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The Reason That Nobody Is Reading Your Marketing Emails

Junkmail Recent statistics from email provider MailChimp revealed that on average, less than 22% of all emails sent even get opened. Specific industries, like marketing and advertising, fare even worse at 17.8%, followed by e-commerce at a dismal 16.75%.

Getting your emails opened is only the first objective. The second is to encourage some reaction. To that end, most email marketers include a trackable hyperlink somewhere in the email that the recipient can click on to indicate that they are engaged. Only about 2.5% of recipients, on average, do so.

Can you take a guess why the statistics are so pathetic? First, let me state that it has nothing to do with MailChimp. They are one of the best providers out there, and I give them kudos for publishing the statistics every year. The real culprit is ourselves.

“I Have Seen the Enemy, and He Is Us.”

As marketers, we are collectively responsible for the way people feel about marketing email. Because email is cheap and easy, we can send our communications at very little cost and even less effort. The Internet has given us the amazing power to amplify our voices, and we have collectively allowed that power to corrupt us. We send out messages even when we have nothing to say – just because we can. We send messages much more often than we should. We use “Marketing-Speak” and impersonal jargon-filled language that is way too salesy. Every communication screams “BUY-BUY-BUY!” People are sick of it.

The esteemed Hugh MacLeod of Gaping Void Culture Design Group:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/hughmacleod/ once posted graphically on his blog: “If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch you in the face.” https://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/

The Firehose

If you’re not one of these marketers, I salute you. But, since marketing automation tools became available to anyone that can afford 20 bucks a month, the roster of people that consider themselves “Marketers” has grown exponentially. There are millions and millions of them now. I compare it to handing an email machine gun to a child overdosed on caffeine. They blast the public with so many marketing messages, it’s like trying to take a sip of water from a firehose. Consumers react by tuning out everything that looks or sounds like a sales pitch.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

My inbox fills up with garbage every day, despite my spam filter. Sometimes, even the lists that I intentionally subscribe to make me regret the decision to opt-in in the first place. I originally subscribed to the list because I found the author’s content engaging. Then I get a series of emails containing pushy sales pitches, cheesy “Listicles” like “The Top Five Ways to (insert click-bait title here),” and assorted waste-of-time content that makes my eyes roll back in my head. I’ve come to believe that the marketer sent me the email, not because he had anything meaningful to say, but because it was Tuesday and that’s when his blast was scheduled. He had to come up with something, even if it was crap. I end up clicking the unsubscribe link at least once a week. I bet you do too.

If nobody is reading your marketing emails, maybe it’s your content. Or…maybe your content is awesome, and the sheer quantity of your communication is too much. Maybe it’s neither, and your email is getting drowned out by all the noise created by other marketers. If we as marketing professionals don’t do something soon, the-open-and-read rates on our email communications will go down even more. Email itself will lose its viability as a marketing tool.

 What You Can Do About It

  1. Change the Nature of Your Content

The first solution is to edit your content. Does it read like an ad? A sales pitch? If it does, then change it until it reads like a personal message from a friend or colleague. It’s not hard, and it will be much appreciated by the receiver. We all have a natural defense mechanism against being “sold.” Email clients like Gmail are getting pretty good at identifying what’s a promotion and what’s not. Try to make your marketing messages sound as personal as possible. Mail-merging their first name into the message is not enough.

  1. Less-Is-More

The second solution for legitimate marketers is to adopt a less-is-more strategy. We need to turn down the volume and the frequency of our communications. Make sure that you have something to say before you hit the send button. And never, ever, send a bulk digital message without explicit permission. Make sure everyone on your list still wants to hear from you. That means keeping track of those who didn’t open your last ten emails and asking them to take a proactive step (like clicking a hyperlink) to indicate that your communications are still welcome. If they don’t respond after a couple tries, then remove them from your list. Your stats will improve dramatically.

  1. Change the Channel

The third solution is to change the channel altogether. If the rest of the marketing universe is using email for their communications, try using something else. It’s hard to stand out in the inbox when your message is one of the hundreds arriving every day.

You have a choice; continue to depend solely on email, where your voice is one of many in a very crowded stadium full of marketers, or stand apart and use a channel where you’re virtually the only one speaking.

Text Message Marketing

Try using text messaging for your bulk marketing communications. Your subscriber list will be much smaller because it’s generally more difficult to build a text message opt-in list than an email list. (Maybe because email subscribers know there’s an 80% chance that they’re not going to read your email anyway?) Fewer people will opt-in for text messaging because they don’t want to give out their mobile number to a marketer, and that’s ok. Those that do opt-in are truly engaged. Building a permission-based text messaging list is worth the patience and effort. You will be rewarded by a whopping 98% open-and-read rate. That’s because there’s no decision-making involved in text messages. Text messages open themselves.

Text Messaging Can Do Almost Everything Email Can Do

  • Long Messages: Did you know that text messages can be as long as 500 characters? That’s plenty of space to get your message across.
  • Photos and Videos: Insert media to make your messages more compelling.
  • Trackable Links: Yep, you can insert those too.
  • Automation Marketing & Customer Surveys: No problem. Run an entire yearlong marketing campaign that changes based on customer reaction. Program different response messages based upon whether they clicked a hyperlink – or didn’t, answered survey questions or didn’t react at all.
  • List Segmentation: Use different keywords during the opt-in process to segment different populations or segment them based on customer response.
  • Loyalty Programs & Coupons: You can create both without using paper punch cards or coupons.

