Another classic email marketing mistake

This email is destined for the trash folder the minute it arrives!

This email is destined for the trash folder the minute it arrives!

If you are anything like me you will be fighting a constant battle with your inbox. The last thing you need is rubbish from someone you’ve never heard of, right! So this one was on its way to the trash folder until I decided that it warranted a place in my ‘Classic Marketing Mistakes’ swipe file.

So let’s have a look at some of the things that are wrong with this email.

  1. The subject: ‘Training on Agile user stories’. I’m lost already. I have no idea what an Agile user is and I don’t understand why I should be interested in their  stories. The only thing that this subject has going for it is that my ignorance  caused me to be a little intrigued so I read on.
  2. The headline: ‘Effective User Stories for Agile Requirements’ This is possibly even worse than the subject line. An agile requirement sounds like something I’ll need in the gym!
  3. Too many acronyms: CST, PDUs, PMPs, PMI Only the first two are explained although I’m not sure what a Certified Scrum Trainer is. (I’m now beginning to think this is all about rugby!)
  4. Failure to qualify the target: There are five paragraphs explaining what user stories are but nothing to tell me why they might be important to me! When would someone need to develop a user story? What kind of people need them?
  5. Selling features not benefits: In the section headed ‘What you get’ there are four bullet points none of which answers the question ‘What’s in it for me?’  High quality training from an industry expert is a feature that I would expect if I paid £600 for a day’s training, it’s not a benefit. Telling me that people who have completed the course typically earn £1000 more per year than those who haven’t done the training would help sell the course to me.
  6. A weak call to action: ‘For more details please log on…’ is hardly a call to action. There is an early bird price and a date listed at the bottom of the page together with the full page so why not turn it into the call to action, ‘Book today to save £100’

So if you are sending a marketing email or a direct mail letter have you checked:

  • that your target audience will recognise themselves (it doesn’t matter if that loses you readers, you only need your target market to read your communication)?
  • that your subject line or headline will entice your target to want to read on?
  • that you have sold the benefits not just the features? In other words have you answered the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question?
  • Have you given testimonials or guarantees to make the decision to buy easier?
  • Do you have a strong call to action? Have you included an incentive to encourage your target to take the action you want them to take today?

If you would like a second opinion on your draft copy email it to without any explanation but with the subject line ‘Marketing review’ and I will see how well it answers those five questions and then send you a short report explaining my views. This is a one off no charge offer available until August 15th 2013. 


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