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Building an Email Marketing Strategy Around David Letterman’s Legacy

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At first glance, it might seem a little nonsensical or downright silly to connect late night legend David Letterman to the world of email marketing. However, the truth of the matter is that following in David Letterman’s lead – especially now that he’s calling it a career after over 45 years of being in the business – makes plenty of sense. With the help of Entrepreneur magazine’s Seamas Egan guiding the way, as well as several other leading voices in the industry, you too can put the powerful lessons learned from the longest-tenured late night talk show host in history to good use the next time your brand takes the virtual stage in the inbox.

Nail the Opening Act

Atop the list of email marketing lessons garnered from this career, Egan notes that no one – from Carson to Leno – captured the opening act quite like Lettermen. Considering that this portion of the show sets the stage for the following segments, it’s easy to see how being the best in the first few minutes goes a long way.

So how can your brand mimic this strong point of Lettermen’s approach? Take the inbox by storm with top tier subject lines. As the “opening act” of a campaign, subject lines take on a place of importance that either makes or breaks everything that follows. To maximize this part of the process, Jenna Goudreau suggests keeping things short and sweet.

By skipping out on the filler words and focusing on brevity, you can distill your subject lines down to the most important, exciting, and engaging nuggets. The alternative – a header that falls flat on its face thanks to a clunky delivery – stands as the email marketing equivalent of one of the few opening act jokes on The Late Show that left the audience hearing crickets.

Stay Current with the Latest Headlines

Aside from nailing the opening act, another focal point of virtually every edition of The Late Show included poking fun at current events. While your brand may not be able to fire off zingers at the latest headlines like Letterman, that doesn’t mean your emails can’t capitalize on the interest generated by taking note of current events.

From the latest industry news to relevant social and entertainment trends floating through your audience, building content around these stories goes a long way toward positioning your brand and its newsletters or regular emails as a valued source of insight into these topics. The best part about this approach is that, as long as you offer up links and a gentle reminder to your inbox audience, it can also help drive traffic to your related blog and site content.

Sure, keeping up with current events definitely requires a lot more work than just sticking to the status quo, but when it’s framed with this perspective, it’s easy to see why this process is well worth your time and effort.

Understand and Appeal to the Audience

Finally, the fact that David Letterman’s career currently spans multiple decades on the same platform is a testament to the fact that, even though times change, this leading TV personality has always appealed to the right audiences – even to the point of shifting the focus of the show toward younger generations when necessary.

If you’re brand wants to be a long-term player in the inbox, you could do a lot worse than taking this page out of Letterman’s book. Of course, figuring out who to market toward with your email content is often easier said than done, especially if you’re not familiar with the particulars of your current target audience.

As The Huffington Post’s Matthew Collis notes, understanding what appeals to your audience starts with segmenting your current content list. By categorizing and compiling location, personal, and interest data that’s accumulated during the sign-up process, you can give your brand a significant boost toward finding the right content angle and presentation. Adding in a relevant “Big Data” set based around this burgeoning consumer profile does up the costs associated with pinpointing your ideal audience, but definitely keeps this optimization trend moving forward.

By putting these tips to good use, as well as everything else we’ve covered here, there’s no doubt that your organization can rise to the top of the ranks in the inbox, much like Letterman has done over the past several decades within the late night television scene. Considering his substantial resume and legacy, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better path to follow as your brand makes a name for itself among customers via savvy email marketing operations.

About Victor Green

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