I’ll admit it- I’m opinionated. On occasion, too opinionated for my own good. But in the case of email marketing, I can be silent no more. There are email injustices in the world that need to be rectified! Not unlike most things in life, there is etiquette to be followed for email marketing. The goal of inbound marketers is to “make marketing that people love’, instead of irritating and interrupting prospective customers with bad manners. Frequently when sorting though my email I experience a feeling much like the guy in this meme. That face is resounding- “Are you serious?” Have no fear, I am here to guide the world to better email marketing by addressing a few of my personal email etiquette pet peeves.
Bad Subject Lines
Subject lines should be informative and creative. You have 60 (or less on a mobile device) characters to entice an open. In fact, on my laptop, where I do a majority of my computing, I view a maximum 30 characters of any given subject line. You have this tiny piece of real estate, a minute opportunity to be interesting enough to invoke your customer to open the email you sent. Make it good. Unless you send a monthly or quarterly newsletter please don’t call it “[insert brand name] update’. Give a little glimpse of what the update is about. List a few topics highlighted or the featured material. If you must add the “[insert brand name] update’ put it at the end. The consumer should know who an e-mail is from by the sender’s e-mail address. In my not-so-humbled opinion, adding the brand name to the subject line is an unnecessary waste.
Same Subject Too Soon
You are having a sale? I had no idea. It’s not like you have emailed me about it 73 times this week. Stop with the spam. Try to be subtle. Once or twice is enough. Utilize other marketing platforms. If your customer subscribed to your email list they are probably following you on social media, share it there too instead of repeat emails. I promise sending too many sales pitches or sale announcements will get your e-mails deleted, your mailing lists unsubscribed from or worse your e-mails sent to spam folders. Be polite, use your email list wisely and don’t over do it.
Yes, nothing. I receive regular blog update from a large, well-known marketing group that sends emails consisting of almost nothing. The subject line is the new blog article title and the content- that same title with a link to the post. That’s it. No brief description, no related CTA, not even an image. Nothing. It really irks me. I guess they align with the ‘less is more” philosophy, but from my perspective it’s a mistake. As a consumer, I desire something to draw me in. Why should I read this new post in my inbox? From a marketing standpoint, every email sent is an opportunity to market effectively and wholly. While I don’t think you should fill an email with sales pitches and flashing CTA buttons, you should take advantage of the opened email to offer something of value to your customer. Even if they don’t click through, your customer should feel that the open was worth their time and maybe even peak their interest enough to save the email for later.
I read my email all over the world, sure most of the time I’m on the couch but I go places and I check my email on-the go quite often. I’m not alone, 61% of consumers now read at least some of their emails on a mobile device. 56% of adults in America own a smartphone. Also, depending on your customer demographic that number could be even higher. So the question is: why in the world would a company NOT optimize their email for mobile devices? WHY?! You better believe if an email doesn’t open on my phone it doesn’t get read. Optimize, people! It’s not hard. This is 2013 people- its time your emails were mobile-friendly.
This is purely preference and I have little factual evidence that an image is necessary element of an effective email, but I have found that many people agree. I personally am a very visual creature; I search high and low for the perfect image for my emails and blog posts. I expect the same courtesy from the brands that attempt to engage me. The thing about images is that they do a far better job in conveying the essence of your article than the email’s title or even opening sentences. What happens is that people first look at the picture; if it sparks interest they move on to the text or click through, knowing what they are about to read. A compelling image is an easy hook. Even if you don’t choose the right picture, this will create curiosity among visitors and they might end up checking the article, just to see what you meant. You can’t go wrong with adding an image to your email.
I think I covered the important etiquette points without going over board. Like I said, the goal of any marketing is to be loveable. Create valuable content and deliver it in an engaging fashion and your email marketing will be well received. If not, your marketing e-mails will be subject the wrath of irritated customers. Be sure to integrate these important tips into your e-mails, increase your open rate and please your audience with out instigating pet peeves.