There are volumes of books, articles, video and audio programs that talk about influence. Not only how we influence others, but how we influence ourselves.
From the time we are born, we are influenced; not only by what we see going on around us, but by how we interpret those influences. Over time, we create a certain belief system about what we should and should not do, and we use that belief system to automatically sort incoming data into “Good for us/Bad for us” data sets.
For the most part, it’s a pretty good system, designed to protect us from harm. It can, however, lull us into decisions that aren’t so good for us, simply because it got automatically sorted into the “Good for us” data set.
With email marketing, your intention is to create a “Good for us” data set for the recipients. You want your prospects and customers to believe they are truly getting something…the best product at the best price with the most convenience and personal service. Right?
With email marketing, you have created a connection. At some level, we all desire connection. Connection to one another and connection to life around us. It is desire for connection that enticed your prospects and customers to join a group… an exclusive buyer’s group…a group that receives email from someone they know has a desire to influence them. The desire to conform to group behavior in order to maintain a connection also influences us.
As an email marketer, your job is to gain compliance. Your job is to influence those who read your emails; to convince them to comply with your suggestions, to suggest that doing so connects them to others in the group, and, that they should buy your products…now.
Once someone has given you authority to enter their life through email, they have made a certain commitment to consistency. “I trust you, I believe you are an authority, and consistent with that belief, I will take certain actions…over and over to verify my own beliefs.” This commitment to consistency moves us forward to compliance.
In his book Influence the Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini, PhD does an excellent job of explaining how our minds work to sort out incoming data and make it consistent with whatever belief system we establish. He describes an experiment used to demonstrate how homeowners in a community become willing to allow a huge billboard sign in their yards after they had made an earlier commitment to a very small sign.
Without thinking significantly about the impact of the huge billboard in their yard, the homeowners had instead become focused on their belief in a “Drive Safely” program they had committed to agreeing to place the small sign in their yards. Focused on their belief, they ignored the adverse impact of a huge billboard in their yard.
To refuse to allow the huge billboard to be placed in their yard would have been, in the unconscious decision-making process going on, inconsistent with their previous commitment. This was not an acceptable option in their belief system.
The ultimate influence of email marketing is its ability to reach the unconscious decision-making process.
Knowing that puts you…and me…as the email marketer, in a very responsible position. We are, I believe, responsible for actually delivering an ethical “Good for Us” data set.
When you’re ready to hit the ‘send’ button on your email, have you answered the question…”Does this email message, in some part, provide my prospects and customers what they believe they are getting…the best product at the best price with the most convenience and personal service I can provide?”
And I hope you really want the answer to that to be “Yes.” I do.