Is your email marketing really as good as you think it is? Because you know whose opinion counts more than yours, right? The opinion of the person on the receiving end counts much more than yours. It doesn’t matter if you’re responsible for the strategic, design, content or tactical parts of that email. Your opinion of how good it is or isn’t is, well, irrelevant.
And it turns out many consumers do have a different opinion, when a mere 21% of them say they received a memorable marketing email in the last 2 months. That’s barely over one-fifth, or 1 in 5 people, saying “Yes, I received a memorable email from a brand recently.” The other 79%, or 4 out of 5 people, are essentially saying, “Nope. Did not receive anything memorable in the last 2 months.”
Maybe people complain of email overload not because us marketers are sending so much email, but because we are sending so much boring, ho hum email.
People, we have a disconnect
In contrast to what consumers think, over half of marketers (51%) say they have sent a memorable email in the last 2 months. By that, they mean that at least one-fifth of their audience would find it memorable. That’s a bit of a disconnect, wouldn’t you say? That over half of these marketers think they’re sending memorable emails and only one-fifth of their audience agrees?
It gets worse: There’s another segment (11%-20%) that believes a whopping 31% of their audience—almost one third—found one of their promotional emails to be memorable in the last 2 months. (With the same disconnect that we’ve already seen, with only 21% of consumers in agreement about this “memorable” part.)
But is the disconnect the issue?
This whole disconnect might not be the problem, however. When you really think about it, what’s pathetic here isn’t this disconnect of marketers thinking they’re sending memorable email when consumers disagree. It’s that so few marketers think so few of their audience finds so few of their emails to be memorable.
We’re talking one email in 2 months, out of how many emails sent? Let’s assume a brand sends two emails per week on average. Over the course of two months, that’s 16 emails. Marketers are essentially saying that maybe, just maybe, one out of those 16 emails was maybe memorable to a small portion of their audience. And they seem to be okay with that. Ouch.
The real problem here is these numbers indicate marketers probably know they’re doing boring email. If they didn’t know or at least suspect it, they would assume far more than a fifth of their audience found the occasional email memorable.
What’s a marketer to do to be memorable?
I suspect fixing this problem will involve more than just making marketers aware that their emails are boring. I think most marketers already know their emails are below par. No, fixing this problem requires a shift in thinking so that there’s a desire to create remarkable email.
Here’s a radical idea: What if a marketer set out to ensure every single email sent would be memorable to at least half of that brand’s audience? What if that kind of email marketing became the new goal or metric, at least temporarily?
That would require a customer centric approach, I admit, and probably a bit of discomfort, as marketers shifted their thinking from “What do we want to send?” to “What do they want to get?” But doesn’t it seem worth it?
This doesn’t have to mean a complete and total (and expensive) revamp of your email marketing program. There are plenty of email marketing best practices that can be adapted to improve your email and your results. For example, see nine easy ways to improve any email marketing program.
But it does mean thinking from the end—meaning what ends up in the consumer’s inbox. What do they want to get? It’s not hard to find out. As a starting point, testing will tell you a lot. Maybe an email only needs a better subject line to be memorable, or to render well on mobile, or more compelling imagery. Perhaps the offer needs to change, or the call to action needs spicing up.
Any number of factors can be tweaked to make email memorable. Your job is to figure out what memorable means to your audience, then make those tweaks, and to keep testing and improving until most of your audience finds your emails to be above average. And then what happens? Your emails stand out in the inbox, and your audience starts to anticipate them as they await the next memorable message.
They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Your audience is the beholder and chances are your emails aren’t beautiful to them. Make email memorable in their eyes, and they will reward you.