Email Marketing: Exciting or Excruciating?

As stated on the FTC’s website, “the CAN-SPAM Act [is] a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, [and] gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them….” These regulations protect consumers against fraudulent and unsolicited emails. It’s imperative that businesses familiarize themselves with the CAN-SPAM Act with regard to email marketing, as non-compliance comes with a hefty price tag.

What about email marketing?

As I think about email marketing, I think of the sheer volume of emails I receive and about inbox clean-up. I’m particular about where, why, and how I make purchases, so unless I receive a marketing or promotional email that’s tailored to my current situation, I delete it immediately. For example, I may receive an article from InHerSight with pertinent career advice or a discount from Etsy for a recently-viewed product. In those cases, I’m inclined to read the entire email. An email with a promo code may lead to a site-visit, but I’m just as likely to close the website without making a purchase after a few minutes of browsing. Marketing emails that are personalized, interesting, and visually appealing, much like these examples, also get my attention.

To gain a better understanding of how others feel about email marketing, I spoke with Francisco, social-media-boycotter and construction worker, Mary, avid shopper and event planner, and Emily, millennial and aspiring architect. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: Think about email communications from marketers/businesses. What makes them interesting and worth your time to open/read?

F: I don’t care for marketing emails. I get too many of them promoting products and deals that really aren’t that great or relevant to me. I might open an email with a subject line that indicates a better sale, deal, or product than I’m used to seeing.

M: I receive TONS of marketing emails daily, oftentimes from the same source. An email that stands out to me is visually pleasing, gets my attention, and is quick and to-the-point. I also look at the subject – if it makes me think “hmm, I need to know more,” I’ll open it. If it’s a standard subject line, I’m led to believe reading the body of the email isn’t worth my time.

E: The first think I think about related to marketing emails is “do I want to receive this email? Aka did I sign up for this?” If so, emails that are personalized or have relatable subjects are interesting. For example, discounts, ads related to something I’ve purchased, or articles based on a recent search would all interest me.

Q: Do you ever take any action because of the emails? Why or why not?

F: If a good sale is advertised in the subject line, I’ll read the body, then possibly go to the website to look for the specific deal. If the deal is only available for a limited time, that’s probably the only time I’d buy a product directly because of an email. That is rare though – I usually delete the emails without opening them. Sometimes I will unsubscribe.

M: If it’s from a store I frequent, I open it and read the body to ensure I’m not missing a good deal. Oftentimes I’ll make a purchase, or at least visit the website. However, if I get too many emails from the same place in the same week, I send them to the trash immediately. I also unsubscribe from marketing emails quite often, but I usually re-subscribe down the road.

E: I often unsubscribe in response to [marketing] emails, even from companies with which I shop. I don’t like to receive daily ads. Rarely do these types of emails cause me to act in the way of purchasing or browsing the website.

Consistent with the above stated insights into email marketing, data from the “Email Marketing Industry Census 2016” show that consumers are interested in promotional emails that offer discounts, and the article also provides data and detail as to why individuals unsubscribe from emails. For additional examples of effective marketing campaigns, I encourage you to visit the above mentioned HubSpot blog post.

I hope you enjoyed hearing more about these insights into email marketing!

Email Marketing: Exciting or Excruciating?

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