Text Messaging Does One Thing Much Better Than Email

It gets read at a ratio almost 5 times better than email. The stats are straightforward: 98% open rate vs 22% at most for email. From that metric alone, text messaging deserves a place in your marketing mix.

Art Jensen

Explore the possibilities to enhance your marketing communications with bulk text messaging. Contact me for a free 60-day trial today by clicking the button below.

Don’t Be That Guy

Don't Be That Guy

Don’t Be That Guy

Are you a Spammer? Do you send bulk email blasts with the exact same message to lists of complete strangers without their permission? Don’t do that anymore. Just stop.

Don’t be that guy.

It doesn’t work. It pisses people off, and it makes you look like a cheeseball. By cheeseball, I mean a plaid-jacketed, white-patent-leather-shoe-wearing, insincere, con artist. And guess what? It’s illegal, and it will likely get your server blacklisted. If you are using any of the popular marketing automation platforms, it will get your account canceled fast.

I’m not talking about sending a cold, one-off email to somebody that you had some prior contact with, such as a tradeshow or group event. I’m not talking about a one-off email to contact for which you have received a legitimate referral and can provide the name of the person that referred you. I’m talking about substantially similar messages sent in bulk. Here is a more in-depth article on the FTC website: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

If the outcome you desire is a business relationship of some kind, then get permission before you send digital communications. It’s called “Permission Marketing.” People that give you explicit permission to communicate digitally are more likely to be receptive to what you have to say. They are much more likely to do business with you and more likely to give you referrals.

How do you get permission in the first place? Lots of ways. I’ll answer that in a future post. In the meantime, I invite you to read some of my other content. Browse the site and maybe watch a video or two. We’re offering a free 60 Day trial, no credit card required.

Art Jensen portrait

Art Jensen


Contact me for a free 60-day trial today by clicking the button below.

She’s Just Not That Into You

She's Just Not That Into You

She’s Just Not That Into You

She “likes” you, just don’t get carried away

So she “Liked” you on social media. It doesn’t mean that she wants to be assaulted with an endless barrage of marketing messages.

To illustrate my point, I will use romance as a metaphor for marketing. Most of the time you wouldn’t expect someone that smiled at you to agree to marry you five minutes later. Yet, marketers do that all the time. They succeed in getting initial attention; a “Like”, and immediately move to close the sale. “She likes me on Social Media, that must mean she is totally into me, my company and my product, so I get to blast her relentlessly with aggressive sales messages!”

Marketing, like romance, is a process, and it usually takes time. It’s not smart to try to rush things. When you’re on the receiving end of an aggressive approach, it doesn’t feel good, does it?

Getting your customer to “Like” you on LinkedIn or Facebook or even opt-in to your text message or email list is a good first step. That doesn’t mean she’s “that into you.” She may have subscribed on impulse. As a matter fact, the majority of the people who join your opt-in list or pay a visit to your social media page fit into this category. They are simply passive observers and will never become marriage candidates.

The path to deeper engagement

How do you help your subscribers and social media followers move along the path to deeper engagement? Simple – you just try to be as interesting as possible, and maybe – just maybe – you will succeed in moving the relationship to the next level. Treat your opt-in subscribers with the same good manners and humility in your text and email messages as you would if they were a romantic interest standing right in front of you. Using personalization features (yes, Permisio can do that) for starters. Then, script your messages in plain English, not marketing shorthand. Talk to people rather than talk at them. Make the effort to craft messages that are interesting and compelling. Yes, this often means using MMS – Multimedia Service format, which requires more message credits (3 credits vs 1 credit). Trust me, it’s worth it, and you can also insert a photo into your text messages that way.

It’s the difference between asking: “Hey you! Do you want to get married? I have 6 toes on my left foot and I drive a Lexus”, and the more subtle: “It’s great to meet you, Nancy. Can we talk for a moment? I’d really like to get to know you better.” 

In fact, we’d like to get to know you better too. Perhaps you could take a moment to explore the rest of this website. We’ve tried to include enough information so you can get to know us better.

Art Jensen portrait

Art Jensen


Contact me for a free 60-day trial today by clicking the button below.

How to Increase SMS Opt-in Response

opt in

Do You Opt-In?

Have you ever walked into a business and seen a sign urging you to text a keyword to opt-in to a subscriber list? Did you respond by grabbing your phone and texting immediately?

If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Many of us are wary about giving out our phone numbers to businesses. The last thing we need is to be subjected to the same sort of assault on our mobile phones that we now suffer in our emails.

Text messaging is, for the most part, advertising-free. It’s a channel we reserve for people we know and trust, and that usually means friends and family. It’s a place where a real conversation between two people takes place, not the impersonal type of dialogue that marketers use. Advertising-Speak turns people away. As soon as we hear it, or read it, a barrier goes up. Instead, TALK to people, starting with your opt-in request.

How about this approach?

The manager or owner of the business personally hands you a small card inviting you to join a special VIP notification list.

SMS VIP Opt-In Invitation

VIP Invitation Card personally handed to customer by owner or manager

Are you more likely to opt-in now? Both approaches are asking essentially the same thing, however, the second approach is much more personal and therefore more likely to get results. The customer is more likely to take action because a human issued the invitation, and it’s kind of fun being part of a small and exclusive list. There’s now a person behind the anonymous request to text, and customers are much more likely to trust the invitation, and your intentions, especially if it comes from someone in a position of authority.

With Permisio’s list segmentation abilities, you can actually employ both methods. One keyword for the general population, and another keyword just for the VIP list. Give it a try, Permisio is free for the first month.

Art Jensen portrait

Art Jensen


Contact me for a free 60-day trial today by clicking the button below.