Thursday, February 17, 2011

5 Reasons Why People Drop Like Flies From Your Email List

It's a bad sign when my Blackberry sends me alerts that I'm running low on memory. I can thank my in-box for sucking up space. As a result, I went through my in-box and cleaned out old emails. Not only did I delete emails, but I unsubscribed from email lists that just didn't do it for me anymore. 

As I hit the"unsubscribe" button, I thought about why I wasn't interested in their newsletters (besides taking up space in my in-box). How did these companies lose my interest, and why did I opt-out? As a copywriter, I write email copy on a regular basis for my clients, and I've learned what "not to do" by reviewing these not-so-hot emails that flood my in-box. 

I recently unsubscribed from Copyblogger's list. As a copywriter, I felt like they were missing the mark and their content had fallen flat. It's too bad beause I was a long time fan who enjoyed reading their blog. Be careful what kind of content you include in your emails. You can't please everyone, but the last person you want to turn off or insult is your targeted readers. 

Here are my top 5 reasons why people drop like flies from your email list. When people unsubscribe from your lists, realize that you just lost a potential (or even a regular) client. It might be time to review your email campaign strategy if you are losing subscribers right and left. 

#1 - You bombard people with too much spam disguised as "specials and deals." Emails should contain 95% valuable content and 5% sales pitch. If you bombard people with a spam-a-lanche of sales pitches, you can say good-bye to your subscribers (and you will probably end up in the spam round can - a place you don't want to be).

#2 - You send too many emails per week. This is my biggest pet peeve - when companies inundate me with too many emails in one week. Less is more. If you do send emails on a regular basis, allow subscribers to make that choice when they want to receive your emails (i.e. daily? weekly? monthly? quarterly?)

#3 - Your emails contain irrelevant, useless information that does not help your target market, customers, etc. This is one of the BIGGEST reasons I opt out of email lists. I also can't stand emails that talk down to me, have too much jargon or are filled with so much copy and images that I become dizzy just looking at the email.

#4 - You forgot to include a call to action or you have too many calls to action in one email. What the heck do you want people to do as a result of reading your email? A big email faux pas is including too many calls to action in one email. Don't ask people to call you AND go to your landing page to fill out a form - pick one or the other. When you have too many calls to action in one email, you confuse people and they won't take any action at all. Give them a reason to want to find out more about your products and services.

#5 - Your email copy is boring. When I read emails that sound like a "monotone" sales letter or a PhD dissertation (i.e. lackluster headlines, bunched up, rambling copy lacking bullet points, lists, etc.), those emails are the first ones I delete.

For social media users, ASK people's permission first before you send them your newsletter or include them in an email campaign- this is just professional courtesy. I've received random emails from people that found my email via my social media accounts (those emails immediately went into my spam list). Build viable relationships with your social media connections (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Don't use social media as a platform to advertise or sell - that's not the purpose behind social media. Be considerate and don't spam the heck out of everyone that you meet via social media. Spam and hard sales email blasts are a sure fire way to lose social media followers, and they will put you on their "blocked" lists.

So remember these simple email don'ts  - don't spam or push sales pitches down people's throats. DO share valuable content that will help people - emails are a great way to share your expertise and knowledge but don't use emails as your personal soapbox either. Be creative and fun - include contests and giveaways to attract and retain your email subscribers. Don't be BORING! 

What creative techniques have you used for your email campaigns? How did you build a solid email list? Please share your feedback, tricks and tips! 

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Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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