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/
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
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.