A recent survey of more than 180 marketers from around Europe found that many don't understand if their email is really making into the inbox or if it is being junked or lost in space. Email marketing firm Return Path shows that marketers have not been quite diligent in making good on the definition of delivered.
It looks like 39% think that if the email didn't bounce and was sent just fine, it was also delivered. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the report, Return Path states:
[–] Email marketers generally know that hitting "send" is not enough to ensure messages actually reach the inbox and appear in subscriber's inboxes as they intended (called "rendering"). The majority of survey respondents (61%) believe that some messages may be blocked by ISPs.
Marketers tend to be most concerned about the largest ISPs, like BT, Free.fr, Neuf, Orange and T-Online, but the truth is that nearly every ISP, from the largest to the smallest, employs filtering technology to protect their customers from spam messages.
However, more than one in three email marketing managers are woefully ignorant of this reality–26% say they do not believe messages get blocked at all and 12% just didn't know.
If that email was coming to my inbox, we have firewall filters, spam filters we can set up at individual account level, and of course we also have the delete key. As Sonia Simone writes at Copyblogger, this happens because most bulk email marketing is just plain selfish.
Indeed I've seen it all, from titles in all caps screaming at me–no doubt the brilliant idea of someone who thought it would break through the clutter–to tricky html that freezes my Lotus Notes mail (note to all marketers that do that, test your email with different systems, don't assume).
Email is such a personal thing, still. In many cases it's still the place where most work gets done in organizations–sacred territory. Even when you obtain permission to send messages, if they're not relevant and valuable over time, you're out.
I send a monthly email newsletter and read each and every request to unsubscribe to get a better idea of the reasons why–in some cases people move on to other responsibilities and don't need your information anymore, for example.
In other cases, your email is boring–it's all about you and not about how the reader will be smarter, better, more effective from reading it. People are smarter these day, they use email services like Otherinbox, which will allow you to have disposable email addresses–a nice cure for spammers.
What's the solution?
Writing a non-sucky email would be a good start. Take for example that of Colleen Wainwright–when you sign up, you're directed to more resources immediately, I checked out the one for small business owners.
Having a nice offer helps–something unique, useful, that people cannot get elsewhere. To get noticed in the first place, you'd need to make it through the various spam filters–even the human ones–and get out of the bulk box.
When you get into the inbox, what makes people read your email? It depends.
- For many it could be brevity–a good example of that is the McKinsey Newsletter with one main article per email. Good design helps, but keep it clean.
- For others, especially really busy people, it could be your ability to edit and filter content for them. A good example of that is the SmartBrief newsletters, which are the work of solid editors.
MarketingProfs offers a range of email newsletters–from the more content-centric, to the more offer-centric. What else? What's your experience?
My questions to you:
- Are you doing email marketing? If so, what has worked for you?
- And conversely, what email marketing tactics have worked on you?
- Can you share some examples of email newsletters you like and why?
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