The e-mail deluge is an enormous distraction for recipients, and a formidable obstacle for marketers. Three ways to combat e-mail ADD.
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 is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition.
Prior to her role at NOOKTM Jeanniey launched a wearables fashion technology company called Ringblingz. Before getting into the wearables business, Jeanniey was the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Zinio, where she grew the business by more than 427 percent, into one of the largest global digital newsstands. Other notable roles in her career include her involvement as the executive director and senior partner at OgilvyOne, where she led the digital Dialogue business and worked with Fortune 50 brands including IBM, Unilever, and American Express, and being a general manager at Grey Direct. At Grey Direct Jeanniey launched the first email marketing division of a global advertising agency. Prior to her time in advertising, Jeanniey spent seven years in retail leading a variety of groups from Consumer Relations and Operations, to Collections and Digital at JCPenney.
One of Jeanniey's favorite times in her career was when she founded the Email Experience Council (which was acquired by the Direct Marketing Association). Jeanniey is a recognized "Women in Business," a frequent keynote speaker, and has authored three books and launched a number of companies ranging from entertainment to technology and fashion.
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