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Julia Hammond
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How to Stop Your Customers Deleting Your Marketing Emails

Email Direct Marketing (EDM) remains a fantastic way to engage your audience and grow your business. With a strong list of contacts in your pocket, the email world is your oyster. However, with so many incoming messages on a daily basis, the odds are typically against your emails even being seen amongst the backlog, and they are often either neglected and left idle in the endless pit of the ‘unread’ or deleted without a second glance.

Unfortunately, there is no way to restrict your subscribers from directing your emails straight to the trash can; however, you can improve your email marketing techniques to give your emails a better chance of lasting amongst the clutter of the average inbox.

To help you do so, we’ve put together 5 dos and 5 don’ts to keep your email readership engaged.


In order to stop your customers deleting your emails, you first need to stop making mistakes that could be costing your brand engaged subscribers.

  1. Contacting Disengaged Subscribers

You could have a subscribed list of thousands; however, what’s really important are the contacts who engage with your emails. They are your true audience and should form the basis for your electronic communications. Identifying your engaged audience and homing in on them will reduce your email’s chances of being flung into the bin immediately upon receipt.

Contacts on your list who haven’t bothered to unsubscribe, but have marked your communication as spam, can negatively affect your capacity to deliver emails to the subscribers who actually want them. The best way to safeguard your communications is to monitor who is (and, more importantly, who is not!) engaging with your emails, then remove any contacts who have not interacted with your email marketing in the last 90 days.


  1. Using Boring, Stock-Standard Subject Lines

Your subject line is your hook, the single most important thing when it comes to getting subscribers to open your email. A lacklustre subject line is a wasted opportunity and will guarantee reduced open rates. Much like Frank N Furter in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, audiences thrive on antici….pation. If you can intrigue your subscribers, you are increasing your chances of capturing your audience’s attention amongst a muddled inbox and, in turn, you’ll have a higher chance of them opening your message.

In order to ensure your subject line is performing at its optimum, take your time to craft it (and keep it to less than 50 characters).

  1. Guessing What Your Subscribers Want

Email marketing provides you a wealth of important data that relates directly to your target market. Don’t guess at what your subscribers want, need or enjoy – the answers are right there before your very eyes. Yes, detailed data can be overwhelming; however, when you take the time to sort through it, you’ll find it’s a goldmine for your email marketing strategy.

You can augment these insights further by implementing A/B testing across both your subject lines and design. Often email marketing platforms will allow you the option test the results in live time with a small portion of your list, so that you can use the winning email for the broader majority of your subscribers.


  1. Sending Aimless Newsletters

Newsletters can be a great addition to an email marketing strategy for the right business. However, newsletters that don’t provide clear value to consumers are not just a waste of time, they could be damaging your brand integrity.

For businesses with products and services that require a certain level of pre-purchase understanding, newsletters can be a great way to demonstrate you value within the industry or market. This can go a long way in terms of nurturing your clients through the sales funnel but, for the most part, newsletters won’t help with making those valuable conversions as they are about education, not action.

For most businesses, a direct email with a single call-to-action will be more effective in converting customers from the consideration stage to making a solid decision as to whether or not they want or need your product or service.

  1. Blasting Your Entire Email List

Email blasts are always a bad idea. The fastest way to get someone to disengage with your emails is to send them information that is entirely irrelevant to them. An email blast is a non-specific message sent to everyone whose details you’ve come across. Without segmenting your email list, you will lose customers you otherwise could have retained by filtering them through into more interest-specific email groupings. Segmentation is a vital element of an effective email marketing strategy and should be managed meticulously.

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  1. Telling a Story

As is the case with any piece of content, the best way to engage an audience is through the art of storytelling. This is not just a way to provide a unique experience to your customers and differentiate yourself from your competitors, it also keeps your subscribers engaged.

Have a look at your email marketing communications. Is your writing pretty generic? You may be missing a brand voice with which to tell a distinctive story. Once you find a creative lilt for your content, you’ll see that your audience becomes far more engaged and willing to follow through on your call-to-action.

  1. Using a Single, Clear, Creative Call-to-Action

A call-to-action (CTA) is the text that inspires readers to further interact with your brand and is often at the crux of conversion. Needless to say, your call-to-action is integral to the success of your email campaign. By ensuring the CTA is simultaneously informative, succinct and attractive, you will naturally heighten your click rate. It’s important that wherever your CTA button leads (ideally to a purpose-built landing page), the text captures exactly what the reader will get if they take action. This, if any, is not the time to be misleading. If the landing page doesn’t relate to the original message, you are guaranteed to lose your audience.

It’s also important to ensure your email isn’t too cluttered. Keeping the text and calls-to-action to a minimum assures that your readers won’t be confused about what it is you want them to do. It also helps you get your point across to even the skim-readers among your subscribers, giving you greater potential to draw detached readers in. Simplicity is the key, so try to include a maximum of two call-to-action buttons in your email.

  1. Personalising your Emails

Personalisation has become expected in marketing emails as it adds a sense of familiarity to your communication. If you’re not already using this technique, you’re late to the party. Good business is about building relationships and, by addressing your subscribers by name, you begin to forge a personal connection with them.


  1. Using the Sales Funnel

While email marketing is largely a customer retention tactic, if you follow the sales funnel structure, no matter where each reader is within the funnel when they read your email, they will receive the information needed to guide them through to decision.

Following the sales funnel structure, you should aim to lead your readers all the way from awareness of the product or service, through consideration, to the final conversion, all in the one email. The final conversion could be any action you choose that will benefit your business from simply clicking a link to read more, or making an on-the-spot purchase.

  1. Tidy Design

Your email design is just as important as the content it presents. It should be instantly appealing to look at and should not include large slabs of text. Artistic signposting to draw the reader’s attention to the information most relevant to them will also help get your subscribers reading right down to your call-to-action.

There’s nothing worse than receiving a scrambled email from a professional company. Different devices and operating systems interpret the HTML script in your email in different ways, so once you have designed your email, make sure you test your campaign across different devices to ensure it looks sharp no matter who reads it.

There are some great tools available to help you with this process. Litmus, for example, allows users to view test emails as they will appear on a range of different platforms, from desktop email providers like Outlook and Gmail, to iPhone and Android mail apps.


Give yourself the best chance to positively impact your email subscribers by implementing the above suggestions in your current strategy. If your email marketing has seen better days (or even if it hasn’t yet seen the light of day!), get in touch with one of our specialists today for a consultation.

By Jen McKinnonJulia Hammond

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