What is inbox fatigue?
Email marketing is still the cornerstone of any digital strategy. Your email goes straight into a recipient’s inbox and you get to communicate directly with them. Or, do you?
Look at your inbox and do a tally of how many emails you actually open, and how many you actually read. Yes, your own inbox.
I use Yahoo mail for my personal email, and Yahoo has a pretty intelligent algorithm that measures what I do with the email in my inbox. If I consistently trash emails without reading them, it eventually marks it as ‘spam’ and filters this into the junk folder automatically. But guess what I found? Of the 15 emails in the junk folder from yesterday, only 6 were genuinely spam. The rest were my subscriptions. Subscriptions that I had trashed before even reading.
Could this also be happening to your emails? The ones that you painstakingly craft for your email list. Horrifying thought?
Optimise your Subject Headlines
To cut through the masses of emails, your headline has to stand out. While it may seem like this is more art than science, there are small tweaks that can increase your open rate. Personalise your emails, use urgency and ensure that your headline is an appropriate length.
- Personalisation – Use the person’s name and ensure the subject has personal context or relevance
- Urgency – Use time limits to create urgency eg. limited availability, expiry dates. Without urgency, your email risks being relegated to the ‘read later’ category which eventually converts into the ‘never ever read’ category.
- Length – On a mobile device, only the first five or six words are displayed. On a larger screen, even with the whole headline displayed, eyes start to glaze on anything past ten words. Keep this in mind when crafting your headlines.
Optimise your Email Content
#1 – Use different media
Once someone opens your email, inbox fatigue does not stop there. If your email is dull, too long or repetitive, there is no incentive to read any further or to pay much attention. People get bored and impatient. Even loyal subscribers who have been on your list for a while get bored.
Try using different media – videos, illustrations, podcasts etc. Measure the performance of these emails against those with plain text. Use humour if you can. It is your job as an email marketer to educate and entertain. Selling is a by-product.
#2 – Change your templates
Consider changing your templates once it feels like your email open or click-through rates are dropping off. While brand recognition is important, it is possible to regularly update your template. This can be done without compromising your brand. If you theme your emails, and generally have a clear demarcation in your content, you may want to use a specific template for a specific type of content.
#3 – Be generous
As always, be generous to your list. This is the primary reason people stay on your list and more importantly, stay connected and engaged. If you regularly exceed expectations, give more than what is expected, you will generate goodwill and trust.
Test, test and Test
Any change in your email marketing should be measured. Test every change against a baseline so that you know what is working and what isn’t.
Clearly, there are many variables that can impact the success of any email marketing strategy so there needs to be a strong emphasis on testing and measurement which will give you insight on how your list responds.
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- Price vs Loyalty – How to Price your Services so your Customers Stay (coachmi.com.au)