E-Mail Marketing: Read On Site or On Receipt?

by Joe Pelissier on January 8, 2011

Pélixir is part of my e-mail marketing strategy and I’m aware that, each time I send it out, I’m adding to the sea of e-mails that some of you are drowning in.

Star, a market research company, found that 1,000 UK respondents typically send or receive more than 100 e-mails every day. 20% said they spend more than 1 hour every day cleaning out their in-box.

From a business point of view, that’s not very productive. It works out at 32 days a year on menial nothingness. Poor you.

The BIG problem with e-mail marketing is that

  1. Too many e-mails are an irritation – a good reason to ignore them and not respond
  2. Most are not relevant to you who are, what you do or what you are interested in – ie not very targeted
  3. The e-mail is hard to read on arrival – not very user friendly

That said, none of these are reasons for not investing time in e-mail marketing.

When used properly, it does work. And my own experience – with both clients and prospects – indicates that e-mail marketing is set to grow rather than decline.

Account departments – who want to spend less on print media – and savvy directors and marketers realise that a professional, focussed approach to email marketing brings positive benefits. 

An e-mail is not just any old e-mail.

I have an e-Retail client who relies exclusively on e-mail marketing to drive sales and to manage all aspects of the customer relationship. If you have a problem, it is almost impossible to talk to anyone. It sounds like a nightmare but e-mail is their chosen communication tool.

That’s why they invest time and money to make sure their marketing and communication teams are e-mail experts.

e-Mail Marketing as a User Experience

My own research tells me there are 2 types of e-mail marketing:

Read on Receipt e-Mails

1. Read on Receipt (ROR)

For when you want the recipient to read what you have written in their in-box.

Typically, such e-mails are

  • Plain Text and rather long
  • HTML branded and either short or long

As a rule, you want to take this approach when your aim is just to keep in touch and provide something useful or relevant.

Some marketers prefer Plain Text because it is guaranteed to reach the recipient. Others prefer HTML because it carries the brand and creates a better reading experience.

Word count and length is always a red-herring because, if the content is relevant to your needs and it’s easy to read, it doesn’t matter if the e-mail is 150 or 1, 500 words.

I’ve seen good examples of both.

2. Read on Site (ROS)

Read on Site E-mail Types

For when your objective is to use the e-mail as a springboard to persuade the reader to visit your site.

Such e-mails are

  • Plain Text and short
  • HTML and short
  • HTML and busy

This approach is good when you want to promote or sell something very specific via your site or if you want increase website traffic.

Read on Site e-mails are short because the more words you have in the e-mail, the less likely a reader is to click on the link and visit your site.

Likewise, very busy e-mails with lots of links are more of a distraction than a specific promotion.

But there is nothing to say you cannot mix your approaches so long as your brand and the values you convey don’t get muddled.

e-Mail Marketing in 2011

As 2011 starts to unfold, give some serious thought to the type of e-mails you send out and start to keep an eye on what others send you.

Why not make a note of whether the e-mails you receive are

  • Read on Receipt or Read on Site
  • Relevant to you and your business
  • Frequent or infrequent

A good tip is to sign-up to receive e-mail communication from companies or organisations that have nothing to do with your niche or areas of expertise. That way, you can pick-up some e-mail marketing know-how from completely unrelated sources.

Here are 3 very different approaches to get you going:

National Shrine of St Jude

Aweber (e-mail marketing systems)

Vente Privee

If you found this helpful, you will want to read other posts in the Internet Marketing Category.

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