This is not a story about open rates or conversions. It is not a story about subject lines. This is a real life story of how marketing worked.
Almost a decade ago a terrible thing happened. My dog ran away.
This did not happen a time when I had a break in work. It did not happen at a time when life at home was cruising along happily and seamlessly. It did not happen at a time when I could devote the desired and needed time and effort to getting him back. Life doesn’t work that way.
I took advantage of what I knew how to do, marketing. I made cold calls, fliers, newspaper and magazine ads. I followed through with direct mailers, grassroots efforts and partner marketing. I sent emails, regularly. (This was before true social media, when groups, public bulletin boards and forums were the sources for getting information out. Mobile marketing had only just begun.)
You can read the full story here. The ordeal latest about 6 months. Against all odd I got him back. It was through the last email. The email had been forwarded several times before it got to the person who had been fostering my dog.
What made this one get to the right person?
- Was it the message?
- Was it the subject line?
- Was it the heart break in it?
- Was it the huge push I had made towards the end?
- Was it the other touches that might have been seen?
At the end of the day, this one turned out to be timing. The person on the final receiving end of the email did not have my dog when the other emails were sent out. The group she belonged to knew she was fostering a dog and sent it to her because of her interest in the breed. No one knew she was fostering THIS dog.
Email marketing is effective, I can attest to that on a business and personal level. But you have to understand that you are not just dealing with what we already know to watch for: subject lines, whitelisting, content, CTAs, time of day, day of week, etc ….
You have to understand that you aren’t emailing a customer, a prospect, a business. You are emailing a person, and people have lives and face challenges and overload. Ideally you want to contact them when they are in your frame of mind, but even then, you may not get through.
Timing is critical. Not just YOUR timing, but their timing. Integrated campaigns, multiple touches are key to easing through the noise of daily life.
The email didn’t get my boy back. People did. Marketing got the word out. And the word touched a lot of people, who wanted to take action. The story, the content was relatable and authentic. It got a response, a lot of responses, and it got the best result. It got him home.