If you write a blog, a newsletter, or both, you work to develop valuable content that appeals to readers. You build a relationship of trust with your readers that encourages them to return to your site.
But you don't want to take such relationships for granted, as my marketing mentor, Marcia Yudkin, warned in her recent weekly "Marketing Minute," which I share with her permission:
Whether it's your blog or your weekly/monthly newsletter, avoid relating to your readers as if they've known you for years. Why? When your business has healthy growth, each post or ezine has some readers who know little or nothing about you.
I hate it when I start receiving emails that refer to the sender only as "Carol" or "Jason." With just a first name to go on, I cannot connect the email to what made me want to hear from that person. It's like reading a random note that washed up in a bottle.
Likewise, some marketers write as if you know that "George" is their pet guinea pig. Or they'll refer to their cramped living space as if you undoubtedly remember that they live and work in an RV.
Your readers are not necessarily best buddies who have known you forever. So don't write as if each message is an installment in an ongoing conversation. Instead, always provide enough context so whether it's a first contact or the thousandth, it makes sense and connects to your relevant business identity.
My favorite part of Marcia's advice is her reminder that healthy growth brings readers who don't know you. Those strangers deserve content that is fleshed out enough to make them feel at home with you and the knowledge and services you offer.
The advice applies beyond blogs and newsletters. Your home page (and other pages readers land on) must offer more than obscure, changing images and cryptic phrases. Don't make readers click, click, click to figure out who you are.
Likewise, be sure your emails supply what readers need, especially those readers who may not know you well. I recently received this message:
Subject: Lynn, Quick Question
Forgive me for reaching out to you again, just wanted to check in to see if you think our infographic is a fit for your audience.
Thanks again for taking the time out.
PS: Any and all feedback is welcome.
I would love to respond and possibly provide feedback when I have extra time. But WHICH infographic? Why should I remember it? Unless we know each other well, I need information and the infographic again to help me respond this time.
Checking old emails, I realize that Annie wrote to me in April and was following up this month. Too much time has passed for me to remember her earlier request.
With your family, yes, you can expect an intimate knowledge of your life. But with the rest of us, as Marcia Yudkin says, avoid fake intimacy.
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Does this advice on fake intimacy ring true for you? Please share your thoughts.