Why Businesses Don’t “Get” Email Marketing

I'm sure you've heard or perhaps even said “Email marketing isn't what it used to be…”

Businesses will try technology (Often on the cheap) and say “It doesn’t work for us” making up some lame excuse how they tried it blah, blah, blah. Is it any wonder when you cut all the corners that you're going in circles?! The bottom line is the same as with anything. If you don’t know what you’re doing, how to do it, and don’t have someone to help you through it, you will most certainly fail.


The reason why businesses find little success with technology is because they approach the online world with offline tactics. It doesn’t work. There was a time when a business could send out a physical newsletter and that set them apart from their competitors. It gave them a point of contact that said “We’d like to keep you informed about our latest happenings.”

You’ve been rejected

The newsletter was a statement that the consumer initially heard as “They care enough to keep me in the loop.” But then the consumer heard more and more the term “consumer” as it was applied to them, and rejected marketing. The newsletter was recognized as what it was, a sales letter. It was a pushing statement. By that, I don't mean sales pushy, but rather a one way statement that was oriented around the business, not the customer.


You’ve got mail!

Flash forward to the beginning of the internet era. Email was new and exciting. AOL had an inbox chime that said “You’ve got mail!” It made it seem even a little bit magical. You could send almost anything and people were excited to get it. Open rates were nearly 100%. So what happened?



Spam is the pushing statement on steroids! There’s not even the basic interest of the customer in what those messages are pushing. But why should that affect the legitimate business? Because people, like all animals can be trained to act predictably. And they learn by experience. If they don’t like something enough, customers will avoid it and anything that resembles it. That’s one reason why email newsletters began to be insignificant and discarded unopened with the rest of the junk.


Too Much Information

(TMI) has lead to an even further drop in email open rates. The customer may really like your company, your product/service, and even your staff. That doesn’t have a real sway over them when they are digging through a full inbox. There’s just no time to waste on anything that does not have real and measurable value to them. If enough of your company’s sales letters disguised as newsletters have been opened and the customer sees no value inside for them, they will either just discard your emails or if you’re lucky they will unsubscribe.


It’s not them, it’s you

The reality is that people don’t want to unsubscribe when they genuinely like you and your business. What you’ve got to do is provide them with value if you want to get them to open your emails. Value does not mean sales prices. Value means something that is entirely for the customer and they cannot get anywhere else. That’s what makes them want to open your emails.


Here and now

Email marketing has become a means to get your message out to all of your customers at exactly the same stage in the relationship and with a consistent message – automatically. Use that tool to add value to, and set expectations for your customers. Achieve those two goals and they will wait anxiously for your next email, opening it as soon as they see who it’s from.


Adding value to your emails

Make sure that your emails are at least 75% (80% is better) information and 20-25% selling. That will go a long way with establishing and maintaining that trust with your subscriber. Once you have that trust, converting them to a customer will be much easier.


What’s the take away?

Email marketing is not a newsletter. A newsletter can be a part of your email marketing. If you want more substantial and consistent business, you’ve got to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack screaming “Me Too!” The easiest way to do that is to genuinely place your customers’ interests first. What’s In It For Me, WIIFM is the radio station always playing in everyone’s head. Tune in to your customers’ frequency and provide value that satisfies that question for them.


You want your contact with the customer to be frequent and consistent. Respect their time. Don’t write a book for them to read. Get to the point, provide value, and above all make it about them. That will do more for your open and click-through rates than any silver bullet solution ever could. If you give your customer value, they will give you their attention and if it makes sense to them, their money.


If you'd like to get a more in depth look at email marketing, click here and get my free report How To Crush Your Local Competitors With Email Marketing.



About The Author

Rob Calhoun

+ Rob Calhoun Helps small to medium businesses succeed by building systems for them that help them get new customers, retain customers, and re-energize past customers. Rob helps clients and marketers maximize the return they get from their online marketing efforts.

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