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Dearest null: Why don’t you like us?

How do you encourage someone to open your email newsletter and then click through to your website? You need to be smart about engaging your audience and understanding what makes them click. Here are 10 email marketing tips from one who receives your newsletter. Every Monday morning, I’m Null. At least, that’s what one email marketer calls me. It’s hard not to be just a little offended. The dictionary definition of Null is not very flattering: At best, I have no legal or binding force. At worst, I amount to nothing. Zero. Oh, I try not to take it personally. It’s just a silly marketing mistake. Yet there it appears, week after week, month after month, in my email box.

Bad data, yes. But lazy email marketing too.

I subscribe to a ton of newsletters, and most are ones I’m genuinely interested in reading. But I’m surprisingly disappointed in many that come my way. Sometimes, I wonder if the marketers behind these emails are really thinking about me or only about how great their businesses are.

So from an avid email newsletter reader – one who wants to hear from you – here are 10 mistakes you’re making with your email marketing that are causing readers like me to hit the delete key.

  1. Hello Good Data. In some ways, it feels unfair to criticize the quality of email lists. I know how difficult it can be to have clean data. But really, you can’t fix Null? You have two options: clean your data periodically or set your email campaign to recognize when the name field is blank and use a neutral yet more pleasant salutation.
  2. Didn’t I just get an email from you? Some marketers hawk their wares to me on a daily basis. If you’re going to email me every day, send me information that educates me. I’m not interested in sales circulars. And really, once a week is plenty.
  3. Wow, it has been a while since I heard from you. Then there are those who email me once in a blue moon. Their content is really, really good, but it’s not regular, and I can’t count on it. Again, once a week is perfect.
  4. Who are you? I love a good mystery. But how I got on the email list of the state comptroller, I’ll never know. I don’t consult for the government, and I don’t live or work in your state. Please, email me only if I have a real interest in what you do.
  5. Why would I drive three states to save $20? Frankly, I’m puzzled. One restaurant chain sends me coupons for their establishments – hundreds of miles away! Every day. I’m only interested in local savings. Segment your list by geography first and then email only what’s relevant.
  6. You didn’t have me at hello. I need to get through at least a hundred emails a day (and I don’t think I’m alone). That means that I spend no more than a half a second looking at your subject line. So what happens if you use the same one for every email you send me or if it doesn’t stop me in my tracks? Yep. Delete.
  7. I just keep scrolling! You may be the very prolific producer of great quality content, but if every piece is clumped together in one email, I won’t read it. I’ve got too many other things to do right at the moment. The best way to distract me from real work is to write short, snappy content that makes me want to click through to the other side.
  8. What was that all about? Snappy is good, but it can also be bad. Don’t tell me that “Facebook has changed!” and you have the answer. Tell me what change Facebook made. Give me a bit more detail. Geez. Facebook changes every day. Tell me why I should open up your email.
  9. Now I feel dirty. No one likes the smarmy used car salesman. Yes, you should exude confidence. But don’t be a slap-on-the-back, no-one-else-can-help-you-like-me, know-it-all. Yuck. I want someone I can relate to. Someone I can trust. Those brands that feel like they’re about to take advantage of me, probably are. Be real and authentic – and don’t try to sell me on how great you are with every sentence.
  10. ZZZZZZ. I’m only half a paragraph into your email and already I need a nap. It’s too long-winded or just not relevant. Don’t be dull. Share something that’s interesting to me, and I’ll keep reading.

Email marketers who work hard to connect with their readers and who understand their needs will be the ones to master the art of the click. That’s the trick: don’t be lazy.

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