Keep the Clutter Out of Your Email Content

The difference between a salesperson and a savvy marketer is the way they deliver their message. The ultimate goal is the same across the board – to sell product, or promote the company – but the way each department ends up going about it can be quite different, or at least that’s been the case in my experiences.

Last spring, the retail sales division of the company I worked for approached the marketing department because they wanted to start a biweekly email campaign. That’s an excellent idea, I said. And all was well and good until the two departments sat down to discuss the contents of the email.

“We were envisioning an email that features about 20 different products, with pictures and complete descriptions, every two weeks. And a 700-word or so article. And a coupon. And maybe a video of a dancing cat.”

Several jaws hit the floor. One of our designers actually passed out. Many heads tilted in confusion.

“Well…we just love our product so much and we know our customers do too, so we want to offer them as much as we possibly can!”

Ah, and therein lies the issue. Being passionate about what you do is so important. Loving your company and what they offer is a great thing, and for certain something to be proud of. But if you try to show your customers too much at once, you will scare them.

Think about the last marketing email you opened in your personal inbox and actually spent time examining. Did it feature a multitude of images, three page scrolls worth of text and about 15 different fonts? Or did it feature a clean, dominate image, a small amount of catchy copy and worthwhile links?

There’s no real rule about the limit on the amount of email content. But, think about the things going into your email as actual objects on your desk. A few nice, well placed and helpful items are pleasant, and probably tools you’ll utilize (since they’re on your desk and all). However, the more items you add the more cluttered your desk becomes, and the less you’re able to prioritize and sort out everything that’s there.

If you feel like you have too much to say and not enough room to say it, make a list of everything you want to include. Read through it, and try to prioritize one by one.  Is there anything that is timely and needs to be mentioned right away? Is there anything that relates to a current news item? What can I put into a blog post instead of this email (because links are your friend!)?

Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one who loves your company and wants to hear everything you have to say about it. But think of this email marketing relationship you have with your consumers like a real relationship – if you spill everything on your first date, there’s a good chance they won’t stick around for too long.

Photo: Puuikibeach, Flickr Creative Commons

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