I get a lot of emails, work ones, social ones and lots that promise millions of dollars via the Ugandan lottery or assistance with various bedroom activities. Lotteries and Viagra aside, I don’t mind receiving these emails, I signed up for most of them and it’s easy enough to delete what I don’t want. The trouble is, that not a lot of them are that interesting on a regular basis.
When I have time I read some, if they come in at the wrong time, I delete them, and if I get one that demands me to interact or be unsubscribed, I’m happy to stop receiving it. It's a situation that needs some work - and the onus is firmly on the sender to help us move beyond "it's complicated" to "in a relationship"
So without further ado, here are my thoughts on how to create and send emails that actually interest your audience.
If you don’t have something to say… This is probably my biggest bugbear, the promotional/marketing/newsletters that arrive amidst a fanfare of nothing in particular. It feels like the sender just isn’t generating enough relevant content for the frequency of email they have chosen. Top tip here is to cut back and reduce the amount of emails you send until you are comfortable that each one is valuable to the reader and not just stuffed with “filler”. If that means you are only sending out half as many emails, why not tell your subscribers – who wouldn’t approve of being told they will get less email communication from you, but what they do get will be of a higher quality!
Timing & regularity – Almost everyone we send emails to is busy and is probably receiving loads of emails every day. Your email could be stuffed with value but if it arrives at the wrong time, no one will read it. A contact of mine told me that based on 62 interactions, he knew that I would be most likely to interact with his companies emails on Friday at 3pm – guess what time I now receive those emails? Top tip – there are lots of tools out there that can help you work out the best time to send your emails – use them and see your interactions soar. Even if you don’t want to go to granular level, you can still use your full data set to find the best time to send to your audience.
Segmenting your audience – how many people are on your list? 100? 1,000? 10,000? Odds are that you have built up a decent list over the years, but are you sending the same emails to everyone every week? If you are then you are missing a trick. Top tip – you probably have data such as job title or location or seniority, use it to segment your email lists. A chief executive of a large company will have different interests from a graduate trainee at the same company so why not send them different content?
Relevance & understanding – This is really a subset of the point above, once you have segmented your lists, spend some time understanding the different interests and needs of your audience and then take the time to demonstrate that understanding via your email communications.
Language and tone – (or don’t get me started on this one) this is partially down to good segmentation and understanding of your audience but from a personal point of view, I don’t want an email that starts with the sort of quirky chatty intro that you might use to engage a 13 year old; or one of those opening paragraphs that says – “I made 25 million in six weeks and you can too” Top tip – try to gain an understanding of how the people you communicate, communicate! If your content is of a serious nature and you are emailing businesses, please drop the chatty moron style of writing!!
Finally – and this will help with all of the above – use the right metrics, you might have a 30% open rate, but if no one clicks you are wasting your time. You might have a 12% click rate, but if 99% of them bounce, you are wasting your time. Work out the purpose of your emails and use a metric based on achieving that purpose, track, test, segment and learn from the results. Email is still a very powerful tool, but if you don’t use it right, you won’t get far…..