The revelation arrived in the Customer Service inbox via a frustrated client. A loyal client who had reached the end of his tether. What was the ultimate email marketing crime that we had committed?

It was a great wake up call. In recent weeks, I’d toasted myself for my self-taught prowess, as a DIY Mailchimp-er, cleanser of our clunky database and author of stylish emails of the ilk that you could frame up on a wall.

But thankfully a good Samaritan has finally burst that bubble. He felt it his duty, after being bombarded by bad communication, late communication or offering discounts for events he’d already registered for. The straw that annihilated his Camelbak was alas, when he received an email that he believed was targeted at fresh leads, offering them discounts that he, as a loyalist, was not entitled to!

This stuff drove him crazy.

I’ve been there myself. If I had to split my inbox spam (ahem… EDM’s!) that I receive into two types – they’d be labelled “updates” versus “newsletters”.

Updates usually come from events that I’ve signed up for or participated in.

  • In the lead up to the event, they’d remind me about how to prepare – such as “how to get here” advice, what to wear, special discounts, key note speakers, and so on.
  • After the event, emails are sent to remind me about when registrations are open for the next edition. These hit my inbox very rarely, not even once a month.

Newsletters usually come from more retail or service based organisations. For example, I like scanning over the click bait e-newsletters from Copyblogger or Mumbrella, especially if a topic snags a passion or pain point that I’m tackling.

It seems logical for a retail organisation – such as Red Bull or Adidas – to crossover from sales into being an e-news content provider. Successful sports organisations – like football clubs – can also master the e-newsletter. They have a loyal fan base eager for snippets about their favourite players, latest merchandise, ticket sales and so on.

But the middle ground remains a swamp for participation sports events.

How does an events organisation make a crossover? We need to establish ourselves as a trusted news source before we can legitimately start infiltrating the inboxes of our subscribers.

As someone who is passionate about the written word, I’m curious and excited about the potential of crafting emails that are actually helpful and send a ray of light shining onto a reader’s day.

As a starting point:

As with all things – design, packaging, production – what’s brilliant goes unnoticed, but when it’s wrong, it stands apart. The difference? Giving a damn and wanting to achieve mastery.

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