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Friday, December 18, 2015

Why your subscribers don’t read your marketing emails


In his book “Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers,” famed marketing guru Seth Godin pointed out the value of attracting people to subscribe to a newsletter or a blog; it gives producers an opportunity to collect the email addresses of potential customers. 

Word has gotten around since Godin penned his famous book in 1999; by now everybody tries to get permission to send “stuff.” 

Almost all marketing experts advise “Give your potential customers a free gift, something they want or might be interested in, and build your list.”

As a result the “permission-marketing-thing” is out of control! 

It’s become a vicious cycle!

People try to come up with enticing offers, other people subscribe to get these “free deals.” When the free deals turn out to be only teasers for expensive products, people are disappointed or not able or willing to buy the “real deal.” That lets the senders/sellers believe that they don’t have enough email addresses to sell enough goods, so they come up with more or better offers, and send more emails ... which their subscribers don’t open any longer ... and so on.   

One reason why people may not be willing to buy the real deal is because the many enticing offers of other producers who woo the same customer pool make buyers believe that they will get the information they are looking for – for free – somewhere else.  

Indeed, the efforts to collect email addresses have become quite creative. These days, around 20% of e-books contain an offer for a “free gift,” – a second book or a “free program.” Of course, to receive it readers have to surrender their email addresses.

Some email hoarders enlist the help of others. They collect addresses by running contests. People who want to participate need to motivate their friends to surrender their email addresses when they vote for their friends’ picture of the most adorable baby, cutest pet, or most beautiful book cover. 

I have a special, separate email address which I give at such occasions. I use it as my “probably-won’t-read Inbox.” Whenever I open that Inbox I delete 99% of all emails without ever looking at them. Most of my friends take similar steps; and, polls have revealed that the Millennials, who grew up with computers, change email addresses periodically, simply to erase all contacts with organizations, who they no longer want to hear from. 

Worldwide, these types of counter measures cause frustration to millions of business owners and marketing people who wonder what they can do so the people, who gave them permission to send them stuff, will read “the stuff.” Even though marketing experts like to talk about open rates, maximum delivery, and conversion rates, the small business owners who deal with the issue know this is just talk; they themselves delete marketing emails from others, every single day. 

In short: The concept of permission marketing email campaigns no longer works, and 

here is why:

Godin penned his book in 1999. Basically, he extended the concept of mail order marketing and adapted it to include the new tools – email and the Internet. At the time this concept was revolutionary and brilliant.

Seven years later, on September 26 a social media platform named Facebook invited everybody over the age 13 to join and share information just like so, which includes that we can read “stuff” without having to subscribe to everything that a particular source produces. The same year the online social networking service Twitter was founded. And, the photo sharing website Pinterest was launched in March of 2010. These are just three social media platforms of the many who invite us to “follow others” instead of having to give others permission to clog our Inboxes.  

At the same time search engines and blogging platforms became more advanced too, which combined with the fact that every elementary student knows how to search on Google made the need for marketing newsletters obsolete. If we want to know something, we can google it. Additionally, our friends who know us and who know what we like share postings, blogs, and visuals they think will interest us. 

If the Internet is a highway,

* the best marketers are like the drivers
who know that they are “sharing the road.”
If everybody wants to take the same exit
at the same time, it’s going to get clogged,
and traffic will come to a stand-still.

* social media platforms are like travel stops
where people meet and relax, chat,
have a cup of coffee, and
take their dog out. 

* blogs are like luxury group tour buses
which bring like-minded people
to vacation destinations.
Often, travelers form lifelong friendships
while traveling together.

* emails aren’t supposed to be seen as Greyhound buses
which provide cheap travel for many;

emails work best when we think of them
as limousines with liveried chauffeurs

who address each customer’s needs door to door,
and open the doors, too.


E-mail evangelist Gisela Hausmann is the author of  
“Naked Words 2.0 The Effective 157-Word Email” and 
Naked Text: Email Writing Skills for Teenagers.”
Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine. She is also a frequent guest on her local TV-station WYFF4-TV.

Visit her at her website

© 2015 by Gisela Hausmann
© 2015 pic (traffic) by Double Brain via Shutterstock


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