An interesting phenomenon is happening in e-mail these days: we've finally hit the point where e-mail volume in our personal and business lives has surpassed our ability to digest the content with any high level of comprehension. As e-mail marketers, we must be aware of this and master it.
According to JupiterResearch, the average person receives 41 e-mail messages a day. I'll go out on a limb and say you probably receive three times that amount on a good day. E-mail recipients are now challenged with going through their messages as quickly as they can, whenever and wherever they can, just to keep up with the deluge.
Sadly, the effect of this e-mail barrage detracts from marketers' ability to conduct a quality conversation with readers. This phenomenon is often referred to as e-mail ADD. My estimate is that for every three words you type, only one is read or retained. This is a scary reality for consumer marketing e-mail and even scarier in the business world.
In an increasingly digital world, e-mail ADD won't get better. Gaining an understanding of the implications of e-mail ADD is only the starting point. Knowing how to work within constraints to define effective, successful messages is the only way to regain control of the conversation. You must also be aware of message equity, the level of trust your message receives. For example, equity is low if the message looks or feels like spam. People won't respond to it or read future messages. If the equity is high, the perceived value of the communication is also high.
Here are three of the most common ways to fight this battle:
Combine these three efforts and you'll succeed. Our culture holds the number three in high regard.
In e-mail, three is also important. It's the optimal number of times you should put a message in front of readers to maximize clicks. It's also the number of e-mail messages new subscribers will read to determine if they'll stay engaged with your brand's e-mail program. And it's the average number of e-mail subscriptions a reader opts in to for a given category.
Acknowledging that every e-mail, personal or business, needs to battle not only reputation, relevance, and delivery but also e-mail ADD, and understanding how to leverage the power of three to help you do that can move you three steps ahead in creating a most successful conversation.
I'd be remiss to end this column without giving a shout-out to the person who inspired me to write about the prevalence of this topic (and whose name is in this column three times). Thanks!
Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.
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Jeanniey Mullen, a recognized women-in-business and tech, is known for her entrepreneurial style and her ability to build, shape, and grow brands into well-known dominant, successful entities. Jeanniey is a pioneer in email, mobile, and digital marketing; publishing; and brand-building. She now leads her own agency, YellowBean LLC, focused on assisting companies of all sizes with driving innovation and growth. Most recently, Jeanniey was the Global EVP, CMO, and subsequently Chief Growth Officer for Zinio, where she worked to define and implement strategies creating explosive growth through strategic partnerships with publishers, technology companies, brands, and consumers during her five-year tenure. Jeanniey has authored and contributed to multiple books, blogs, and magazine articles. She is a regular columnist for ClickZ, a blogger for Huffington Post, and a frequent keynote speaker. A serial networker, in 2005 Jeanniey founded the Email Experience Council, which was sold to the Direct Marketing Association in 2008. She sits on the Advisory Board for IndieFlix, and on the International Executive Council of the Internet Marketing Association. Jeanniey is recognized as both a Top CMO and Top Author on Twitter, and was most recently featured as Mover and Shaker by the Professional Woman's Magazine, and a featured Woman in Technology by The Legacy Series Magazine.
March 19, 2014