One of the most important factors in whether or not a recipient will respond to an email campaign is how relevant the content is.
We’ve discussed how busy the in-box is before on this blog and the bottom line is that recipients don’t have time for emails with no value. I know what you’re saying … ‘but all my emails have value! How dare you!’ Of course they have value, but value has to be weighed against perception. For example say my list has 1,000 people on it. And say that 300 of them would like to get updates about new product features, 200 would like to get all the company press releases and 200 would like to get special offers. Assuming no overlap between categories that’s 70% of my list with a strong preference on what they would like to receive. If the general newsletter that I send out has a piece here and a piece there of all that information I risk alienating those subscribers who would prefer a more focused newsletter. This is especially true given what we know about how busy the in-box can get. Don’t rely on recipients scrolling to the bottom of the message to read about the upcoming product upgrades. If that’s all they want to read they’ll be put off by having to look for it. Eventually they stop perceiving the email as valuable and they’ll opt-out.
So what to do?
The simple solution is to add a table of contents to the top of the email. Something that the recipients will see in the preview pane. Each of the entries should be a link that they can click on to jump to a story in the newsletter. So…recipient opens mail, recipient sees TOC, recipient clicks on their choice…happy recipient.