Those of us of a certain age can remember the excitement of the computerized voice saying "You've got Mail!" when a new message hit our inboxes in the early 90s. Back then, we read our emails. Sure, many of them were chain messages from our aunts or links to the Hamster Dance, but the idea of getting email was novel and exciting.
Not so in the 2010s. Now, our inboxes are bursting with messages from every business at which we’ve made an online purchase, signed up for a coupon code, or even considered purchasing throw pillows.
Full inboxes are the new normal. Some larger companies send as many as five messages to the same individual a day. Yet, with MailChimp reporting average marketing email open rates ranging between 17–29%, it’s clear that many of those messages aren’t making it to the bulk of a company’s audience.
While there’s virtually no way to achieve a 100% open rate (unless your mailing list consists solely of your mom), there are some easy fixes to strengthen your messages. Over time, the better your content, the more likely your subscribers are to open your email instead of sending it straight to the trash in their quest for “inbox zero.”
Here are five mistakes you might be making in your email campaigns and ways to fix each:
1) Not including a clear call to action.
If you're sending an email, you have a goal in mind (if you don't, you should!). Whether you want subscribers to read your latest article or take advantage of an offer, make sure you include a clear call to action that entices the reader to click. You might try something like including the first few sentences of a blog post with a button that says "finish reading".
2) Using too many exclamation points.
I'll admit it: I'm often a culprit of exclamation point mania. The mark has become such a mainstream part of our text, social media, and email saturated culture. Unfortunately, spam filters are just waiting to flag emails that overuse this particular punctuation mark. Trust your words to demonstrate enthusiasm and use exclamation points sparingly for better results. Instead of ending every paragraph (or sentence) with an exclamation point, choose 1–2 really impactful spots and rely on tone words to do the rest.
3) Making your copy too long.
No doubt about it, writing concise content is tricky. But with attention spans getting shorter by the moment, it really pays off. Remember, your email is a vehicle to drive subscribers to your website or to call you for more information. Make sure to use content blocks wisely to break up sections in a longer newsletter. You can also use bullet points where appropriate to break out key points. Whatever you do, avoid long blocks of text—people won't read them, especially if they are checking email on their phones.
4) Not writing your emails in a voice and style that matches your brand.
There's a tendency to get sales-y or super formal when it comes to email marketing, but it doesn't often work in your favor. The more real you are in your emails, the more your subscribers will want to connect with you. Be sure to let your organization's personality shine through, even if it the tone is a little more casual.
5) Not offering customer-friendly content.
Make sure that when you craft your email messages you keep your audience in mind. If you're a yoga instructor, maybe your followers would love pointers on form for a pose. If you sell home decor, how about linking to a blog post about how a few ways they can style their homes with the new line of rugs you're offering? This type of customer-focused content builds affinity for your brand and over time makes people more likely to open and read your messages.