Emails have a brief life. Yet, according to a new Adobe study, many don't have a life at all - in attitudes towards mobile. Among the many observations and data that we have uncovered, two that stood out for me are opened and read, meaning 75 percent of all that you send is overlooked, And 50 per cent are not considered useful when they are read.
As is so often the case, it's easy to conclude that this must mean email marketing is gone. But that would be incorrect too. Because we found that people usually check email, and almost always before they go to work. It is an intrinsic part of life for people. They do not ignore their emails, they ignore the emails that they receive.
So what are we missing, as the originators of all the content that was ignored?
It's a big word in marketing and we would all like to think we're relevant, because if we aren't then we're irrelevant. But if most of what we send by email isn't read and half of what's read isn't helpful, then irrelevance is what most of us achieve.
It's not just an appeal to someone's interests to be relevant. At the right time, it is about doing this, while not overdoing it. An email with discount codes can contain relevant content – the receiver is keen to save money on the products – But if the same offer has been sent out for months on end every day, it loses its urgency, so it is ignored. It is irrelevant now, although it is useful for the content.
Too often, and particularly in B2B marketing, we give sales development rep (SDR) the task of building the relationship that turns marketing leads into sales prospects. But they often aren't the right people for this job, and it's not fair to expect them to take it on, particularly when producing a beautifully framed written copy is involved. SDRs are often at the start of their careers and that level of responsibility requires more experience and capacity than they can offer.
The point of investing time and money in marketing is to prime potential customers, so they're on board when they answer our first call. To compromise such a crucial point in relation development with a poorly composed, inaccurately targeted marketing email waste that time and money.
Instead, responsibility should lie with people with the skills necessary to succeed in doing so. I check regularly on what we're sending out because I know people go off the script, from poor language use to a lack of professionalism.
I also know it's my job to ensure that these issues are addressed, rather than landing them on someone without the skills or knowledge to do so.
Respect for the message and the addressee
It shouldn’t be difficult to spell properly, use the right grammar and correctly construct sentences in the right way. And if it is, then it’s not difficult to find someone who can. It's not about pedantry and nitpicking to get that thing right. The aim is to treat the audience with a level of respect. We took the time and care to get this read right, because we appreciate your attention.
People in positions of influence are better at responding to properly articulated messages. And while many people will not notice a stray apostrophe or an overlong sentence, they will notice that they will not understand the message because it is too hard to read it.
Email is still essential to marketing and to the people we try to reach. It's wounded in our lives in a way that social media still isn't, which most people don't test in our survey shows until they get to work.
It may not be as dominant as it was, but email does not go anywhere and still offers the chance to get the right message at the right time to the right person. It is now time to do a better job of delivering this message.