Email marketing and sneezers

In his book, Purple Cow, Seth Godin discusses the concept of “sneezers”.

Huh?

“Sneezers” are “experts” who tell all of their friends and colleagues about a new product or service, and are perceived authorities in the area and are therefore influential.

The book is worth reading just for the discussion of “sneezers”.

What relevant does this have for your email marketing campaigns?

Everything.

In fact, email is the perfect medium to capitalize on the “sneezers” tendency to “spread” the virus. Email is so very simple to forward to any number of people, adding one’s own comments. And today, of course, almost everyone has email.

You can understand why the ease of forwarding makes gives email a nudge over paper-based communications in many applications. If you happen to hit a “sneezer” at just the right time, you can have influence far beyond your original prospect list.

These principles should not be restricted to business. I belonged to a service organization that insisted on mailing a monthly newsletter with news and training opportunities. I asked why email was not used, citing the lower cost, instant delivery, and ability to forward. I argued that the newsletter could be much more effective and we could save money at the same time. Predictibly, my concerns fell on deaf ears.

For the service organization to which I belonged, there was not much at stake. But my story illustrates how organizations can get trapped by inertia, doing things the same way they’ve always been done and not taking advantage of new opportunities.