I replied, "Say it isn't so…"
Then (duh) I realized: he's done dealing with email… for the day. He just checked it off his list; not checked out forever. And I should have known; who can ever really be "FINISHED" with email, evermore? Email is here to stay, in some form or another.
It's good for email marketers to consider how their customers perceive their inboxes because when you stand in another person's shoes you realize it's the different perspectives of your customers that allow you to build and support a and lively and interesting online community.
Because I'm in the business of email, I see it as an optional, positive tool that makes my personal and business life better. (And it grows your small business too.) But lest you think that all your customers have a love affair with email — and your emails specifically; the "…I'm finished" comment on Twitter drives home how personal inboxes really are. I break it down into two large groups:
Those who enjoy their email and look at their incoming mail with a reassurance that it holds interesting and valuable or at least pertinent content, and
Those who look at their inboxes with dread because they are filled with spam, junk mail, time-wasting messages from work groups they don't even work with, and micromanaging inquisitions from the boss.
If you need convincing how personal email is to different folks, chew on this…
Did you know:
- that a couple of years ago, Nielsen — the huge statistics gathering firm — decided to nix the "reply all" buttton from their internal email options "to eliminate bureaucracy and inefficiency."
- that there are companies and agencies that exist solely to help people segment their email inboxes specifically to give owners the option to bypass emails from marketers, much like the National Do Not Call Registry.
- that younger people are more likely to use direct messaging or instant messaging than email for personal messages. However, the number of young people aged 18 – 29 who use email every day is 64% about as much as all the other age groups.
- that a lot of professionals take email sabbaticals when they vacation or take work breaks; meaning no forwarding to a co-worker, no checking email every few days, nada.
- that some people are strangely attached to their email client; I recently heard a busy professional woman gush, "I love Gmail!"
So the best hope for getting your email be opened and read:
- Keep your list clean. When someone unsubscribes, get him off your list before any more emails go out. Also, prune your list of dead emails, bounces, and non-openers of 6 months or more.
- Match your email groups to the specific landing page from which they sign up so you are sending appropriate messages to your different market segments. Eg. For a title company, a real estate agent would sign up from a different page than a real estate investor's sign up page; and receive different materials best suited to her exclusive interests.
- Ask what your subscriber wants to receive and then follow through.
- Send regular emails. Don't let months go between emails so that you are not completely forgotten by either the inbox filter or your reader.
Truth and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder. Email means different things to different people. To some it's a hassle; to others it's a treasure trove. There are social media fans out there who would love to see email bite the dust…but that's not going to happen any time soon. Otherwise, how would Facebook send you alerts that three friends have birthdays this week? Just saying…