When Emails Fail
May 7, 2019
Keeping your email messages relevant

My wife's iPhone is her most trusted companion. Partly because it fits in her purse, partly because it holds what she considers invaluable: wherever she goes, the iPhone goes. I can't say the same for me, or our dog. On that phone's home screen, the Yahoo Mail widget says (at the time of this writing) that she has 15,432 messages waiting to be read. My guess is that number only got bigger by the time you read this, and I highly doubt that she has any intention of getting over her backlog. What does this mean?

It means that all those carefully crafted incoming messages are lost forever to their senders. She's drowning in unopened emails, yet for what I can tell, she is breathing just fine. Joking aside, I know for a fact that she only opens the messages that are relevant to her.

What does relevant means? It means the messages that she either anticipates -- she knows they are coming because they land in her inbox at the same time, on the same day, every week, -- are coming from known senders whom she deals with regularly, or else the messages that are both recent and intriguing and/or catchy. Everything else is left to die in the graveyard of her Yahoo Mail inbox.

So looking at this problem from the other side of the fence: why do email campaigns fail? According to my wife's phone, it's simply because the messages are not relevant, and are therefore ignored. Yet according to this post, there's at least 6 reasons.

  • A boring subject
  • Too long a message
  • Lack of balance between graphical and text elements
  • Not focused on the user
  • Bad timing
  • Lack of originality

You could spend hours spotting and fixing those problems every time you send an email out to your subscribers. My wife's iPhone conclusion is more accurate. Think about it: less boring, more succinct and balanced, is all about the user, is right on time and to an extent, original. In other words, if your message is designed from the start to be relevant, then all the other problems will either resolve themselves, or -- more likely -- will not come in the way of getting the message through.

 

The Mailman

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