Five ways to annoy customers with your email

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Despite the variety of social media platforms available today, most marine dealers still go with email as their primary method for reaching out to prospects and customers. So recent research about what can annoy rather than excite email recipients is worth understanding.

Maria Minsker, writing in eMarketer News, says today’s successful emails must be personalized and relevant in order to resonate with recipients. Otherwise your missives, however well-written and intended, could be downright irritating.

So here are the top five things to avoid in your email program, according to a 2017 survey of business professionals conducted by social marketing and research firm Advanis.

1. Topping the list, cited by 50 percent of survey respondents, was getting emailed too often. Can you identify? I can. Nearly every day I get an email promotion from Guitar Center despite the fact that I’ve tried to unsubscribe. Just yesterday, it read: “Deals so Hot it will Melt Your Popsicle.” Melt this, I thought! And while I do play electric bass, why is my inbox filled with keyboard or D.J. equipment sales promotions? I can’t play a keyboard, and I don’t do wedding receptions. You lost me. 

2. Emails that are poorly written irritated 27 percent of the recipients. I can attest to emails I have received in which even a headline has a misspelled word. There are others I begin reading and think, Can we get to the point here? Any email that doesn’t cleanly and clearly make its offer or main point up top is likely to get a fast delete, or even an unsubscribe. 

3. Coming in third at 24 percent of respondents were emails with offers that don’t even remotely apply to the recipient. Adobe indicates it’s even higher at 34 percent of respondents naming recommended items that don’t match their interests as the most frustrating way email personalization failed. Boy, do I know this one! Offers or subjects not applicable immediately make it clear the sender knows little about me or hasn’t taken time to refine its data to better apply to me. They won’t make my list of preferred suppliers. (Keep in mind that if you have stringent privacy settings, you will automatically have less relevant ads and emails that address your buying habits specifically.) 

4. How about getting an email urging me to buy a product I have already purchased from the same company sending the email? That was noted by 20 percent of those surveyed. Frankly, I’m surprised it was only 20 percent. It would clearly show me the business doesn’t take time to update its customer profiles, which would leave me questioning my value as a customer to that dealership. 

5. Finally, an email that’s poorly designed was considered annoying by 14 percent of the survey respondents. I also thought that would have been higher. However, as a recipient, I often see an email promotional piece and struggle to get its message promptly and clearly. Its layout or visuals are not smooth and easy to quickly grasp. Remember, studies show there are only a few seconds to capture the recipient’s attention or it’s sent to trash. 

Notably, while not ranking nearly as high on the irritation list, several more objections showed up in the survey. Too much personalization made emails feel creepy for 13 percent, which means the line between personalization and overly personalized emails can be fine; 5 percent cited emails that don’t include a buy button to facilitate a purchase, if applicable; and at 6 percent were emails that do not contain videos or images.

The low percentage citing the latter probably surprises you as much as it does me. That’s because most experts at digital marketing say pictures and short videos are the way to go these days, especially videos. They’re what people respond on computers and, especially, mobile devices. And the importance of using some video is expected to grow going forward. The key is to include short and interesting videos.

Overall, the survey confirms that to really be successful with email marketing, you must be committed to producing some dynamic content and avoid the pitfalls that annoy recipients if you want to drive relevancy and results.


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