Why Emails Miss Their Marketing Objectives

email objectivesOnce or twice a week, I sort through hundreds of emails from companies I love, like, or need. Every time, I wonder what the marketers are thinking when they press send. I suspect that there is a prayer on their lips, “please, please, let people respond so I get to keep my job.

I’m looking for personal and interesting. They send promotional and unimaginative. Email marketing has become a numbers game. It begins with acquiring a list of addresses, continues with sending offer after offer, and ends with a pat on the back.

Because it works.

And, it is relatively easy. Very little thinking is actually required.

If you have 100,000 addresses and generate a 3% response with a $50 average order, you’ll generate $150,000 revenue with every outgoing email. All you have to do is change the dates, offer, and graphics to freshen up the look. It’s no wonder that marketing departments have become email-blasting factories.

The quest for immediate sales overshadows long-term email marketing objectives. Customer retention and prospect conversion take a backseat to the instant gratification received from quick responses to promotional offers.

The problem is that ho-hum email marketing sacrifices a company’s future for short-term gains.

While 3% of the recipients are responding to the promotions, 97% are looking for something else. Presuming the company follows best practice opt-in policies, everyone on the list has requested to be included in the email club.

They had a reason to join. Some are there because they want sale promotions. Others want more. They want to be included. They want to be educated. They want to be a part of something bigger. They want a relationship with the company.

Your job as a marketer is to recognize your customers.

They are your friends, your supporters, and your future. They are inviting you into their life when they sign up for your email program. Be a good guest. Start by asking them what they want. Verify that their behavior matches their requests. And, then test different marketing campaigns to find the best one for every customer type.

You can continue to send the sale emails that keep your CFO smiling. We all know how grouchy the numbers guy can get when the money isn’t flowing. Just send them to the people most likely to respond based on previous performance. Then get your creative juices flowing for the rest of your friends and supporters.

For more information on how to improve your email marketing, read:

Email Optimization: How Simple Changes Increase Open Rates, Click Through, Response, & Average Order Size

And, check out our email marketing playbooks:

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