As a marketer, I look for inspiration and learning where ever I can find them. Surprisingly this Sound Garden song can tell us a lot about the sign up process and welcome emails. In case you are not familiar with the song, here are the lyrics or you can listen to it below.

Let’s take a look at some of the lyrics and see what they can tell us about email.

Every word I said is what I mean
Every word I said is what I mean
Everything I gave is what I need

Virgin eyes and dirty looks
On what I have and why I took
Counting all the hands I shook
Now I know why you’ve been shaking
Now I know why you’ve been shaking

So bleed your heart out
There’s no more rides for free
Bleed your heart out
I said what’s in it for me

Everything I’ve held is what I’ve freed
Everything I’ve held is what I’ve freed
Everything I’ve shown is what I feel

Buying lies and stealing jokes
And laughing every time I choke
Biding all the time you took
Now I know why you’ve been taken
Now I know why you’ve been taken

So bleed your heart out
There’s no more rides for free
Bleed your heart out
I said what’s in it for me

The song’s opening verse starts us off in the right direction. Just as the song says, every word in your sign up process and in your welcome message SHOULD be what you mean. In other words, you should set subscriber expectations in the text of your sign up form and/or your welcome message. Tell your subscribers truthfully what kind of emails they will receive and how often they should expect them. If your welcome message says that email newsletters will arrive every Tuesday, then your newsletter should arrive on Tuesday – not another day.

Next, the song goes on to tell us that we should give everything we need. In your signup form only ask for what you need because often the more you ask for, the lower your response rates. Then as the song says above, give your subscribers what you need – relevant, personalized content. For example if you ask for their musical preferences, be sure to give them content in line with those answers. If I check off in your form that I like Sound Garden and other 90s alternative bands then it’s a safe bet I don’t want content on Lady Gaga or Kenny G.

Remember that your email program should not be buying into the lies of spammers or stealing other sites jokes. Don’t make everything about you, your sale and your quarterly number. Come up with original marketing ideas that (again) give them what you need: valuable, relevant content mixed with real offers.

Finally let’s take a look at the chorus, here we find the most valuable lesson –

That’s right marketers, you could bleed your heart out for your subscribers but if you do not answer the BIG question: What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) from a subscriber perspective you will probably not get many sign ups. Be sure to answer this question in your sign up forms/offers and just as the chorus repeats the big question; your welcome message should tell subscribers again what’s in it for them.

Remember in today’s economy there’s no more rides for free!

I would like to dedicate this post to Melinda Krueger. I credit her series as the Email Diva on Media Post’s Email Insiders as one of the places that I learned the importance of WIIFM.