The great horned owl of email marketing


I thought of the great horned owl when I saw a guy complaining online about how his unsubscribes have increased even though he has made more sales.

Unsubscribes are like the number on the scale – people get so fixated on that one number.

Anyway, I thought of the great horned owls because I only hear their distinctive hoots in January and February.

Those are the times I most need to hear them too because it’s the middle of winter and there is nothing else about nature that is exciting to me at that time of year. Two years ago, when we had bitter cold temps for days and weeks on end, the great horned owls were very vocal and active and I was grateful for their presence.

Last week I finally heard the great horned owl for the fist time this winter. I woke up at midnight because of his hoots and I was overjoyed to hear them.

Then I heard it again in the early morning a couple days later.

There are probably plenty of people who don’t care to hear owls hooting (i.e unsubscribes) or who don’t even notice the hoots (I pity this people). The crows hate owls. I heard a flock of them cawing like mad last week, which was an indication to me that an owl was nearby.

There are also plenty of email copywriters and marketers that would be appalled that the only time the owl makes herself heard is two months out of the year, so the owl isn’t a good example to use.

But the reason the owl has a lesson for us is that her voice is distinctive (the female owl is larger than the male and hoots just as much as the male).

No matter how long you’ve gone without hearing it, you recognize it.

The lessons:

Even if you’ve neglected your list, you can wake it up again if you have a recognizable voice.

Having a distinct voice is what sets you apart in the email marketing world.

Everyone says “content is king” but that’s only true if you have a great voice that sets you apart from the crowd.

With the owl, it’s not just his content that is king, but he is king. He attracts haters (crows) and gets countless unsubscribes, but he is king of whatever forest or yard he sets talons in.

He always gets a ton of sales (just look at all the pellets he coughs up wherever he roosts) so he doesn’t give a hoot about unsubscribes. Owls always sit calmly when crows caw at them.

In my A Year of Email Copywriting course, one of the topics I cover is how to wake up a dead list. There is also a lesson on how to add personality to your emails, which is one of the best ways to find your voice:

You’ll get one email a week from me for 52 weeks.

You’re able to email back and forth with me as well and gave input on topics you want covered. Hope to see you there.


Photo: Vicki DeLoach

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