Email marketing is the most abused tool in the workshop. Every day I receive hundreds (yes, you read that right) of emails that do nothing to motivate me to buy. Once a week or so, I sort them by sender to see if anything catches my eye. Here is the typical view from one company:
Day 1: Ends tomorrow! Ship for free & shop specials now.
Day 2: Ends tonight! Last chance for free shipping & specials.
Day 3: Free shipping on top rated favorites you love!
Day 4: Get EXTRA 20% off our online weekend sale!
Day 5: Save more on sale prices at red hot sale!
Day 6: Free shipping + incredible specials: Fall savings start now!
Day 7: Free shipping ends tonight: Now’s the time to shop the Fall sale
Do you notice a trend? It’s hard to miss. This retailer is training me to never pay full price. And that’s only the beginning of the problems:
- The subject lines are boring. Nothing captures my interest or differentiates the message from all of the other retail emails I receive.
- Five of the seven emails were labeled spam because they included top ranked spam triggers. This happens even with white-listed addresses.
- When opened, all of the emails looked alike. There were subtle differences in verbiage and photographs, but not enough to make it interesting.
Compare the previous subject lines to this one from another retailer:
Get a better night’s sleep
The major difference between the two is that I opened the second one when it arrived. (Yes, I could use more sleep. It isn’t the quality; it’s the quantity that’s an issue.) With a reported 47 million people suffering from sleep deprivation, the “better night’s sleep” email is bound to catch more attention than a sale promotion.
I wish that I could say that the sleep email was a home run, but it didn’t make it past first base. When opened, it was a graphic featuring bedding:
Yes, I know that your bedding can affect your sleep, but it wasn’t explained. (Remember the rules – tell them what you’re going to say, say it, tell them what you said.) The email could have been very effective (translation: motivated me to spend money) if it had told a story. It could have begun with the effect sleep depravation has on your health and ended with a call to action for me to place an order.
It would have taken more time to create, but the return would be substantially higher. It could have educated, engaged, and endeared customers to the company. It was a lost opportunity instead.
Before you send your next ho-hum, just another sale email, test drive providing value beyond discounted pricing. Let me know how it works for you. I’m off to delete a bunch of emails.
Email marketing is cool. You create one, send it to your customers and prospects, and they send you money. Yes, that is definitely cool. And, it used to be that easy. Today, it is much harder.
For more information on how to improve your email marketing, read:
And, check out our email marketing playbooks:
You don’t have to be a marketing guru to deliver great email results. Follow the Email Map to increased sales and profitability.