We put up with a lot of junk in our lives. When it comes to entertainment, we've accepted that we're going to be marketed to. From spectator sports to film and TV, ads are deeply integrated into our culture.
At work, however, we have less tolerance for shameless marketing. Whether it's spam comments on a blog or emails pitching us a miracle pill or a lower insurance rate, our tolerance for ads in the workplace runs generally low.
Most offices have sophisticated spam blockers that keep the email load under control. Estimates vary, but somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of emails sent around the world each day are considered unsolicited spam. Out of a rough average of 300 billion emails sent daily, worldwide, that's between 240 and 270 billion spam emails each and every day.
Among the 30 to 60 billion that remain, more than half of the emails that make it through to our inbox are still marketing emails that we immediately delete.
We're a nation of busy workers. Imagine if you took the time every day to thoroughly read every email that came across your desk. You wouldn't get much done, would you?
So, if you're on the other side of things, hoping to reach your customers with information about a new product or a change in your services, how do you ensure that your message will reach their eyes?
Unfortunately, you don't get a mulligan if you send a spam-like email. Even if a customer initially trusts you and reads your email, if they don't find it worthwhile they'll likely either block your address from future messages or instinctually delete your next outreach. So how do you avoid falling into your recipients' subconscious “delete before reading” list?
- Create Incentives - If you want customers to look forward to your emails, make it worth their while. Offer discounts on inventory or a specific product when they mention the e-newsletter you sent out.
One reality to realize and accept: 10 and 20 percent off discounts no longer cut it for attracting new customers. Groupon and Living Social ruined that for everyone. If you want to bring customers in who wouldn't be there otherwise, you have to give them half-off. Don't worry, that doesn't have to be across the board of your inventory. Find a product or service where you can afford a deep discount and highlight that. People eat up “free” and “half off” like red velvet cake.
- Be Attractive - If you don't know how to create HTML content for your emails, hire someone who does. Online tracking and template providers like Benchmark offer a host of templates that can ease the process and give you professional results. If you rush through your e-newsletter creation, people will immediately overlook your words. There are enough quality, attractive emails coming across our desks that something that appears rushed and sloppy won't get a full read.
- Engage with Worthwhile Content - Sure, the reason you're sending out marketing emails is to generate new business. That's a given. But you can't make it obvious in your outreach. We're hard-wired by ad culture to immediately resist when we feel like we're being sold something.
Instead, be like a skilled retail sales agent. Those that immediately pitch a product to a customer often get brushed off with an, “I'm just looking.” On the other hand, if you provide useful information that's relevant even if the customer chooses not to make a purchase, you'll earn trust. And of course, trust leads to sales.
Instead of just putting all your latest products in your email, offer informative editorial content. Perhaps you sell air purifiers. Instead of opening your email with the facts about your latest and greatest model, why not offer a creative report on the effects of airborne contaminants like pet hair and mold spores? Make it fun.
When sending out marketing emails, take your time, be creative and make your content worthwhile and truly money-saving. Most importantly, think about your own email inbox, considering which emails you delete or read. If you're passionate about the quality of what you're sending out, that will show and your customers will respond.