’t want to be that jerk in the email marketing world. If they signed up for weekly emails, make sure they get weekly emails (not bi-weekly, thrice-weekly, or monthly emails)! Just as in personal relationships, trust is the basis of any good relationship.

And to keep your subscribers interested, you can’t always be preaching the same one-note message. People get tired of hearing the same thing, and before long, they start to perceive the same old message as nagging, and it’s just one slippery step away from tuning you out and clicking that “unsubscribe” button. Your email marketing mix should definitely contain a variety of messaging. Just as you wouldn’t always take your date to the same restaurant and movie, consider the ways in which you’re varying your offerings. Are you occasionally providing useful information? Interesting and related stories? Is the content fresh? Are your messages fun, interesting, specific, and clear? Do you occasionally offer the opportunity to provide feedback?

Listening and interactive communication is vital to long-lasting relationships, in the “real world” of dating and marriage but also in the email marketing world of marketers and subscribers too. Continually monitoring, analyzing, and responding to your subscribers’ needs and preferences will create loyal customers who stick with you (in good times and bad)!

Published On: November 23rd, 2011Categories: Email marketing best practices

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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