Absolute beginners to IM are taught to build a list.
"The Money Is In The List"
This mantra is drummed into their heads over and over, until it
seeps into their very consciousness.
So you start list building and email marketing.
But after a while, often when you've built up a database of a few
hundred (or maybe few thousand) subscribers, you realize that isn't
the complete picture.
"The Money is NOT in the List - It's in the RELATIONSHIP with your list."
That philosophy, also often echoed on discussion boards and blogs,
starts to sound more appealing and attractive.
First, it segues nicely into the original concept of the vital role
of a list - so you don't have to change any core elements of your
thinking and world-view.
Second, it seems to place the responsibility for what isn't going
right on something you're doing wrong - or can do better.
But what you won't hear said clearly and with any kind of reinforcement
on many discussions (at least I haven't seen it stated explicitly often)
- yet is the SINGLE most critical element on which your email marketing
will stand or fall... is this:
"It's The ATTENTION You Get From Your List Members"
Seth Godin first taught me this principle in his excellent book,
"Tribes". And he also explained how attention is a gift bestowed
upon you, the list owner, by your audience - NOT unconditionally,
NOT permanently, NOT automatically... but based on YOUR performance.
Deliver 'value' - however your audience defines it - and you'll win
their ATTENTION for a while.
Keep on delivering value, and they'll pay attention - for as long
as they perceive that value addition.
Leverage that ATTENTION, and you have the seeds of a successful
email marketing strategy.
Lose that ATTENTION, and you may well have to start over again from
scratch, as I've often been forced to do.
So, it's NOT just the list, it's NOT just the relationship with your
list, it's the ATTENTION you have (or don't have) of your audience
that matters most.
Think about it.
Even if you don't like or know the person sending you email, if they
grab your attention for long enough to deliver a message, and the
message itself is critical to you, or entertaining enough to you,
or grabs you by the emotional coat-tails and whisks you aboard their
carousel, you'll hop on for the ride.
And just like a strong headline by itself won't close the sale, the
attention you grab initially is only the first step - but the most
important step - along a slippery slope to email marketing success.