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 retail and news subscriptions.

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 short-term fixes.  Flashy graphics and sharp copywriting bring short-term upticks of conversions. Long term though, not building a more earned relationship with the customer will lead to a decrease in performance. Customers will get conditioned to discount your brand’s reputation and value around each touch-point. You need organic, scalable, and genuine dialog with your customers.

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 message, sentiment, and context produce results?