5 Things Email Marketers Can Learn from Stephen King

Horror writer Stephen King might seem like a funny source of inspiration for email marketers, but for those of us who still experience those little pangs of fear before hitting the send button (something I think we can all relate to at some time), many of his ideas about the writing profession are equally relevant to the email marketing industry.

Following are five inspiring comments from the king of horror and how they can help you breathe new life into your email marketing campaigns.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.”

People worry about email marketing more than any other marketing medium. They fear the reaction their subscribers will have to being contacted on a regular basis; they fear their campaigns will be ignored (or reported as spam); they fear making mistakes and looking foolish in front of their community of peers. By and large, these fears are unfounded. The only thing email marketers should be worried about is how they will handle all the new and repeat business a relevant, timely and engaging email campaign will generate for them — a good problem to have.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

Don’t confuse lack of inspiration with procrastination. Email marketing is something we should do on a regular basis because there is always something of value we can share with our subscribers. This could be an exciting piece of news, a problem-solving piece of thought leadership or simply a great offer. If you are struggling for ideas for things to share via email, pick up the phone, speak to trusted clients and ask them what they would like to see. Remember, the best email marketing content will always solve a problem for your subscribers. If, as a marketer, you consider yourself to be in the business of problem solving, you’ll never be short of inspiration.

“In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”

Admit it, some of your emails are really boring. Before sending any email, you should always ask yourself two questions: Is this relevant, timely and engaging? If I were a subscriber, would I like to receive this email?

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

The most dangerous thing you can say in business is “We’ve always done it this way.” Know when you are flogging a dead horse, and don’t be afraid to try something new. Email provides the ideal environment to test new ideas without risking too much investment in time and money.

“An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.”

Your subject line is your first line of defence between your subscriber and the delete, unsubscribe or spam complaint button. You should think of your subject lines in the same way that a newspaper editor thinks of a headline. It should tell the full story and entice people to read more. The words “newsletter” and “sale” do little to inspire engagement.

Could you take a leaf out of Stephen King’s book and make improvements to your email marketing strategy? Don’t be afraid, and share your comments below:

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.

Marketing Strategist, Author of #BecomingTHEExpert, Content Marketing Trainer, and Cyclist. Check out my author profile: https://amzn.to/2OO5DR5

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