What Makes Email Marketing the Ultimate Cinderella Story >


As an email marketer, my job is to dress up a brand’s message, get it an invite to the ball and then watch it dance. If you think about it, email is a bit like Cinderella: A little ad covered in muck that just needs a little help from her fairy godmother to get to the ball so she can dance with the prince. Here’s a breakdown of this Cinderella email story.


The Hateful Stepmother

Remember all those blog posts declaring “Email is Dead”? Yeah, that’s the voice of the evil  stepmom–constantly telling a growing community of email specialists and experts that their passions are going to be smashed. I can’t think of a single year that has gone by since choosing email as a career path that I haven’t been reminded that my career may be short lived. Thankfully we have email masters like Jordie van Rijn to help us combat these naysayers in a witty and informative manner with sites like EmailIsNotDead.com.


An Invite to the Ball

If the ball is a subscriber’s inbox, then the invite to that ball is a subscriber’s opt-in. Subscribers are picky. They don’t want to let just anyone attend. They only want the best–the ones with the most stylish gowns and best dance moves like a good subject line and a nicely formatted preheader. Don’t expect the prince to ask Cinderella to dance if her hair and makeup are garish. Remember that her princely audience is not only picky, but flighty as well. One wrong step and she’ll find her invite to the next ball rescinded and some other beauty on the prince’s arm in no time.


Dress to Impress

Everyone wants a dress with nice clean lines and a well built form, but it’s the accessories that really draw the eye. For email, I can think of no better accessories than good dynamic content and personalization. When most people think about data, they don’t normally think of it as a creative pursuit. However, when data is analysed, measured and finessed, the resulting insights can be applied thoughtfully and with elegant detail in a way that mimics a couture designer adding embellishments to a handmade masterpiece.

The prince is looking for someone who is well mannered, nicely adorned and speaks directly to him, not the crowd of other guys. He will only dance with someone who gives him a true one-to-one experience. And let’s face it, Cinderella can do exactly that.  


Those Ugly Stepsisters

In this world where email is Cinderella, authentication records are most certainly the ugly stepsisters. Before Cinderella can go to the ball, she has to make sure her stepsisters are satisfied with their outfits. This is similar to SPF, DKIM, and sometimes even DMARC in the email world.

Of course, Cinderella must also complete her chores. For an email, it’s those tedious can-spam requirements and filter checks. Thankfully, the email community has a magic fairy godmother, Litmus, who is here to make sure Cinderella gets past those stepsisters and looks good when she arrives.


Ready to Dance

Okay, Cinderella has made it to the ball, and you’re in the inbox. Now what? Will she be a wallflower or will she bust a move and impress the prince? This is where the game really begins. Maybe the prince will choose the shy girl with the demure teaser and somewhat expected dance moves or maybe he’ll go for someone who has been progressively profiling him for some time. Maybe he falls for the glitter and chooses the girl testing out an exclusive shopping experience.

Cinderella has competition, but if she does her thing right, she’ll get that dance with the prince and maybe win the proposal she’s really after. Again though, the prince is fickle and likely to change his mind on a whim. If she doesn’t get a proposal, she can’t drop her game and wear that same dress to the next ball–he’ll want to see something fresh that pushes the edge of the inbox and makes the ball more interesting.


The Clock Strikes Midnight

Cinderella’s night at the ball has come to an end. She made it to the ball, danced with the prince and even got a proposal (woot, the subscriber converted!). While she had a blast at this particular engagement, there’s another ball in just two days that she needs to prep for. And the prince is eagerly waiting to see what she has in store for him next.

Now it’s time for post-send analytics to jump in and see where Cinderella can make improvements. Maybe it’s the color of her dress–should she split test it and wear a different color on each side? Should she wear a tiara or try a new hairstyle?

We’ll just have to wait and see what happens at the next ball to find out if Cinderella will live happily ever after.

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