Email marketing is often considered the most effective way to increase awareness and conversions while also increasing acquisition and retention.1
As a marketer, I agree. As a consumer, I recently went on an email unsubscribing blitz. And it felt GOOD. My inbox was too often clogged with emails I just deleted without reading. After a while, all the deleting felt like insanity: why didn’t I just unsubscribe?
As a marketer, I will tell you that email is one of the best ways to keep in touch with your audience.
As a consumer, I will tell you that email is also one of the quickest ways to annoy the heck out of them.
After reflecting, I realized there is a lot of important insight to be gained from those who compelled me to click “unsubscribe” and those who lived to see another day in my inbox.
The three biggest email flaws?
Even if I love a brand, I get very annoyed by receiving daily emails about…nothing.
This is a tough one, because there are studies showing the more emails you send, the better your open rates get. Still, this more-is-more philosophy has to be tempered with an awareness of what you actually want to accomplish with each email and an understanding of what might annoy your audience.
Guilty of this habit? Don’t lose your list due to oversaturation. Provide options. Instead of giving your audience just the choice to be on your list or off it, give them an option for how frequently they want to receive your emails. Keeping someone on your list once a week or once a month is better than losing them.
This often goes hand-in-hand with the frequency of emails. So many companies that email every day have nothing new to say and, as a result, come across as dull.
Other times the boredom factor has nothing to do with frequency, but a succession of yawn-inducing content and subject lines. I see every email as time, and I’m not going to waste my time reading something that doesn’t interest me—even from a brand that I love.
Don’t rely on the fact that the people on your list have asked to hear from you. You need to earn that subscriber with each email, or you’ll lose them.
The email that never gets deleted from my inbox? The Skimm. Every day, The Skimm delivers exactly what it promises in the smart, no-frills format for which it has been so wholeheartedly embraced. Businesses of all types should take note.
Guilty of this habit? Ask yourself a few questions: What is the point of your email? Is there a value to the subscriber? If you find that you are sending emails just to send them, stop. Rework your email strategy until each message has a distinct purpose.
Having too many unread emails gives me anxiety. As a result, I found myself unsubscribing from the list of a company that I actually like, but whose tendency to email me multiple times per day about the same topic had me rolling my eyes.
Another email that didn’t survive the cut: a blog enewsletter that was sent each time a new blog post published. This brand lives on in my Feedly, but my need to unsubscribe served as another reminder for me as a marketer that email needs to deliver unique content in order to maintain and grow a subscriber list.
Guilty of this habit? Even people who love you can unsubscribe. Avoid getting cut by providing unique value that is worth of taking up space in an already cluttered inbox. This might mean fewer emails, but packing more value into each one. Or, it might mean creating unique, email-only content that brings added value to being a subscriber.
Email can go from helpful to annoying if you don’t have a purpose and a plan. Understanding and owning the negative habits you’re guilty of is the first step to developing an email marketing plan that your audience will love.