We’ve all gotten promotional emails where we’ve wondered why the company bothered sending it – we can’t hit delete fast enough. Those emails suck, but the people sending them didn’t realize it. You can avoid the same mistakes by recognizing what makes emails suck.
1. There is no text.
Your designer created the layout in Photoshop, saved it as one .jpg, loaded it up into HTML and called it a day. I’m sure it looks lovely. However, many people’s email clients have images turned off automatically – especially from senders they don’t recognize – so they won’t see the lovely image unless they click a button to download it … and without any text compelling them to see what the image is, they won’t click that button.
Or perhaps they do get images, but they’re checking email on their phone and don’t have the best connection (been known to happen a time or two, especially up here in the mountains of NH). If your one image takes a long time to load and there’s no text giving them a reason to wait it out, it’ll be trashed quickly.
As an added bonus, that kind of email is more likely to get caught in spam filters, since one-big-image emails are frowned upon in the spam filter world.
So how to avoid this suckage? Make sure there is a good balance of actual text and images. And by text, don’t just include words in the image. I mean the kind of plain text that is visible when there are no images loaded in.
2. It gets lost among every other email that arrives at 9am.
Sure, arriving in the recipient’s inbox first thing in the morning sounds like a great idea … to everyone. When 20+ emails arrive all at once, it’s unlikely the recipient will spend time looking at any of them unless they’re expecting something specific. Delaying until 10am might help a little, but not much – that’s when the next wave typically comes flooding into inboxes.
The timing would suck less if you sent it at an odd time – say 11:30 … or get really crazy and send at 2:13. The odder the time, the less likely the recipient’s inbox is getting flooded and the more likely they will have some time to check it out.
3. There is no place to click.
What do you want the recipient to do? Yes, it would be wonderful if they contacted you right away, but most people aren’t going to pick up the phone and call you after seeing one email. And they are probably hesitant to email you directly at that point too. If they are interested, they want more information – and they expect to get that information online.
But don’t just throw a big red button into your email that says, “Click here.” Tease them a little. Let them know there’s more information on the other side of that link.
Make sure your website (or, even better, a landing page specific to that blast) is set up to answer the questions they may have. And, of course, it should lead them to the next step of contacting you.
So those are my top three reasons … what do you think makes emails suck?