Shakespeare in the Realm of Email Marketing

Email marketing, like all marketing processes, is about persuasion.

Maybe you don’t have a product you’re selling. Maybe you’re selling a way of life. Maybe you’re selling a concept, like living ‘greener’ or doing more with less, or promoting your favorite political candidate. Whatever your email message is, if you’re in email marketing and communicating, your goal is to persuade.

The art of persuasion is as old as mankind itself…or at least as old as its stories. If you go back through time, and review the stories of persuasion, you will find that they have not changed…since the beginning.

You will find the same three elements of persuasion…used over and over. They are the same three elements that are as necessary for success in your email marketing campaign as they have been since Aristotle first defined rhetoric. Google Shakespeare’s Julias Caesar and you will find, in the speeches of Brutus and Marc Anthony, how the art of persuasion works.

In their speeches following the assassination of Julius Caesar, both Brutus and Marc Anthony first establish their credibility and build a bond with the audience. Each then stirs the emotion of the crowd and finally moves them toward the conclusion they wish the audience to reach. While both ask the audience to reach a different conclusion, they both use the elements of persuasion.

In your email marketing efforts, regardless of your end goal, verify that you have these three elements in place:

  1. Establish credibility…what Aristotle called ethos. Before consideration for taking action, your prospects must trust you. They must feel comfortable and in control. All of your communication must link together, in a step-by-step method, to guide your prospect through the process. Allow prospects to seek more information, through webpage links if they are not ready to buy…or make a decision. Let the information contain the following elements.
  2. Arouse emotion toward action…what Aristotle called pathos…the motivating factor. Demonstrate, with emotional language, the benefits that are available. “Do you want your children to grow up without the opportunity to find freedom in choosing their own path? Do you want them to grow up without freedom of choice…or do you want them to have the same opportunities to find health, wealth, and happiness that you have enjoyed?”
  3. Establish reasons and arguments to create action. This is what Aristotle called logos or the marshaling of reasons. “I love my freedom to choose. I know you do, too. By electing Bob Jones to Congress this session, we can ensure our rights and privileges will remain intact for our children…and our children’s children…to enjoy. Please pledge your support for freedom by casting your vote for Bob Jones next Tuesday.”

Your target market has given you permission to talk to them via emails for a reason. They believe you speak the same language as they do. They have determined you are credible.

Your emails must reinforce this credibility by speaking their language. Your emails must anticipate the questions your prospects may have, establish an emotional connection that reinforces their decision to trust you without distracting them from the persuasion process.

Your emails must then move your prospect to a final decision step, and then ensure that step is solid… solidly easy to navigate to the final conclusion…whatever conclusion it is that you wish them to reach.