By Sharon A.M. MacLean
Think email is dead because it’s been around so long? Not true—it’s getting better. In 2012, open rates carrying relevant messages hovered around 40% while SMS or short message services kicked that frequency up to 48%. This past summer 2013, open rates moved to 60% and increased to 72% when prompted by SMS reports Epsilon and Instant Customer. Epsilon bases their quarterly analyses on 6.1 billion emails sent across multiple channels and various industries.
Another marketing leader in SaaS or software as a service—Responsys—drove home the point: “Combine every Facebook update and every Twitter tweet and multiply by 100. That’s still less than 1% of emails sent every day.”
Email: 188 billion messages
Google+: 1 billion items shared
Websites: 3.3 billion searches
Facebooks: 60 million updates
Twitter: 140 million tweets
I agree with Responsys who asks us to, “Imagine if you could increase revenue in this leading channel by 50 to 100%.”
The key is to avoid the temptation of blasting the same message to everyone on your list.
Email is direct and means business. Social media, on the other hand, takes time to foster awareness of your company and brings along those people who are curious about your product or service. And, yes, the networks will help drive visitors to your website where bonus information can be retrieved.
Either way, the mission is to capture the names of those visitors and add them to your email database for you to forge tighter relationships. We also want to avoid the traps that turn people off before you get a chance to know them better. Here’s four reasons why people unsubscribe from permission emails:
• 54% said emails came too frequently
• 49% found the content to be repetitive or boring over time
• 47% received too many emails and decided to downsize
• 25% found the content irrelevant.
I recently coached staff at a storage company who did not want to bother their clients with email updates. Digging deeper into reasons for people storing goods at the facility, we learned their clients wanted a safe and clean place to house their precious keepsakes—maybe a mother’s old, wooden sewing machine, perhaps their old children’s toys. On the business side, their clients were storing inventory that paid business expenses every month.
Their clients cared about their goods being stored and they wanted to hear regularly from their storage company. Yes, their email messages were appreciated.
The key is to keep the information timely and compelling in these ways:
1. Email headline: Keep it short to get attention
2. Focus on the first few words. This is important as more and more email clients display a “preview of your message.”
3. Have a relevant message that is targeted to your audience’s demographic, and offer a call-to-action that will be compelling to them.
4. Send your message at a time when people are reading it: 6 am to 9am.
Email—long live the King.