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4 email marketing lessons you can learn from cold water swimming

Back in September 2020, I was looking for ways to improve my mental and physical health at a time when getting out of the house was difficult. This is when I discovered the practice of cold-water swimming. So, one sunny afternoon I went down to the local beach and swam out into the freezing water of the North Sea.

Although immersing yourself in icy water sounds like a thoroughly unenjoyable experience (and it was pretty challenging the first couple of tries!), I can strongly recommend it for a whole host of reasons.

For the last four years, sea swimming has been a regular hobby. From the height of summer to the depths of winter, I regularly brave the cold temperatures.

Although they may seem like vastly different topics, sea swimming and email marketing share some guiding principles and both can provide you with long-term benefits.

Email marketing can be one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience as you can send your content directly to their email inbox. If you’re considering implementing an email marketing strategy into your business here are four principles, I have learned from cold water swimming.

1. Identify your goals

People brave cold water for a range of different reasons. For some, it is a way to treat physical or mental health problems. For others, it is about connecting with nature.

Your reasons for swimming impact the approach you take. Somebody seeking pain relief for a physical health condition may swim in nothing but a pair of trunks as they wish to experience the cold, whereas someone who wants to spend as much time in the water as possible may opt to wear a wetsuit.

The same principle applies to your email marketing. The strategy you take, the kind of content you send, and even the time you send it is influenced by your target audience and the goals you are aiming to achieve.

Building a connection with your existing audience may require a different approach than a campaign focused on increasing traffic to your website.

You may want to identify which type of email works best with your audience or you may have content which would resonate well with some of your clients but less so with others. This is where principles such as audience segmentation and split testing come into play.

Understanding your goals plays a key role in the approach you take to your email marketing.

2. Adaptability

Cold water swimmers must be ready to adapt to a range of circumstances. You may find that the water is colder than you thought it would be or you could experience a sudden strong current while you’re swimming. Your approach might change depending on the time of year or the location you’ve chosen to swim in.

Email marketing also requires adaptability. For example, you may intend to send your newsletters every Wednesday at 1 pm but, by exploring different approaches, you could find that Saturday mornings allow you to reach more of your audience.

Alternatively, you might use A/B testing to determine what type of content is going to help you achieve your goals more effectively. By being adaptable, you can make informed, data-driven decisions which will guide your campaign.

Unexpected events, such as the recent general election announcement, might present you with challenges you were not expecting in your campaign. But this can also work to your benefit, giving you the opportunity to adapt your content and connect with your audience in a new way. Much like cold water swimming, it’s these opportunities that help you grow your development and experience.

Being adaptable and open-minded can greatly benefit your email marketing campaign and allow you to reap its rewards.

3. Consistency

The first few times you go into cold water your body finds it difficult to adjust. With consistent practice, it becomes easier and easier to get into the water and you find that you’re able to withstand the low temperatures for a longer period of time. The more consistent you are, the greater the benefits you will experience.

Email marketing can also take time, effort and consistency to optimise.

A consistent long-term commitment to an email marketing strategy allows you to build trust, connection and engagement with your audience. If your clients receive high-quality content on the same day, at the same time, each week or each month, you send them a message of reliability and authority which will allow you to see long-term benefits for your business.

4. Pacing

Cold water swimming requires you to pace yourself. There is a fine line between spending enough time in the water to experience the benefits and spending so long in there that you end up with hypothermia!

Email marketing is the same. Your clients have allowed you access to their personal inbox, so overwhelming them with too much content too often could lead to diminishing returns. Pace your campaigns out over time, give your clients enough attention that they feel valued and connected with you but not so much that their inboxes are full of your emails.

Ready to start?

Whether your goals are to give cold water swimming a try or to connect with your clients through their email inbox, the lessons discussed here can give you a solid foundation to build from.

Whilst we can’t help you get started with cold water swimming, we can help you implement an effective email marketing strategy. Get in touch at  or give us a call on 0115 8965 300.

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