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Email design: 3 reasons why your e-newsletter is getting ignored

I was recently posed with the question: "Why aren't my subscribers reading my e-newsletter any more?"

The person asking the question told me they had been talking to others in their industry and it seems that subscribers overall just aren’t reading newsletters anymore. "Open rates have declined, the percentage of people who actually open the message and click through has declined, engagement overall is just not the same,” they lamented.

To which I replied, “Perhaps it’s not that subscribers aren’t reading newsletters anymore, rather, maybe they just aren’t reading YOUR newsletters anymore.”  Subscribers have fundamentally changed, but the approach that many marketers are taking in developing and delivering email  hasn’t caught up with that change.

So what is the deal?

Here's 3 reasons why your e-newsletter is getting ignored:

1. Inbox competition is fiercer than ever

In the days when subscribers received a handful of email messages, many of which still maintained that letter format look and feel, it may have been less of an issue to capture the users’ attention.  Now that we are competing with 140+ other email messages in the inbox, we are well over-due for a fundamental change in the way we deliver email content.  We need to get smarter, leveraging the data we have on our subscribers to deliver more targeted content.

2. Email is the portal, not the destination

This is perhaps that most difficult thing for email marketing professionals to grasp.  In general, we are a group of people who love to talk and elaborate on the topics that interest us.  This does not translate well for email.  Email is the storefront window that needs to grab our attention to get us to go inside to learn more and ultimately convert.  Start leveraging your newsletter to drive the subscriber to your blog, learning center, and your website, where the full story and imagery is all laid out.  If that landing page does not exist, it needs to be created.  Email should be a cross-channel marketing experience.

3. The mobile inbox

Smartphones and tablets require us to completely redesign our approach to email design.  With 300px (if we are lucky) of space to grab the attention of a mobile viewer and nearly 43% of mobile users opening email on their phones, the aesthetically pleasing piece of art, I mean, email, that we have created gets lost in the mobile inbox.  Content needs to be designed for the main call to action, including links, to fall within this range.

To add to that, based on comScore MobiLens survey result s for every one iPhone user in your database, there is at least one Android user.  Now we have no choice but to think about how our emails render with images off.  And if we don’t, performance suffers.

So the next time you are posed with a similar question, ask yourself, have I changed my email design and content strategy to account for these three fundamental changes?

For tips on designing email for the mobile inbox, check out our Mobile Email Guide.

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