Shakespeare: Leading World Authority On…Email Marketing?!

Shakespeare may have lived 400 years before email, but that doesn’t mean he can’t teach us a thing or two about email marketing.

After all, the greatest writer in the English language wrote spectacular plays, poems and letters; we’re sure his email content would have been equally successful.

Here are five quotes from Shakespeare’s work that show us how to be better email marketers.

Copy of the book, King Lear

King Lear, Email Marketer’s Manual

“Nothing will come of nothing.”
King Lear Act 1, scene 1

Your email needs to contain a call to action. Like Cordelia in King Lear, we don’t want to communicate meaningless content, but that doesn’t mean we should be silent.

Make sure your email contains a clear call to action, preferably one you can track, such as a link.

A copy of the book, Hamlet

Hamlet – essential reading for email marketers worldwide, no doubt.

“Suit the action to the word, the word to the action”
Hamlet Act 3, scene 2

If, like me, you create a new email by copying a previously sent campaign you’ve most likely also sent out a campaign without updating the links. Always be sure to check the links in your email are going to the right place, somewhere related to the text in the link.

Don’t forget also to check links on images! It’s really irritating to click on a link to a product and find it go to a completely different one.

(Fortunately dotMailer lets me edit the links even after a campaign has been sent, so I’m hoping very few of you noticed my mistakes.)

Copy of the Merry Wives of Windsor book

The Merry Wives of Windsor aka The Email Marketer’s Bible….

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late”
The Merry Wives of Windsor Act 2, scene 2

There is lots of talk of ‘when’s the best time to send an email’; and you can spend a lot of time trying to optimise it for different segments.

The one thing it’s absolutely clear you shouldn’t do is to find the average opening time and send it then. That way it will be too late for half of your contacts.

Better to send it early, to make sure it’s there in time for more of your contacts.

Copy of Much Ado About Nothing book

If you’ve never read Much Ado About Nothing, the email community just wont take you in.

 “A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.”
Much Ado About Nothing Act 2, scene 3

Segmentation and personalisation is critical in delivering relevant content to your contacts; but if that data is out of date it may be doing you more harm than good.

Just because someone was interested in one product last year, doesn’t mean they’re still interested now.

Give your contacts every opportunity to update their preferences, use surveys to collect additional information about them, and make sure you re-segment your contacts regularly to see if they’ve moved into a new category.

Copy of Macbeth

Macbeth – recommended reading for anyone with access to an ESP’s ‘send’ button.

“What’s done cannot be undone.”
Macbeth Act 5, scene 1

With the exception of a few things like updating links (as mentioned above), Lady Macbeth has some very sage words for email marketers here. There’s no point trying to recall a message that’s been sent out to hundreds of thousands of contacts, you’ll only draw more attention to it.

Make sure you test send your emails (plain text and HTML versions), do Litmus inbox preview s, and check every single link in your campaign.

Some sage words here; and we had to cut a few quotes to save on space.

We’re just know you can come up with some of your own; just add a comment or send us a tweet to @dotMailer with a quote that can be applied to email marketing.

Incidentally, if you ever visit Shakespeare’s Globe, do drop in on our central London office – we’re just 150 yards away.

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