Irrelevant Emails Are Hurting Your Relationships

Relevant emails are the foundation of good email campaigns. Irrelevancy is one of the top three reasons people unsubscribe from email lists. Given that there are 306 billion emails sent and received daily, it is important that you send relevant messages to your contacts. Think of each of your contacts as a relationship that needs to be nurtured.

Get to First Base First

The hours you pour into developing the design and creative content for your email campaigns will not matter if the email never gets opened. Getting a contact to open your email is the “first base” of email marketing. After the creative is finalized for your email, spend time contemplating the best subject line. Generate two or three subject line options. Then, select the best one to use for your email campaign. If your email list has more than 2,000 contacts, consider A/B testing your subject lines to determine which is best.

Don’t Come on Too Strong

One way novice email users come on too strong is by sending too many emails. Think about the sheer volume of email you receive daily. According to DMR, the average office worker receives 121 emails per day. Just add that number to the number of unopened emails from the day prior and the day prior to that and so on. The number one reason readers unsubscribe is “I get to many emails in general.” Your contacts must be discerning about which emails to open. Thus, relevancy is essential.

Luckily, your contacts will let you know if you are sending too many. They will either ignore your emails or unsubscribe. A low open rate is an indication that contacts are ignoring your email. An unsubscribe rate of more than 0.5% suggests your email campaigns have room for improvement. While it is a good idea to watch contacts’ behavior (through these metrics), it is better to moderate email frequency on a regular basis. Sending one or two emails per week is generally acceptable for the average brand.

Don’t Ask for Too Much at Once

For most email campaigns, a single call-to-action (CTA) is optimal. This is true for promotional and transactional emails. While it is perfectly fine to include links within your email that drive traffic to your branded website or social media, the primary link should be a CTA that is prominent, arguably more prominent than any other link. The CTA should be relevant to where the recipient is on their buyer’s journey. That is, based on the stage they are in as a customer (researching, considering options, ready-to-buy, repurchasing, etc.).

Do not use a link to take the reader to the place you wish they would go, but rather to the place they expect to go. If they click a “buy now” link, the link should take them directly to a page to purchase an item. If they click a “learn more” link, the link should take them to additional information. In this case, relevancy means NOT being surprised when the contact clicks on a link.

If your CTA link is embedded into an image, be sure that image is relevant to the audience. For example, if you are a pet groomer and you would like the recipient to bring their pet in for another appointment, you might include an image of a cat for cat owners or an image of a dog for dog owners. This type of personalization subtly lets the reader know that you know them and value the relationship!

Remember the Personal Details

Personalizing an email is about more than just sending an email with the recipient’s name in the greeting. (Although, that is not a bad idea. See Side Note: What’s in a Name?)


SIDE NOTE: What’s in a Name? When you send an email, be sure the recipient’s name is included in the “To:” line. Instead of sending to jsmith@icloud.com, which may show up as “jsmith” or “jsmith@icloud.com” in the recipient’s inbox, use the recipient’s actual first and last names. “John Smith” looks a lot less like spam email than “jsmith”.


Send emails with content that is personally tailored to the recipient. The emails a contact receives should be based on what you know about them, based on past behavior. Where did they sign up for your email list? What emails have they opened in the past? What have they clicked on? What have they previously purchased from you? Was it on sale? How much did they spend? All these questions should inform future email communication.


SIDE NOTE: Get Their Track Record. To send relevant email based on past behavior, you will need to track past behavior. At a minimum, use an email marketing software that allows you to see which recipients opened which emails and who clicked on what. Do not use Apple email, Gmail or any other personal email to send marketing emails. Not only do they not allow you to track behavior, you also run the risk of not being compliant and finding your email blacklisted. Email marketing platforms will guide you to staying complaint with CANN-SPAM laws.


Let Them Know They Are Valued

Transactional emails are almost always relevant. They are also a great way to let your customers know that you appreciate them. Sending a simple “Thank you” email is a low-cost way to send a priceless statement. Even if the customer deleted it immediately after opening it, the feeling of being appreciated helps create a strong brand relationship.

Another transactional email that is relevant is asking for a product or service review. It is never a bad idea to ask, “How am I doing?” This email works overtime. It tells your customer that you care about their experience with your brand. And, it gives you feedback that can help improve future product experiences.

Sending relevant emails will help you build a solid relationship with prospective and existing customers. One that you can build upon for years to come.