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Strategy

Create Emails Customers Actually Want to Read

The average office worker receives 121 emails a day, with an open rate of 34% . Your task, if you wish to accept it, is to be part of that limited stat

Lauren Dowdle
June 16 2017

With communications flowing in from work, friends, companies and, of course, spammers, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that  45.8% of responders say the main reason people unsubscribe from emails is because they receive too many.

Some of the other reasons include that they didn’t purposefully subscribe (36.4%), the content is irrelevant (31.6%) and the email was impersonal (10.4%).

There’s a fine line between providing valuable information and coming across as spam — and it’s becoming even finer as consumers grow more adept at spotting a fishy sales pitch a mile away.

So, how do you cut through the noise and make sure your messages are reaching your customers?

Send the Right Number of Emails

Email marketing isn’t an exact science, as I’m sure you know, but there are ways to increase its success — and that starts with figuring out how many emails to send your customers.

Send them too many, and they’ll quickly hit the “unsubscribe” button. On the other hand, if you’re not emailing them enough, you lose a chance to interact and engage— and they might even forget about you.

It’s all about finding that sweet spot where you’re giving customers just the right amount of communication.

That number varies from business to business, but the majority of marketers send two to three emails a month. And when subscribers were asked how many they want to receive, the top answers were “at least monthly” and “at least weekly.”

Decide what number works best for your brand by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How often do we have valuable information to share?
  • Do our read rates go up or down when we send emails more often?
  • How is the unsubscribe rate affected by our send rate?

Sending your emails at the same day and time can also let customers know when they can expect to see them.

Give Customers Options

When you give customers the opportunity to decide what type of emails they receive from you, you’re showing them you want to provide valuable information. Not only does that decrease the chance of your email appearing as spam, but it also helps you better target the customer — which will increase their engagement and brand loyalty.

For example, ask them (through a survey, email, form, etc.) what type of information they’re interested in receiving. Options could include sales, company updates, blogs, giveaways or upcoming events.

Allowing customers to choose the type of emails they receive will also help increase your open, read and click-through rates because you’re giving them what they actually want. You can also ask them how often they’d like to receive messages to better tailor their experience.

Put Quality Over Quantity

Imagine having a customer mailing list of 100,000. That might be a dream for smaller companies. But if only 10 percent of those are actually looking at your emails, is that list number really something to be proud of? As a reference, industry standards aim for an open rate of 20 to 30 percent.

It can be hard for some marketers, but unsubscribing unresponsive customers or sending them an email letting them know they’ll be unsubscribed if they don’t interact with your messages can help greatly.

Making those cuts will improve your email analytics and even help keep your messages from being labeled as spam by email services. So, forget having an “impressive” mailing list and focus on creating an engaged one.

Make it Personal

Another important way of ensuring your customers don’t dismiss your content as spam is by making the messages personal. That includes the subject line, who it’s addressed to, the message and even who it’s from.

Think about this: Personalized marketing emails receive 27-percent higher unique click rates and 11-percent higher open rates over impersonalized messages .

Start with a subject line that sounds personable, along with a “from” line that is the company’s name or (even better) a person’s name. You can address them directly in the email body — no “to whom it may concern” stuff. If you do that, make sure you test the email so you don’t end up with “Hi FIRST NAME.”

End the email with one of your team member’s names and contact information, so they feel encouraged to engage.

Keep Emails Inbox-Friendly

Your customers aren’t the only ones who can flag your emails as spam. Their inboxes have a knack for that as well. And once you end up in the spam folder, it’s difficult to get back out.

If you’re new to email marketing or are too small, that can count against you until you’re able to build up your reputation. You’ve got to prove yourself to the online world, so make sure your emails don’t raise flags with spam-worthy phrases (ex. FREE!).

Sending your emails from a reputable site, like MailChimp, will also make your communications look more reputable. You can also ask your customers to add your email address to their address book to keep it out of their spam folder.

Another option is to ask customers to opt into your emails by sending a welcome message with a link they can click. Any way you can encourage people to validate your emails is a plus.

By being mindful of how many emails you’re sending and the quality of those emails, you can reduce the chance of your messages ending up in customers’ spam folders, or worse, straight in the trash.

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Lauren Dowdle

Lauren Dowdle is an award-winning writer and magazine editor based in Nashville, Tenn. Her nearly decade-long writing career has covered everything from landscaping to marketing — plus being interviewed by Jay Leno and winning a backhoe-operating contest. When she’s not behind the keyboard, you’ll find her spoiling her four furry babies and exploring the city with her husband.

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