Over the last couple of months I have discussed on multiple occasions the issue of clients creating an email marketing ad based on their vision instead of allowing you to create the ad based on your expertise on what works and what doesn’t work. We’ve talked about this many times and it continues to be an issue and one that travels across many different verticals, and part of the problem I think is most clients are basing their vision on what their email marketing ad should look like on traditional experience, that being print advertising because in print you have different colors and graphics, and so many different things you can do, glossy paper, four color, eight color, whatever the case may be, and you want to create those ads in a way so that they stand out. The same thing with magazine ads, everything comes down to making the ad stand out, the problem is email doesn’t work that way and it’s very difficult to get clients to understand this. We talked about this back in August (The one about the email marketing campaign that failed) and last week we had a guest article by Karen Post (No, I can’t help you: 9 reasons passing on cash will make you richer – Karen Post) and she talked about toxic money, taking money from clients that you really shouldn’t take and I don’t think that stops at taking money that’s going to make your job miserable or cause you more work, or cause you to have a low or nonexistent ROI on a project, I think it has to include email marketing clients too, because I think toxic money goes two ways, because if you’re allowing your client to spend money on an email campaign that you knows not going to work based on the ad that is being created, this is toxic money for both you and the client. Its toxic money for the client because they are not going to get what they paid for because they are throwing money away, and it’s not doing them any good, and its toxic money for you because while you’re going to make a profit initially you are not going to have a happy client here, and they are not going to come back and keep doing business with you, in the end you allowed them to create this ad.
At the end of the day you have to manage your clients and you have to create a policy that outlines what can and cannot be done in an email ad, and you need to be strong and you need to tell the client that you are only willing to go ahead with the campaign under certain these conditions. You have to create a set of guidelines for email marketing ads and in advance you need to tell the client what those guidelines are; as a business we will not allow an email marketing campaign if it has not been created in the scope of these guidelines. Are you going to lose some clients, possibly, and if they use another company that allows them to send this ad out, it will not be successful and chances are they will probably come back to you and this time more willing to listen to what you are saying, overall I think you are going to gain the confidence of your clients because you are showing that you are not all about the money, you are not willing to take someone’s money just for the sake of taking their money, you are willing to turn that money down. We recently had this discussion at Throttle Media and we discussed how taking money from a client that will not listen to what we are saying to them just isn’t an option, we are willing to turn the job down. We have created a set of guidelines at our company on what should and shouldn’t be done when creating an email marketing ad, based on our expertise and our years of experience and our knowledge of the universe that we operate in every day. One of the big things is companies are creating ads or have a vision of what an ad should look like based on traditional advertising, and that just doesn’t work; you can’t create a graphics only ad and have it work, it might look really good, its sexy, but it has no teeth, it’s going to get caught by every spam filter that exists, you can’t put in big red letters dollar signs and “sale” or “special promotion” or “click here for savings”. There’s a whole list of things that you cannot do, and it might be the best looking ad that’s ever been created, but what good is it if it isn’t effective, if it doesn’t bring people to your website… and that of course is what it needs to do, if it doesn’t, than who really cares how good it looks, or what a great job the designer did, or how pleased the client is with how great it looks, because I can assure you that same client is not going to be jumping up and down with joy once they see their small or not existent click through rate. So I cannot stress enough, if you are taking money from a client and the ad was not properly created by today’s email marketing standards, than this is toxic money for both you and the client.