Rules – How To Adopt Email To Disaffect Your Users – Part 2

“This Isn’t What I Signed Up For”

Generally, when people subscribe deliberately, they do so with positive expectations. Meeting those expectations is crucial if you do not wish to alienate them.

Keep a rational tone across all of the digital channels through which you connect. If your website strikes a formal, conservative tone, while your email is much more conversational, the contrast will unsettle users. The “story” and “character” need to be consistent. Social media, email and your website should all speak in a single voice and with a consistent message.

For example, people who sign up for my newsletter expect the latest Web design-related news. That is what I told them they would get, and that is what I have to deliver

“You Obviously Don’t Care About Me”

To keep our subscribers, we need to treat them as people and not as open rates or click-through statistics.

This can manifest itself in two ways. First, our emails need to avoid marketing jargon and instead read like any other personal email. The writing style of your average marketing email is fascinating; you would never write like that if you were writing to just one person.

Secondly, email is supposed to be a two-way medium, and we need to treat our marketing emails in that way. This means allowing users to reply, and not sending emails from addresses like

“This Is Impossible To Read”

In their enthusiasm to increase email conversion rates, many mailing-list owners resort to ever more elaborate email designs. Unfortunately, this all too often leads to unreadable emails that send recipients instantly to the “Unsubscribe” (or, worse, the “Spam”) button.

Unlike many Web designers, I see nothing wrong with HTML email. It does numerically produces a higher conversion rate, and that cannot be avoided. However, HTML emails do take work to get right, and they need to be tested thoroughly.

To make matters worse, it is now important to look at mobile devices. A huge percentage of users now access their email on mobile devices, and the email clients on these devices don’t display HTML email particularly well.


“I Just Want Some Respect”

Ultimately, the secret to not alienating subscribers is simple: treat them with respect. If you hate being signed up for stuff without your permission, being constantly sold to, and not being able to easily unsubscribe, then others likely feel the same way about your content. No matter how important you feel your emails are, they are probably like any others to your subscribers.



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