Email marketing – if done correctly – can be a very successful tool to keep people engaged with your company. But the only way to do that is to be extremely cognizant of what your subscribers want and need.
It’s not about what you want to say – it’s about what they want to hear.
Here are 7 email etiquette blunders I come across every day. With a few simple changes to your strategy, you can take me from a disengaged non-reader to an active subscriber that reads your stuff regularly.
1. Stop Sending Me Too Much Information
Here’s the deal – I would love to read your email. But, I have a LOT of emails I’m trying to get through in a short amount of time.
When I open an email that has too much information – I’m out. I won’t read anything. Even if it catches my interest for some reason, the first thing I think is: “I don’t have time for this right now.”
And by too much information, I not only mean it’s too long. What really bothers me is when there are too many choices. A million links to a million different things – you’re making me think way too hard.
But – if you send me a super short email with a golden nugget of information – I’ll read it every time you send me one. I’d rather have a nice concise, short email from you every single day than a long, convoluted email once a week. (Or, God forbid, one of those purchased, cookie cutter monthly emails with a gazillion irrelevant articles!)
2. Don’t Put Your Whole Article In the Email
This plays into the “too much information” idea, but I wanted to separate it out because it’s so important. You don’t have to put your whole article in the email. It makes your email long, and it gives me that same “I don’t have time for this” feeling.
If you give me a compelling snapshot of what your article is about, I’ll be happy to click through to your blog to read the whole article. (Which is where you want me to be anyway – on your website!)
I might be spending the same amount of time as if you put the whole article in the email, but it doesn’t feel like it. It makes me feel good to have a choice if I want to read it or not – I don’t feel like you’re shoving it down my throat.
And there’s another bonus – if I get short, concise snapshots from you, I’ll get a good idea of who you are and the value you provide, even if I don’t click through to read every single article you send me.
3. Your Email Title Means Everything to Me
It’s the deciding factor if I’m going to check mark you for trash before I even open your email or not. Take extra time to create a title that truly encapsulates what information is in the email and why it should matter to me.
Some of you – I won’t name names – have the name of your company as the email title. I don’t really get why you do that. I already know it’s from you from the “from” name.
Lastly – don’t forget about the “preview” text. It can help clarify your subject line (although your subject line should be able to stand alone because I don’t always read preview text). If your preview text says "Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.” you’re wasting a valuable opportunity to entice me to open your email.
4. Don’t Let Your Design Confuse Me
Oh brother, where to start? Side columns, calls-to-actions all over the place, link after link after link of information. Stop! My brain is spinning. I can’t process it all.
If I can’t glance at your email and immediately know what you want me to do, I’m putting you in the trash.
I’m looking for clean, lots of white space – something really easy on my eyes. I want to open your email and within about 1-2 seconds be able to decide if there is something of value to me there or not. I’m online reading all day - my eyes can’t take it all. I need simple, simple, simple.
Take a look at your email – does it pass the blink test?
5. Don’t Make It Too Hard for Me to Share Your Stuff
Ok. I’m trying to be a valuable contributor to discussions on social media. I rely heavily on the emails I get to find nuggets of information I can feel good about sharing with my social connections. I’ve been getting way too many emails lately that don’t have social share buttons on them.
Please make your social share buttons a prominent feature of all your articles and information. If you do, I’ll be more than happy to share them with my network! Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?
6. Make Sure I Can Link to Your Website
As mentioned above, sometimes there are way too many links. On the flip side, some of you are emailing me with NO links to your website. (Or if they’re there, they’re too hard for me to find.)
Humph. What if I want to learn more about you? Please don’t make me have to do a Google search to find you online! That’s just plain crazy.
7. Make it Mobile Friendly
I read your stuff on my phone a lot. What more is there to say?
Seriously, I’m on the hunt for good information. Email is a critical tool to help me find those golden nuggets. There is nothing more I would love to do than read and share your stuff. But you have to make it as easy as possible for me to do that.
If you avoid these email etiquette blunders, it could be a real win-win between you and your email subscribers.