Unsubscribing to Bad Email Practices
by Angie Ash, Executive Vice President
Toward the end of 2018, as I was going through my morning email, it struck me how much “junk” email I had been accumulating. Not spam, these were emails I had opted into receiving, some delusional, like the notion that someday I’ll actually win HGTV’s dream house giveaway. (Insert loud laughter here). I didn’t realize how many “partner” emails I had actually agreed to receive by entering contests such as these. Eventually they piled up along with other emails I had agreed to receive until I took the action to finally unsubscribe after realizing I just didn’t have the time or even the inclination to read them all. It felt good to make this a daily practice for a few minutes every morning, Marie Kondo-ing my inbox. Today, even though I can’t tell you the emails I receive each day currently “spark joy” either, at least I’m in control of what I receive and don’t when possible.
My point in all this, though, is that YOU, as a retailer, manufacturer, or designer, don’t want your customers to take the action I did. Unsubscribing should always be a minimal effect to the communication you send out. Email is an undeniably effective and very inexpensive way to get your marketing messages in front of your customers. That’s one of the main reasons all the places you like to shop are reaching out to you in this way, too. You should think of your emails as digital direct mail pieces without postage expense and paper waste, taking care in their crafting.
Here are a few tips to making sure your emails resonate with your customers:
1. Craft a strong subject line. I can’t emphasize the importance of this enough. Consumers receive numerous emails every day, sometimes hundreds for one reason or another. A strong subject line is going to be what stops them in their tracks and makes them take note and open the email. Consider making a strong statement, asking a question or using an emoji in your subject line to make yours stand out. In addition, unless you’re segmenting your email lists and crafting one for a male and one for a female, avoid subject lines that speak to just one audience.
2. Keep your emails short and to the point. You shouldn’t be writing a book, or making your reader scroll. Make the content highly visual with a click-through to see details or more product. For example, consider the main message of your email to be the front of your direct mail postcard. All of the important info should be on the actual email. Date, name of event, special savings, and the like. The landing page is where you should list the extra details, mention expanded inventory and list disclaimers. Don’t forget to check how your emails display on smart phones in the testing phase.
3. Don’t over email. Unless you have an e-commerce site you’re using all the time as such, you should be limiting your emails to no more than one a week and that’s only if you have enough events to warrant that level of frequency. Another reason to send out more would be to promote holiday sales or events or an inventory reduction sale. If you’re not planned for an event such as this, 2 emails a month is sufficient. Too many emails equal unsubscribes.
4. If possible, when acquiring emails from your customers, ask which email address is best. Many people have more than one account. Understand that if you send an email to a work email address that actually allows personal emails, there is a higher likelihood your emails may get deleted or at best opened later in the day when the morning’s priorities have been addressed. Make your signup area on your website easy to see or consider utilizing this area as a pop-up instead. If you opt for the latter, entice the person on your site to provide their email address so they don’t automatically hit the x to make the pop-up go away. An example is Become an [XYZ] insider and get [list a benefit to subscribing].
5. Regularly test your emails for the best time to send. This should not be a one and done effort. Habits may change based on time of year, such as holidays or even seasons. Your customer list should also always be changing as new customers sign up, so plan to test your email deployment times quarterly and make any necessary adjustments.
Put these tips into practice and regularly evaluate your email strategy. Even with the rapid pace of technology, email is a viable and effective way to communicate to your customers. Use it wisely!
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