Over 10 years ago, I attended my first class on email marketing. The instructor (Matthew Furey) said, “Write something real, share a piece of yourself and you’ll be an effective email marketer.” And that, to me, sounded doable. If all I had to do was share my personal stories…no problem. I could do that.

Well, friends, things have changed a tiny bit in the last 10 years. Emails take a little bit more than a self-promoting paragraph to grab and keep your contacts’ attention now.

I have spent hundreds of hours reading about email marketing – the do’s and don’ts, what content to include, etc. And I’ve come to this conclusion: Matthew Furey’s advice is a little dated. But, reading between the lines, the message I got from him then, and the one I believe still applies now is: don’t try so stinking hard to write a perfect email!

Effective email marketing comes from a desire to build sincere relationships with your contacts.

So how do you do that?

In my research, I have concluded there are two and only two reasons to write emails:

1) Most emails are to convey information (invite to webinars, remind about appointments, talk about a sale, ask for testimonials, offer a demo or a consultation). They are simple, straight-forward emails that don’t need a lot of fluff. And they don’t need a lot of salesy content.

Unfortunately, too many people want to complicate their emails. They think to themselves, “If I say the right words, everyone’s going to buy.” Well, I’ve got news for you…emails don’t sell. Emails (especially transactional emails) are simply a means of moving your prospects from wherever they are to the next step in your sales cycle.

The goal of your email is to get your prospects and customers to click on a link and take action. The page you link to can be a full-on sales page. Or a video. Or even a direct link to your shopping cart. It doesn’t matter. What matters is if you’re able to move your contacts from opening their email to taking the actions you suggest.

Those are transactional emails. They don’t have to be custom created. And if you don’t get the message “perfect”, it’s going to be okay.

Case in point…a client of mine was hosting a series of webinars as a way to build interest in his son’s business. He was using the webinar hosting service’s pre-written reminders to get people to his webinar. As a test, I wrote him more “salesy” reminders. The result…it didn’t make a whole lot of difference.

And why would it? A reminder is a reminder no matter how many words we pack around it. Those who plan to come will be there. Those who don’t, won’t. So don’t kill yourself over the emails.

2) Some emails are to build relationships. These emails are the emails Matthew Fury was talking about 10 years ago.

They are the down and dirty, let the people get to know you emails. These are the emails where we confess that the very first time we professionally cut someone’s hair, we gave them a bald spot and didn’t tell. These are the moments when we admit that as an AC guy, we actually prefer the less expensive brands but they don’t pay out as high of a sales price as the name brand companies.

But again, these emails don’t require “perfect words”, because when you’re real and you are raw, you don’t articulate to perfection. You “spew” forth your thoughts and feelings and help others feel as if they know and can connect with you. Perfection gives the illusion that you’re not being real.

When you’re sharing information about your business, choose to “say” things that you would naturally say. If you would say it to someone’s face, you should type it in an email. If you wouldn’t bother to say it out loud to a prospect, you wouldn’t write about it. You’ve talked about your business a thousand times. Take that information and convert it into emails. That’s what builds the relationship.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which of these emails you are in the middle of crafting. Writing emails is easy. We’re the ones that complicate things. Convey the message, ask your contact to take action, and then leave it up to them to act. You’ll be back to connect again soon.