What’s your E-mail Marketing Story?

Want to get better results from your email campaigns? Why not try telling a compelling story?

Yes, the list and offers you make are important to your success, but so are copy platforms and how you present the information you want to convey. But why test a story?

Marketers may not always put the topic of storytelling at the top of their to-do list, but they should. Storytelling, in this context, is the art of telling an emotional and compelling story in e-mail, or other advertising medium, to effectively convey a call to action that sells a product or service, or gains a donation from the recipient.

Stories engage people because they are entertaining, allow the recipient to relate and connect with the characters, draw on emotion and can lead the reader to a conclusion and often do a better job of being genuine and relevant. And in today’s over-communicated media landscape, when consumers tend to be more entertainment-oriented than ever, stories might be just what your email correspondence needs to lift your ROMI.

Psychologically, we also tend to remember stories. The Bible is based on stories. So are fairytales, most children’s books, many great songs, movies, plays and TV plots. “What’s the storyline” in news and sports? If it’s compelling we tend to migrate to it, or at least pay more attention. A story helps you break through the clutter.

Storytelling is more commonly used in long form, one-step emails where the products or services have a high price point, but even these marketers could benefit by telling different, more compelling stories to move their wares.

By incorporating storytelling in your efforts, you are really taking a back to the basics approach to your marketing. For centuries, the world’s greatest teachers and leaders have used stories to more successfully communicate with people and motivate them to take action. In direct mail, e-mail’s marketing cousin, you may have seen some of the top-performing storytelling direct mail packages, including those from The Wall Street Journal, Time-Life, Rodale Inc., Covenant House, Greenpeace, Nightingale-Conant and National Wildlife Federation, among many others. You continue to see them for one very simple reason: they work. That’s another reason to test this approach in e-mail.

A good story is something the recipient can read easily and which effectively touches that something inside of them that urges them to take action. We can relate better to stories.

Let me give you an example. Imagine turning the this Omaha Steaks email into a story.

The sender might say, “How I saved 67% and used the savings to make my party even better…”

Look at another example here.

In this case, some compelling, credible stories could be featured on how the books above helped changed a mindset and were critical to the reader’s newfound success. It will be relevant to many of the recipients and will likely work better than shouting savings. Heck, you could even keep the savings and tell the stories.

A few guidelines to follow include not fabricating a story – the more real and true-to-life the better the results typically are, the more detail you provide, the more credible the story will be,  and be on the lookout for new stories all the time. They are like testimonials on steroids for your marketing.

Go ahead, pump up your e-mail marketing with storytelling starting today. Then, share your story with me and all of us at Johnson Direct.