And no, this is not an April Fools’ joke. A few months ago, I received a newsletter from a prominent sales guru, Jeffrey Gitomer. The title was “Your E-mails Suck!”. It wasn’t offensive to me. In fact, my reaction was finally – someone else gets it and will relate how email is out-dated, intrusive, and unreliable noise.
Nope. The main article was in fact about e-mail templates. The argument was that the added pizzazz was infinitely better, even with the same message. Strike one for Gitomer – two more and he’ll be off my radar probably forever. My favorite thing lately is to examine motivations and in this case it’s not giving good sales and marketing ideas, but selling the template service. In all transparency, I utterly despise e-mail as one of the worst communication mediums of all time and a huge productivity loss of mental masturbation with no upside for business. Gitomer is one of the few e-mail newsletters I receive, but the template message is very out of touch.
Besides the fact that e-mail blasts using templates are just more noise, the reality is that all the graphics used to give extra style are blocked by default. If you try to use your favorite color schemes for shading, the look is flat and resembles the web back in 1996. While the trend on the web today is wide, e-mail templates seem almost cartoonishly narrow at around 550 pixels to accommodate e-mail preview panes. Which leads to the issue that Outlook (predominant e-mail client) uses Word and not a browser to render templates, so you actually are back in the mid 90s using very simplistic tables and formatting. Worse yet, your great looking template for Outlook may not display correctly in other e-mail clients.
If the main portion of your marketing strategy is sending more, but better looking SPAM then your cause is likely a lost one. E-mail is the number one enemy of productivity worldwide. People don’t want your unsolicited e-mail, have SPAM filters that may block your message, and have neither the time or inclination to download your pictures or read more than 2 sentences. Gitomer’s advice about using templates for appointment follow-up and even for general correspondence has too many negative implications. I’m not compelled to click on your blog link or drift away to your Facebook page because you use an e-mail template. If I get an e-mail template being used for normal correspondence, it looks terrible without graphics and just tells me it’s another impersonal distraction. The paradigm has changed and you’re supposed to provide great content via the web that customers choose to read and hopefully compelled to take the next step in the sales/buying process. With all the new marketing options, don’t waste your time on e-mail templates.