Once again, the winter holiday season has come and gone, and so has my two-week vacation. While I did get my fair share of R&R, I also used some of my downtime to get better organized. Not only around the house but also in my email inbox.
The Repercussions of “Subscribe to Get Holiday Deals Delivered to Your Inbox”
As soon as the Halloween candy is put away, in comes the deluge of retailer emails pitching Thanksgiving and Christmas “must-haves” to help make your holiday season bright. These inspire you to open, click and maybe even buy something on the spot. Especially this year, given all of the forecasted issues with manufacturing, availability, and shipping delays. But, of course, in your mind, it’s a one-time purchase. I mean, how often are you really going to buy ice hockey skates for your middle-aged brother? But before you know it, you’re getting ice hockey emails left and right and your inbox jumps from manageable to mayhem.
You can’t blame retail marketers, though. Seasonable email marketing is one of the best strategies to help pull in end-of-the-year revenue and plant the seed to help build the Q1 pipeline. The same goes for nonprofits seeking charitable donations as part of year-end tax donations and fitness gurus promoting products and services to help you get healthy as part of your new year’s resolution (again). In addition, vacation rentals promise great rates on upcoming getaways, and even financial planners tend to be more present in December and January. With the end of one year and the start of another, such milestones create golden marketing opportunities via email – the content marketing channel with the highest return on investment year over year.
Online Shopping Has No “Hours of Operation”
Before smartphones kept us all connected to the Internet 24/7, emails that hit our inbox after 5 pm, over the weekend, or while on vacation wouldn’t get read before the message was out of date. However, in today’s e-commerce landscape, consumers read their emails all day long, no matter where they are! In a recent study, Adobe revealed 12 weird places people are taking their email obsession.
Can you relate to any of these listed below? Be honest!
Although not a consistent culprit, I confess to scoring 12/12 and suspect I’m not alone. Sure, I’ve read and replied to some emails while walking or working out (sorry for all of those voice-command typos). Perhaps I’ve checked in on project status updates while on vacation or the phone (with my mom – don’t tell her). There might have been a time or two that I’ve read my email from the movie theatre bathroom, just to make sure I didn’t miss something earth-shattering during each 2-hour flick (I give the new Spiderman, Sing2, and Matrix Resurrections all a thumbs up). And yes, TV is best watched with a remote in one hand and a smartphone in the other (chalk it up to productivity, right?)
As part of being hyper-connected, we’ve all become multitaskers and more distracted. And based on the stats above, apparently, we’ve become downright rude in the process too!
These behaviors bode well for retailers and marketers who have our attention (albeit that of a squirrel) more often than ever before. But what can we as consumers do to minimize our distractions, maximize our productivity, and become better humans in the process?
Manage Your Email Preferences
Over my winter vacation (while I was binge-watching NetFlix, on the treadmill, talking to my mom 😂), I took the time to not just “delete” unwanted emails from my inbox only to delete them again tomorrow and the next day too. Instead, I unearthed the sometimes inconspicuously placed “Unsubscribe” or “Manage Preferences” links and followed the trail that would ultimately lighten my inbox load.
Sure, it took me 15-60 seconds to unsubscribe (depending on the preference details), but that’s a one-time exercise. And statistics show that we’re spending an average of 1.1 minutes on each email. So when you multiply that out and consider that over 28% of our workweek is spent on email alone, unsubscribing to the one-off sources you know you’re no longer interested in will free up your inbox and your life.
But I Don’t Want My Prospects to Unsubscribe!
Now you may be thinking, “Wait a minute, I’m one of those retailers! I don’t want my prospects to unsubscribe! I want them to continue getting my emails.” Think of it this way. If subscribers are just sitting on the toilet swiping left to delete the email it took you an hour to craft and send, are you really going to miss them? Are they contributing to your bottom line? Even if your stats show that users are opening your emails (which are inflated thanks to the new Apple OS for Mail), they really don’t care that much about your email if they’re not clicking through to your offer or page link.
Unsubscribes Aren’t Necessarily a Bad Thing
Although it may feel like a kick in the gut when you see contacts unsubscribe from your email contact list, try not to take it personally. Weeding out your least-engaged contacts will free you to focus on those most engaged and likely to purchase from you. And by allowing users to manage their preferences, including the types of emails (offers, alerts, newsletters, etc.) and frequency of correspondence, they will appreciate the level of customization and control over their inbox. As a result, they won’t opt out of all. Instead, they’ll opt into what they want most — which will help you market to them with better results.
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