There’s probably a saying, no doubt wrongly attributed to the Chinese, that if you think the same as everyone around you, they and you are wrong. (I’ve Googled without success.) Whilst it is a bit shallow, there’s more than a grain of truth in it. It especially goes for email marketing.
I’m a great believer in copying other people. Experience is expensive so it is cheaper to learn from those who have already paid the price. Copying, though, is a step too far. You have your email marketing lists, others have theirs, and they differ. Indeed, you segregate yours, so even your email marketing lists vary. That means your methods should differ as well.
The problem with being unconventional, or thinking outside the box if you prefer the metaphor, can be expensive. Get it wrong and you pay a price. However, if you want to stay level with your competition then go with them. Those who want to get ahead need a new perspective.
There are, unfortunately, no useful examples of how to be unconventional. All those wonderful inspirational ideas have since been copied by the industry, and there lies the only negative aspect. All such advantages last a short time, but the majority of those you attract will probably stay with you.
Testing with segmented email marketing lists limits the risks inherent in a duff idea. We can, at least, limit the cost of misjudgement. That still leaves what to try as well as how to generate a steady flow of brilliant ideas.
One option is to look outside the confines of our industry. How others market their products often gives alternatives. Check through flyers, emails, adverts and such. I wonder who first thought of meerkats as possible advertising gold. Did it come to them on a family visit to the zoo?
Another way is to have a brainstorming session, but instead of your management team, ask some of those who sit at screens or perform more mundane tasks. Ask for ideas and not justification, at least not at this stage. Even something so completely off the wall as to be nonsensical on first sight might have a positive.
If someone had said to you, “Here, what about a tiger, saying something like ‘They’re grrreat’,” Would you have ignored them?
For those you ask, it is their chance to shine, to show they have something more than printer servicing to put to the company. Don’t give them guidance in any way. You might have a particular product for an email marketing campaign in your mind, but once you start restricting their options you will drag them back inside the box.
Once the ideas are in, ask you team to come up with reasons to support each idea. The reasons to reject them are already obvious. Don’t ask them to improve the suggestions but to run with them.
You’ll get a lot of rubbish back, almost certainly the vast majority will be binned. There will be one or two ideas that will show promise. These you should work at to get something from; because they are worth it.