For most brands, the email marketing process goes a little something like this: Build some solid email content that supports your brand or industry, generate sign-ups for your contact list via promotions and outreach, and then sit back and watch as the conversions come rolling in when these messages end up in the inbox. Unfortunately, what most brands and marketers alike don’t understand is that there’s a hidden step found within this basic overview that’s often overlooked and exceedingly vital to the success of your email campaign; confirming that your readers actually take a moment to view your message content. To ensure that you’re not stumbling over this point in the process, let’s explore the issue from every angle and look into the best ways to boost your reach and impact in the inbox.
The Cold Hard Facts
At first glance, it seems like the answer to this whole dilemma is pretty simple. After all, monitoring open rates is as good as confirming that the reader actually read your content, right? Not exactly. As the experts at TechnologyAdvice explain in “Do Your Subscribers Read Your Emails?” – a research paper that delves into the cold hard facts surrounding the big picture response to email marketing practices – the truth is that while 60 percent of surveyed adults confirm that they read emails from businesses, this state can be a little misleading.
The reality of the situation is that only about 16 percent actually read these offerings on a regular basis, and 43 percent confirm that their consumption of marketed content falls into the “rare” category. Adding in the 57 percent of respondents who look over between zero and 25 percent of the average email further proves that getting an open is one thing, but actually having your content make an impact is an entirely different matter.
What’s the Problem?
For the regular readers of this blog, right about now you’re probably thinking, “But wait, aren’t you always explaining how email marketing is the best tool for reaching out to customers on the web?” As the report from TechnologyAdvice goes on to point out, it’s not a problem with email marketing itself, but rather the application of this powerful tool. The main issues hindering most brands from uncovering the true potential of email content occurs on two fronts. First, 43 percent of those polled would like businesses to cut down on the frequency of these marketed messages, while 48 percent would also like to see more informative email content and less advertising or sales “fluff.”
Breaking the Trend and Regaining Control of the Inbox
With a better understanding of the issues facing email marketing efficiency, and a proper overview of the current inbox environment, reacting appropriately starts taking on a much clearer shape. To address the first problem regarding email frequency, Matthew Collis of The Huffington Post suggests saying goodbye to quantity and embracing quality. Instead of inundating your contact list into oblivion and earning a one-way ticket to the trash folder, focus on sending the right message, to the right people, at the right time. It might seem a little awkward at first to potentially email your customers half, or even a quarter of the times you normally would, but giving these valued audience members what they want starts with doing so on their terms and according to their schedule.
As for what constitutes the right message, Collis goes on to explain that following a simple line of thought on behalf of the viewer (What’s in it for me?) can help your creative design and development process rebound and regain the attention of these readers. Just like the question implies, reviewing your offerings and figuring out just what, if any, benefits your contact list can gain from this content can ensure that you distill the message into one that embodies value and limits filler and “salesy” selections completely.
Additionally, it never hurts to have a subject line that stands out in a crowded inbox. Teasing out the value held within the message – in a manner that’s as short and as sweet as possible – is a good rule of thumb to keep in mind as you craft these headlines. However, if you have another idea for a subject line that seems like it might pop off the screen, don’t be afraid to do a little testing with segments of your audience. When combined with the rest of what you’ve learned about how and why consumers actually read emails, this tool is sure to help get your campaign into its rightful spot as a powerhouse within the inbox.