If you're looking to grow your email list, there is no shortage of advice available. The problem is, if you implement all of it (or even just a good chunk of it), you'll get something that looks a lot like this.

Click. Laugh. Then Cry.

This endless scroll of pop-ups, shameless pleading, and thinly disguised bribes is funny because it's instantly recognizable. Which is just why email marketing veteran Paul Jarvis points to it (with credit to Matt Giovanisci) in a recent Medium post.

According to Jarvis, this satirical site represents all that's wrong with most of today's efforts to score a prospect's email -- and sadly, what's probably wrong with your attempts as well. In their desperation to be heard above the noise, most entrepreneurs will try just about any tactic that might increase their subscriber numbers. But according to Jarvis, while this sounds sensible in the short-term, it is almost certain to backfire down the road.

People like other people, not automatons.

So what should you be aiming for if not racking up as many emails as possible? That, Jarvis insists, is exactly what you need to consider.

The answer will be as individual as each particular marketer. Rarely, however, is it as straightforward as watching your numbers climb in MailChimp (or even in your bank account). More likely you care about serving others in some way, or in presenting yourself to the world in a certain light.

The problem with most marketing advice, he insists, is that it isn't tailored to your purpose and your values. Applying it willy nilly won't work, because it doesn't really represent you, and marketing without authenticity is hard on both you and your audience -- and not terribly effective. "You can't just add a ton of sign-up forms to your site and hope for the best," he argues. Instead,

There has to be an intermediate step: does this marketing tactic actually feel like me? Does it match my brand/personality? Do I feel good doing it? Will my audience feel good seeing it?...

Your marketing style is both difficult and easy to find. It's easy, because it's just you. The real you. You market by being a human being (congrats, you've achieved/unlocked this goal)! People sign-up and then buy from you because they know you're a person, just like they are, not some marketing robot or super-profesh internet-superstar. We're all just humans, separated by screens (via Jeff Sheldon)....

This is the main way that you stand out, in any industry.

Convinced Jarvis is on to something (and desperate to stop feeling scammy about your emails)? His lengthy complete post offers some interesting questions to help you narrow in on your purpose, as well as advice on how to move from this realization to practical marketing tactics.

Published on: Sep 2, 2016
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