Indianapolis, IN - March 2, 2011
I get a lot of email. Its one of the occupational hazards of being in this industry, where everything we do is online in some form or fashion. While weve seen a tremendous growth of social media in the past few years, email still reigns as king of business and personal communication. Many of you may decry this as being detrimental to the quality of communication, the fact remains that for many of us email has simply become a fact of life.
Not surprisingly, companies have been using email to communicate with customers and prospects for years. Everything from general correspondence to special events to items triggered by user behavior are standard fare in most marketing communications plans. For you, these messages look like newsletters, sale and promotional announcements, or any number of other ways to increase engagement. Some of these may simply be functional, like order and shipping confirmations. At their worst, these messages are poorly written and boring. The best, however, feel like conversation.
I was reminded of this today while reading the Indy Spectator. Of all the email I receive (and remember, I get a lot!) this is one I make time to read. The Spectators aim is to inspire people to discover new ways to love Indy. Each message is a succinct mix of things happening in Indianapolis, big and small, important and everyday. I cant tell you how many times Ive read about something about which I was previously unaware, each time coming away feeling like I know this city and its people just a little better. To be clear, Indy Spectator is not the place to turn for critical reviews of any given topic. Since they aim to spread the word about great finds in Indy, their articles naturally tend to be positive. (If they have a bad experience, the simply dont write about it.) The result, in my opinion, is an upbeat collection of the best that Indy has to offer.
Recent articles covered topics as wide as the Earth House Collective, the best places in town to train (and treat) your dog, a review and visual tour of the Central Library, and a complete round up of coming Spring and Summer concerts. Sign up on their web site or on their Facebook page where they are highlighting 365 Ways to Love Indy (e.g., Day 57: Potato).
Because they cover such a wide variety of topics, the articles are written by people with experience individual industries. One cautionary note: while I enjoy receiving the emails and tend to read them, you should know that the authors are occasionally involved, either directly or indirectly, which their subject. The issue about the Earth House Collective, for example, was written by the Executive Director of the organization. Still, the overall tone of the writing feels like one friend sharing a tip with another and the conversational tone seems to fit the aim of the publication.
There are a couple of marketing lessons here: If youre not communicating regularly with customers and prospects, you really should be. If you think you dont have anything to say, youre wrong. As I explained to someone recently, we all have expertise and unique experience. There are things that you know that you can share that are valuable, and it's the combination of expertise and experience that matters Other people may know about engines or marketing or bird calls or whatever but no one else has the same combination of knowledge and experience that you do. You are unique, so the combination of what you know and what you've done is also unique. This is your voice; use it! (And be sure to let me know where I can subscribe!)