Misleading Email Marketing Engagement Stats – Are You Guilty?

I’ve been noticing a trend lately in email marketing. More and more messages seem to be comprised of one or more large images and no actual text. Using this technique, there is no way to preview what is in the email – the only way to see the information is to open it. I find this annoying.

First of all, not giving someone the option to preview what is in your message is kind of inconsiderate. We are all bombarded with too many emails these days. If I can’t get an idea of what’s in yours from a preview pane, I’m generally not going to bother with it… which got me thinking – why are people doing this?

Here is an example of the type of email I’m referring to (the name of the organization has been blurred by me):

This is an example of the type of email I'm describing.

This is an example of the type of email I'm describing.

The only answer I could come up with is that either (a) they are getting terrible advice from an email marketing firm or (b) said firm is trying to artificially bump up their email open stats by putting EVERYTHING into a single image. Either way, it is a bad plan.

Ask yourself, what is the point of email marketing? It is not, as some would have you believe, just about your “open rates”. Rather, it is about engagement. If you have 100 people open your email, but no one clicks through to anything, is that an effective email message? I’d say no.

Email, to be used effectively, should be a tool to engage recipients and move them toward some type of trackable action. Having a high open rate that does not translate into actual engagement is pretty worthless. Be wary of any firm that focuses on open rates only as a measure of their email marketing campaigns’ “success”.

Email is like anything else these days, you need to have a plan and it needs to be part of your larger web and social media strategy to have the most impact.

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