email marketing newsletters suck

As I sit in a hotel at the foot of the University of Texas campus for a day and a half of reliving my youth while simultaneously brainwashing my child, 413 email marketing newsletters await my attention this morning.

Deleted them all.

Today’s email marketers’ problem is that technology has made it too easy to group these kinds of emails into smart inboxes separated from our “real” email. That real email is sitting in my personal smart in-box, the one that has emails from real people like you, that I’m doing business with, etc. The emails I really want and need to read.

So when I check my email, I can quickly get to the good stuff and either ignore the newsletters and notifications for now, or just clear them all, like I did with those 413 email newsletters.

3 Ways to Overcome Email Filtering

First, make them pay. I know, paywall… kiss of death to traffic right? Maybe… but the WSJ has been doing it since the beginning and while it has taken them a longer time to get the traffic level they now enjoy, they’ve been charging me north of $250/yr (and everyone else) while they’ve built that traffic. Yep, sometimes less is more… as in more cash my friend.

Second, give them something valuable. There is one newsletter in my stream that is strictly a curation of products. The stuff is always cool, different and often items I’ve not seen elsewhere. I don’t read every one of them but most get a quick glance. Until that one time they ran a sale on an item and I didn’t pull the trigger. Shortly thereafter, buyer’s or lack of buyer’s remorse kicked in and I found myself glancing at every email they sent until the item reappeared. Then I bought it.

Now that I have it, my familiar glance at some but not at others pattern has reemerged. But even though I’m just quicky scrolling through the 20’ish items they include in each newsletter, I’m still paying attention. I’m still a possible sale.

Which brings me to my third, and most powerful suggestion for breaking through the inbox filters of the world – scarcity.

Give your readers something they can’t get anywhere else. Something they’ll value, whether it’s super cool items, outstanding pricing, thoughtful or helpful information, etc. Take the time to really understand your email audience’s needs/wants/desires from you and from life. Then make sure that every single time you email them, you’re touching one of those needs/wants/desires.