What keeps me reading- Email Marketing 2


A few weeks ago… I talked a little bit about what makes ME (and this is relative obviously) subscribe to email newsletters. The reasons were as varied as the subscriptions I hold and ran the gamut from strictly professional “boning up” to completely vacuous and voracious consumerism (guilty!). As I mentioned in that post, I’m taking some time to examine how I interact with my inbox and what precisely that means to me as a marketer, and one who relies heavily on marketing via email.

Today I want to talk about what happens once I’m getting those daily or weekly emails (again, this is SO subjective).

So as I weed through my many, MANY subscriptions on a daily basis I decided to analyze both WHY I clicked through to read and WHICH ones I decided were no longer appropriate. I wish I had taken the time to read every subscription I got on a daily basis, but, hey, I have work to do.

Reasons I Clicked

The standard 3 phrase headline that left me wanting more from each story

A well worded question,

a numbered list that included reasons or solutions

a breaking news item

something related to a celebrity (hey I never said I was deep)

a deal on something I am currently shopping for

I also noticed a pattern of clicking on newsletters from sources that I had saved

So no shockers there, but I did notice that there was a bit of an arc of trust that had to exist before I clicked. Just because I signed up for the email didn’t make it so I opened/clicked the first time. I thought that was pretty interesting. Almost like a built in double opt in. You have 6 weeks to wow me and get me to click, if I haven’t been compelled to open your email by then, I probably never will.

Reasons I read: So, just because I eventually click on your newsletter doesn’t mean I am going to read it daily, weekly or even monthly. Here are some of the reasons why I noticed I read:

If I nearly always find a story relevant to MY network/readers/audience/community.

If there were strong summaries that were less than two lines, I skipped clicking through. If the summaries were 3-4 lines, I clicked and all the better if the entire story is contained in the email, (but this is obviously not practical for digests or sites with multiple contributors).

Okay things that really REALLY piss me off?

Surveys that I take the time to fill out and then get halfway through and I’m not qualified. Don’t do this. It wastes my time and guarantees I will never ever open any of your emails again. If you cannot disqualify me using your own data, then don’t send it until you have enough data. That or ask disqualifying questions early in the process. This has happened to me three times by large and/or otherwise SMART companies. IT BLOWS.

I work with travel bloggers. Before that I worked with recruiters, many of who were mobile a good chunk of the time. It never failed to FLOOR me when I would receive an email missive from my competitor, colleague, potential partner, whatever that was one BIG IMAGE! What? Putting aside the mobile marketing implications of that statement, let’s look at regular old computers. Even on Gmail, here’s what that does:

1) I can’t see the first few lines in preview (less likely to click).

2) If I do click, I see nothing except a “click here to view” or worse Gmail’s own “click to display images from so and so” link at the top (that’s one more click).

3) Finally, if there is any call to action, it’s the hyperlink that’s the whole big image and not customized nor making good use of anchor text or the archive feature most email programs have now.

So that’s a three click process. BOO. Here’s what it does with mobile, either:

1) Message is truncated due to size


2) I have to find the “display image” button on a much tinier screen


3) I’m not gonna. Please note that as someone who travels quite frequently and uses up precious minutes before my iPhone dies checking important emails, I will NOT check yours, because while it’s pretty by the time I click through, I will NEVER click through.