Email marketing can be a simple game.  Hit me with the right content, combined with an appropriate offer,  and demonstrate a little bit of intelligence into my consumer tendencies, …you’ll probably get my attention.

Case and point.  Tonight, Apple shoots me a very simple (text-based) email regarding a previous purchase (Breaking Bad, Season 5).  No graphics, no flashy art, no CTA button, no animated GIFs, no Responsive Design.  Just a personable message that is incredibly relevant, targeted to my previous behavior on-site, and timely in that it gets to my inbox before the morning assault of Living Social / Hautelook / Groupon / Amazon, etc.

Note, there are no catches or gimmicks.  Converting took me literally 25 seconds.  I didn’t have to spend X, to get Y.  This wasn’t an upsell / cross-sell.  The message was simple and powerful.  Apple admitted to a mess up, and they wanted to make it right.  They chose to be proactive.  Here’s your credit back, please feel free to use it on anything you’d like in our stores.

The simplicity is brilliant.  I love the email.  I couldn’t convert and redeem fast enough.

Take a step back and apply it to your efforts.  What are you dumping your time into?  Is it mostly art / graphics / cosmetics?  Yes, they’re important, but they only get you so far.  The danger is getting hooked on the short-term dopamine rush.  The flashy accents and verbiage that bring momentary inflation of conversions, but ultimately cheapen and dilute your brands’ voice.  Ridiculous discounts that spike site traffic, but eliminate your margins.  Offers that leave your platform and have you immediately refreshing your Google Analytics browser tab.

Those tactics serve their purpose of bending the needle (momentarily), but often it can mask a deeper issue;  not having a dialogue-driven engagement with your subscribers, that has context and feels organic.

Next time you prep for a mailing, take the “Apple Challenge” :  What message could you craft up in only a text-editor,  that could drive maximum engagement?  What intelligence can you utilize, whether it’s emotional or data-based (hint, it’s both), that can catalyze a genuine enthusiasm within your subscriber-base?  If you stripped down the eye-candy, would your copy and sentiment produce results?

It’s been a while since I’ve sat back and been impressed with Apple.  It’s funny how addition by subtraction sometimes can hit you square in the face.