Email marketing deserves its bad reputation

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It’s maddening, checking your email first thing on a Tuesday morning and finding a couple of dozen emails you didn’t ask for, a handful that you sort of asked for but don’t really want, and two that you actually need but have been sucked into your much-needed spam filter along with a hundred poorly-written, auto-generated pages of gibberish.

It’s not that email marketing is inherently wrong (after all, if we thought that, it’d raise some awkward questions about our career choices), but there’s a lot of bad practice and it brings us all down by association. It’s not what we’re doing that needs to change - it’s how we’re doing it.

Who are you targeting?

Please tell us you’re targeting someone. Too many campaigns are focused on lead generation, and are executed too clumsily: sending cold messages to everyone on a bought or hired list of email addresses almost never works. You need to curate the list and construct the content - make sure you’re sending actual content to people who are actually interested in it. Know your target demographics, encourage people to opt in so your list builds itself, and send them something that’s more than a blunt invitation to transact with you, a total stranger.

What are you sending?

There are all sorts of things you can put in a marketing message, but best practice isn’t only about what you say; it’s about how you say it. Poor writing will shoot the best-planned campaign in the foot, an incoherent and inconsistent layout looks like you’re making it up as you go along, and the less said about cheesy, message-bloating images, animations and sound the better. (43% of your targets won’t even see them. That should be enough to put you off.)

How are you sending it?

What’s the most vexing thing about marketing emails? Is it the number we receive, or the frequency? Most consumer email addresses receive fewer than twenty messages per day, but of those, ten or eleven will be promotional. The rate of delivery gradually declined over the last year, with most companies making contact four or five times a month. The lesson here is not to overdo it when messaging your customers - a weekly newsletter is a better bet than a daily invitation. Business-to-business is a trickier prospect - business accounts receive more than a hundred and twenty messages per day, but those messages are still being read by a person - email fatigue is more likely here, so the campaign needs to be more controlled.

Whoever you’re targeting, though, there are some basic habits it’s wise to get into. Only send valuable content - emailing for the sake of it doesn’t make a good impression. Validate your mailing list - make sure you’re addressing people who want to be addressed. Stay out of the spam filter - don’t send too much, or too often.


Best practice like this is needed to turn email marketing’s reputation around. Give Winbox a call on 0117 379 0044 or drop an email to make sure your campaign’s one of the good ones.