I certainly would not classify myself as the average email consumer. A big part of my job involves email marketing. I subscribe to hundreds of email lists and am constantly critiquing emails. (Note: I use Gmail filters to label and auto-archive most messages.) Friends, family, acquaintances, clients, industry peers, and co-workers send me dozens of emails asking for feedback. Some forward messages with notes like, "Wow! Can you believe this one?"
63% of All Email Marketing Messages Suck
To be clear, I'm referring to just those that end up in my inbox (i.e., not spam). Doing the quick math (100-63) means that 37% "don't suck." Yes, I made up those numbers, but stick with me -- the percentage doesn't matter as much as the reasons why.
I'd argue that most email marketing messages suck because of one or more of the following reasons: Laziness. Lack of education. Human error.
The first one is inexcusable. The second keeps me employed. The third I can forgive.
Let's break them down.
This is the one that drives email folks (snobs) like my peers and me batty, with emails that:
There is no excuse for any of the above. The information (best practices) is well-documented and easily accessible, often free.
Eliminate laziness today.
Lack of Education
Remember, information on the basic, intermediate, and even "advanced" email marketing techniques is widely available for free. Blog posts, articles, webinars, conferences, and tweets provide content to ensure you're successful. (If you are new to your job as an email marketer, you may have a steep learning curve.) Challenge your email service provider to help make you a better email marketer. Push your client service manager to work with you to get the most juice out of your email marketing campaigns.
To err is human. We've all sent that "oopsy" email. We've all hit send, only to have our boss (yikes!) forward you the email that went out to 1.4 million folks with a spelling or grammar error - or (oh no!) a bad link. As they say, "stuff" happens.
Now, if every third email you send has a spelling error or "Enter subject line here" as your subject line, it may be time to find a new gig. However, an occasional human error makes us just that: human. Don't fret about it too much. I can promise you that every single email marketer makes at least one "mistake" in his or her career. We do this for a living at Blue Sky Factory, and even we make mistakes.
Get over it. Move on.
3 Steps to Ensure Your Email Marketing Messages Don't Suck
Write these down on a post-it and keep them by your computer. Trust me.
1. Don't be lazy. Think before you hit send. Test. Do a spelling/grammar check. Show your email to a friend or co-worker before sending.
2. Educate yourself. Attend email marketing webinars and conferences. Read blogs. Challenge your client service manager to help make you a better marketer.
3. Learn from your mistakes. We're all going to make them. Get over it. Move on.
Finally, remember there is a 37% chance that your email marketing messages will not suck. The good news is that you have the power to be in the minority. You have the power to move the needle. What are you waiting for?