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When you open your email inbox in the morning, what do you see?
If you’re like most people, you probably notice a few dozen new messages related to your job or your business — and dozens more emails that are pure marketing fluff.
The average person receives more than 100 emails per day. Marketing emails are, occasionally, insightful or valuable in a unique way. But more often than not, they’re a source of unnecessary additional clutter in an inbox that’s already overflowing. In other words, most marketing emails are annoying.
That might be hard to accept. If most marketing emails are annoying and yours aren’t truly exceptional, the reality is that most of your marketing emails are not serving any real purpose.
So how can you fix them?
Related: What Makes Copy Persuasive?
Why marketing emails are annoying
Most marketing emails aren’t hitting their target for the following reasons.
Volume and frequency
One of the most common reasons for annoyance is the sheer volume and frequency of these emails. Nobody likes to open their inbox to see 75 new messages, especially if most are a waste of space. If you see many emails from the same company, you’re going to be even more annoyed.
Writing a compelling subject line will boost your open rates. If you keep your message concise, imply some value and pique interest with a little bit of mystery, you can increase open rates and therefore increase the return on your investment for this strategy. The problem is that most marketing strategists have hijacked this concept and others to try and manipulate user behavior with transparently sales-driven tactics. In other words, their subject lines and email positioning strategies are annoying because they’re only devised in pursuit of getting more clicks and conversions.
Lack of real value
When marketing emails have substantial value behind them, people aren’t annoyed — in fact, they’re usually pleased. It’s only when the email has little to no measurable value that they begin to get irritated.
Similarly, people tend to get upset when they’re bombarded with messages full of irrelevant content. For example, teenage girls don’t want to hear about offers for hair regrowth, and middle-aged men don’t want to hear about new makeup tutorials. If the content is a bad fit, almost nothing can redeem it.
How to fix your marketing emails
So what steps can you take to fix your email marketing strategy and stop annoying your potential customers?
Pare down your frequency
Experts agree that for most email marketing strategies, two emails per month is plenty to start seeing results. Assuming you have substantial value to continue adding, you can email weekly or a couple of times per week. Oftentimes, when marketers notice their email strategies failing to bring results, their intuition is to increase the frequency of messaging. However, it’s sometimes better to increase the quality of your messaging and reduce the number of messages you send.
Prioritize authenticity and sincerity
Certain optimization tricks can help you get more opens, clicks and conversions, but for the most part, you should prioritize authenticity and sincerity. If your messages are more authentic and less manipulative, people will appreciate your messages more. This is especially true in an era marked by increased levels of consumer distrust in both mainstream institutions and businesses.
Provide measurable value
Every message you send to your audience should provide value in some way. You might be notifying interested customers about an upcoming product. You might be offering a discount or a new package deal. You could even offer entries into a sweepstakes. The point is, people won’t find your emails intrusive or annoying if there’s something valuable in each message.
Improve audience targeting: Audience targeting and list segmentation should be high priorities in your email marketing strategy, and this is important at several levels. For starters, you should be segmenting your email lists and collecting data on your subscribers so you can refine those lists and better understand your target audience. From there, you should be designing and sending emails that are specifically made for each audience segment. It’s also important to measure the impact of these audience-centric messages so you can get a feel for whether your messages are as relevant for your audience as you think they are.
Even after you apply all of these tactics, there’s a good chance at least some of your subscribers will still find your emails annoying. There’s simply no way to make everyone happy all of the time. But these unhappy subscribers can unsubscribe at any time, and your remaining subscribers will be much more interested in the emails you send regularly.
With that in mind, these tips should increase the value and measurable return on investment (ROI) of your email marketing strategy.