When more stories about what’s new and trendy get reported more often than other stories with relevant and sometimes contradictory data, we blame the “file drawer effect” — as in these other stories get “left in the drawer.” This is often the case with email marketing, which is often short-sheeted in light of the emergence of social media despite delivering a $40.56 or $4,000% ROI. It’s a good thing there’s a new book aimed at writing this injustice. 

The Elevator Pitch

The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing is one part email mythbuster and one part scrappy manual for creating impactful email marketing campaigns integrated with the latest tools social media has to offer. Penned by email marketing expert DJ Waldow and Mr. “No Bullshit” himself Jason Falls, this book is effectively labeled as a ‘guide’ as it’s broken into four logical phases — growing your list, the anatomy of your email, breaking the established email marketing rules, and finally how email integrates with social media.

The Big Ideas

DJ Waldow

As The Rebel’s Guide is too packed to provide a sweeping overview of everything, here’s a 1,000-foot snapshot from each of the four sections of the book.

List Growth — The book logically kicks off with a robust section on building a strong foundation for your email marketing program through effective list building and management. Among other tips a lot of time is spent on the importance of little details like starting an email relationship with your customers with a warm welcome email that sets expectations and provides another valuable touch point.

The Anatomy of an Email — Like the “meat and potatoes” that the anatomy section promises to deliver, this portion is chocked full of actionable tips and examples from companies like Zappos, HARO, and MarketingProfs. After providing a review of various formats from basic text to newsletters to HTML, the authors remind us that the only way you’re going to know what works for your budiness is by testing (this reminder will be like a cold bucket of water to many marketers who overlook one of the easiest ways to keep your marketing honest and effective).

Jason Falls

Breaking the Rules — We’ve all heard the rules — ALL CAPS ARE BAD, double opt-in only, don’t use pop-up forms, include your unsubscribe at the bottom of your email only — and so on. The fact of the matter is that that email marketing has been around for over a decade. As such, technology has evolved and many of these rules don’t stand. Waldow and Falls unpack these sacred cows in an objective way to help you realize when you might be able to employ these tools. As the authors point out in my favorite quote of the book, “Best practices are practices that are best for your subscribers.”

Batman (Email Marketing) and Robin (Social Media) — Social media is a lot like the powerful new kid on the block (Robin) who can add a big helping hand to our time tested, proven ($40.56!) hero email marketing (Batman). Waldow and Falls close wth a section on fully realizing email as the digital glue connecting all of your conversations with your community.

So many of us are quick to slap the social icons on our emails for quickie integration that we don’t stop and consider things from our audience’s perspective. Luckily this section breaks this down conceptually and provides an actionable checklist for the savvy marketer to use to ensure that their dynamic duo’s Batmobile doesn’t stall-out before leaving the Batcave (I may have taken this metaphor too far).

So, Should You Read It?

I’m not big on full-throated endorsements but if your business has anything to do with email marketing (if it doesn’t that’s another issue altogether) there’s something in The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing for you. Whether you’re a marketing VP or coordinator, a copywriter or designer, you’ll find nuggets of intel that will leave your copy of the book broken-spined and dog-eared.

I also have to give Waldow and Falls props for how they close the book as well. First, they poll four venerable email experts on the future of the channel. Next, taking Nike’s advice to “Just Do It” a step further, Rebel’s Guide leaves you with an actionable four-step list (with due dates!) for you to kickstart your email program.

Like a true manual, The Rebel’s Guide will serve as a continuing resource not simply by telling you what you should and shouldn’t do with your email marketing campaigns. Rather it provides the frameworks you can make your own and reminds you that only by testing with your audience will you know for certain. Take to heart the book’s golden rule — best practices are practices tht work best for your subscribers. This is valuable advice for email marketing and beyond.

How are you using email in your marketing mix? If you need to shake things up, look no further than The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing.

BONUS! Meet the Co-Author!

DJ Waldow, co-author of The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing, will be joining us at the Iowa River Landing for this fall’s Social Brand Forum October 17–18. If you register now you can still get the early rate and a FREE copy of his book as well as titles by Ann Handley and Mack Collier (also speaking).

What’s That?!? A FREE Book & Social Brand Registration?
However, if you’re serious about attending and comment below I’ll pick a lucky winner tomorrow (Friday 9/28) at noon for a free copy of the book and a conference registration — over $275 of value! Comment below on how you could use a Rebel’s Guide and a ticket to the Social Brand Forum and you could win both! Make your case in the comments below and you could win big!