Email marketing is one of the best tools in your toolbox when you are selling things online. If you have someone who has bothered to opt in to your email list and you’re spamming them with buy messages, I want you to stop and consider this story. Here’s the story…
When I went to Puerto Vallarta for a week, it seemed that every jewelry seller on the beach woke me up from my nap and asked if I want to buy Mexican knick-knacks. Most of the vendors were selling the same things and I wasn’t terribly interested in any of it. Most beach vendors think that ask frequently enough people will eventually buy something.
I shooed them away like flies. I wanted to relax. I just wanted to drink the sun in. On day two, I met a smart vendor. An older man with a Mustache and a hat. Like the others, he had an open case that he was holding around his neck. The red fabric on the inside of the case had a medley of carved goods, silver jewellery and rings.
“Miss. You want to buy something?”
“No.” I said, annoyed.
“Where are you from Miss?” he said.
I didn’t want to talk to him. I turned away — but then I felt rude and my Canadian-ness took over so I turned back from
“How long you staying? What do you like? You like carvings? Necklaces? I am Alejandro.”
An older man with a Mustache and a hat. Like the others, he had an open case that he was holding around his neck. The red fabric on the inside of the case had a medley of carved goods, silver jewellery and rings.
“I don’t want to buy today.” I said firmly.
“Listen Miss. I will go away and I won’t bother you again all week. All I want is that on the day before you leave you will look at my stuff and you’ll buy something for me? I will give you a fair price. When are you leaving Mexico?”
He nodded at me if I saw him, but he didn’t ask me again. Every day as I walked past the other vendors yelling “Miss! Miss!” he simply nodded as I passed.
Because he wasn’t like the other vendors trying to get my attention all the time, I noticed him more. Noticed him standing at the bus stop end of the day.The trinket case that he had open all day closed up and the outside of it was dusty. He wiped his brow with a blue handkerchief.
When Saturday came, I sat by the beach side contemplating that it was my last full day at the beach and that I would have to go back to work on Monday. I felt a bit sad and then I heard
“Buenos Dias Miss. Don’t forget! Today is Saturday! Time to buy things for your family and friends.”
“Oh ya. Come see me in an hour.” I said. “I will have to get my wallet from the hotel room.”
And you know what? I bought from Alejandro and no one else. He probably gave me the same old price as any other Beach Vendor out there. But for me, getting the deal wasn’t as important to me as feeling like there was someone who took the time to understand something about me, and offered me the convenience of getting what I needed at the right time.
When I was buying from him. He was mostly quiet as I carefully looked through his trinket case. I picked up a small wooden dolphin.
“My daughter likes the turtles best.” he said, putting one in my hand. It was bigger than the dolphin and more expensive.
Ah, shucks I’m a sucker. He’s got a daughter at home. Suddenly it was more than a shopping experience. It was like I was connecting with a life here in Mexico.
So what does this teach us? What does it say about email marketing? Well, here’s what I know about email marketing .
Here’s what Alejandro did right:
- He took the time to get to know what I like.
- He was respectful of my time.
- He built a relationship with me.
- He made a connection.
Are you doing this with your customer? What do you know about your customer? Are you paying attention to them? Do you know where they are from and what motivates them to buy? Have you looked at where they’re coming from and segmented them by area. Do you tailor your messages to each audience? Are you trying to connect or are just asking them to buy over and over again?
Do you know who’s opening their email and are buying things. Where are they from? What subject lines were more popular than others? Are you doing A/B Testing on your email campaigns and tracking what has resulted in a sale? Are you digging deep to engage them with compelling content?
Take the time to look at the messages that you’re getting in your data. It’s not hard, you only think it’s hard but there are so many nuggets to find when you do the right preparation to demystify your customer.
Bottom line is, that your customers want to be respected. Don’t send them things that aren’t relevant to them. Be strategic about your sales. Just ask Alejandro the Mexican Vendor, I think of him whenever I look at the wooden turtle that I bought from him.