Email marketing has had its ups and downs over the years. Originally email was exciting and it was just like getting a letter (or maybe not). We did however read every single line. Back then we only received a very small number of emails and they were more often that not useful or relevant, ideally both.

Over time as marketers do we ruin everything (stolen line from Gary V). Spam became a thing and any attention we game email became skim reading the title and if opened even more skim reading of the content.

Still number 1

Today email is still a primary inbox among many we just have much better filters both physical and mentally. It does however still surprise me just how important our inbox is to us and how it can drive our lives and productivity.

For many people there inbox is their to-do list. This can have its own issues without the amount of email we now receive.  You may have thought that with all of the social technology we now have that email would have been ousted as a priority. Yet email is still the holy grail of digital marketing.

Likes don’t Like us

Please do not get me wrong on this next bit, social currency has it’s place. Likes and follows are all very well but they do not mean that your message or valuable content is going to be seen. In fact the chances are very much stacked up against us on those platforms. Where as email although full of spam and god knows what is far more likely to me seen if you get it right!

Getting it right

Email spam filters are getting better at weeding out emails that we do not want and our internal filters are getting better at spotting emails that are designed to just sell to us. My advice to start with is to understand just how important it is and lucky we are to have someones permission to email them and enter their inbox. Now if you do not have permission and you have scrapped them or purchased a list then you really need to start again and re-think email marketing because anything you send is simply spam.

If you do have permission then getting that first email is all important and here is why.

Our most precious thing today is time and as marketers the most valuable thing we want is attention.

When you email someone for the first time it can make or break a relationship and that is what you want to achieve.

Not a sale, or lead but a relationship, remember this is the first email. For more or leads vs relationships check out this post by clicking here.

Now if the first email you send is either bland or worse trying to pitch them something the first thing that the person will do is delete it or look for the unsubscribe option. Any time after that you email them the feeling you gave them in that first email is what they are going to remember and therefore will not get opened or clicked in anyway.

If however your first email is amazing and seriously over delivers in terms of value then you can expect a very different type of relationship. People will look forward to your emails and will stop whatever they are doing in order to read them. They pass the morning cull of emails that are deleted on our smart phones first thing in order to leave us with the emails we want to deal with when we start work. You are also more likely to click on them as well which tells spam filters that you like this content increasing the chances that your email will get to the persons inbox.

Embrace un-subscribes

People seem to be scared of giving people the option to un-subscribe! Just in case they do! They think that this is a bad thing and that it means they do not like them. This is simply not true. Any email marketer worth their salt understands that un-subscribes should be seen as a good thing. It will mean one of two things:

  1. Your content is not for them, they are not a good fit for your company or product or service or they have purchased something or someone else and no therefore no longer need your emails in their inbox.
  2. They are not reading them due to lack of time or desire.

Either way you do not want to be sending these people your emails as they are never going to engage with you or get any value from your content as you are not meeting there needs and goals nor your own. They will lower the results of your emails as they never open or click and with good reason. You need and want these people to un-subsubscribe as soon as possible.

I offer an unsubscribe right at the start of my email newsletters (1 a month with all my posts for that month) and again at the end.

You are only ever as good or valuable as your last email and you need to be grateful and thankful for every subscriber who allows you there attention and access into their inbox. Get that first email wrong and they chances of changing that after are very remote. Remember first impressions count.