Nobody likes emails. Most of us get way more emails and notifications than we can manage. And, ecommerce stores are one of the biggest culprits – most of the emails in my inbox are from shopping websites I visited some or other time, simply for research.
Some of us are tech savvy and make sure that unwanted emails end up in the spam folder; others are not, and they fret and fume when bombarded with all kinds of promotional emails. Even when people subscribe to emails, they don’t remember why they did, and are quick to relegate such mail to the spam folder.
Most online stores run email campaigns, and too many of them fail spectacularly. Or, at least, their success is not substantial. All the time and money spent in email marketing goes down the drain.
I know. Sounds harsh, but I’d wager that this is true for more than 90% of the ecommerce companies out there.
Over the years, I have worked as a digital marketing and branding consultant for several ecommerce stores, so I know firsthand that most of them do not get enough ROI on their email marketing campaigns. Also, having subscribed to the emails of at least a hundred online B2C stores, I feel I know what’s wrong with most emails.
So, here are seven reasons why I (and many others) will never open your email!
1. I feel you are spamming me
If my inbox overflows with your emails, I will unsubscribe
Unless you have a special offer every hour of the day, don’t email me more than once every couple of days. It’s simple: if I open my inbox and find five emails from your store saying almost the same thing, I will make sure that your messages go to the spam folder.
Solution: Don’t be greedy. Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Work a little harder to craft emails that appeal to the customers, and don’t send a mail unless you actually have something to say.
2. Your emails land directly in spam
Untargeted bulk mailing hurts you more than you think
If you don’t clean your mailing lists, you get a low sender score. When a lot of people don’t open your emails, or when too many people unsubscribe from your mailing list, your sender score plummets. When this happens, ISPs and other players may blacklist your IP, and they may automatically send your mail to my spam folder, instead of my inbox.
Solution: Most ecommerce store owners like the idea of sending bulk mails to everyone in the mailing list. If you are one of them, please invest some time in segmentation, get rid of non-responsive email ids, and write persuasive titles to get people to open your emails.
3. Wrong timing, friend
Don’t get lost in the crowd, come when everyone else is gone
You are not the only person sending emails. If you send me an email at 8:30, chances are that I will receive 20 more by 9:00. Your message will be buried under a small mountain of other emails. My aim is to get rid of as many of them as fast as possible. A quick glance at the subject, and a quick tap to delete.
Solution: Test different timings for your email campaign, and find out the days and hours when you get the most click-through rate.
4. You don’t show that you care
For god’s sake, don’t send bland, colorless, robotic messages
An email titled “Christmas Sales: 10% off Only Today” will pique my curiosity, but when there are thirty similar messages, I won’t bother to open any of them. I will take a look at the sender; if it is a big brand I am interested in, I might consider opening it. But, most of the times, I won’t care.
Solution: Mention my name in the Subject Line. At least create an illusion of personalization! Make me feel that you have crafted and sent the message to me, and not to all the 100,000 people in your database.
5. I don’t know or care about you
If customers cannot identify the sender, they avoid opening the email
The ‘From Name’ is important. Any generic message from a company leaves me cold. I am almost 90% certain that it doesn’t contain anything important or urgent when I see that it has been sent by X online store. So, unless I am particularly fond of a brand, I won’t open the mail.
Solution: It is a lot easier to delete emails sent by some ecommerce store – you know that it is a bulk message selling something you don’t want. But, if the sender’s name is personalized; i.e., if it is an individual’s name, deleting it is a little difficult. Consider using a human name for the sender.
6. I don’t know what’s inside
Does your subject line tell me all I need to know?
Let’s go back to the subject line: “Christmas Sales: 10% off Only Today.” Off on what? Do I even care? Maybe, if it said “10% off on Galaxy Note – Free Delivery,” I might have opened the email. And, I might have bought it too, because I was thinking of buying it.
Solution: Invest in personalization. Not only do you need to include the recipient’s name in the subject line, but you need to convey a clear, straight offer that the customer is most likely to be interested in.
7. Can’t read it on my mobile
People check emails on the go, if they can’t, they don’t
Ecommerce site owners have been quick to create mobile sites or deploy a responsive website, but surprisingly slow to make their emails responsive. Even if the subject line inspires me to open the email, I close it if I seen tiny, unreadable letters.
Solution: Design your emails for mobiles. You can use HTML5 to create beautiful emails. But, some mobiles won’t be able to display such message. A plain, clear, text-heavy HTML message may work best in such a situation.
90% of ecommerce email marketing campaign make some or all of these mistakes. As a result, click-through rate stays low and you don’t get a substantial sales boost from such campaigns. Take care of these points, and it will be impossible for me to not open your emails!
On the flip side, if there are ecommerce website developers, owners or marketers who have made email marketing work, spill the beans. Please share your success stories in the comments!