“It’s better to be lucky than good,” my grinning grandfather often said — usually after having just cut a piece of wood to precisely the right size, without measuring. What he didn’t say, of course, is that he knew exactly where that piece of wood was going to fit — and that over the decades, his workshop was littered with hundreds of pieces that were cut incorrectly.
Put another way: he was lucky, because he was good. Or, as they’ve been saying in sports since the time of Caesar, you make your own luck. If your team wants the opportunity for a hail-mary pass that wins the game in the last three seconds, they need to have enough “fundamentals” covered to get the score close — for that lucky pass to even matter.
You’ve got to work to get that ball down the field. Think of every step in your email marketing campaign as a journey toward the end zone, and the touchdown in the final seconds is your conversion to a sale — and realize, you’ve got to get within striking distance to have any luck with that “hail mary.”
You start deep in your own end zone. Don’t kid yourself, you’re not starting on the 50-yard line, but your own 20. This is where the fundamentals begin, before you even send a single email. You need to have a quality email list — valid, deliverable email addresses that don’t bounce back, with appropriately interested recipients at the other end. Even getting your message to the right inbox? Give yourself 20 yards.
Now it’s grind time. You need an effective email creative — and you’ve got three seconds to pique their interest. Three seconds — and they’ll either click through, or click “trash.” One of the fundamentals of the email marketing campaign game is to keep that creative just long enough to get them to click through. Don’t overload your reader with data, or potentially bore them with a long list of all the information you think they need to know for you to make a sale; spend too much verbiage trying to sell them on something besides that single mouse click you’re after, and their attention will go elsewhere. You’re not selling your product, you’re getting them to read long enough to click a single link. And if they’re reading, you’re more than halfway there — another 20 yards.
If you’ve been counting, you’re now on the other team’s 40-yard line. It’s time for that effective call to action — the line at the end of your email creative that gets the reader to move their mouse a few inches and click a button. Sounds easy enough, but it’s tricky — and like a world-class pass in the NFL, you need a quality receiver at the other end, or it’s all for nothing.
In the email marketing game, that receiver is your landing page, the place where that click you fought so hard for actually sends your reader. It’s got to be well-designed and carefully constructed to explain to the reader exactly what you’re trying to accomplish — like the great receiver, it’s going to take the ball and run, get people to fill out a lead form, call a phone number, or buy your product or service.
You’re now deep in the other team’s end zone. One more good play and you’ve got a touchdown. Welcome to the luck end of things.
There’s no guarantee the person you sent an email to is interested, at the moment they read it, in what you’ve got to offer. There’s no guarantee they’ve got the time to read your email creative, or your call to action — no guarantee they’ll click through to your landing page when they do, no guarantee that after they get there they’ll convert to a lead or customer.
There’s a bit of luck involved at this point, sure. But you can’t be lucky if you’re not good. If you’ve paid attention to the fundamentals of your email marketing campaigns — and laid the groundwork in advance — you’ve set yourself up to take advantage of that luck when it comes your way.