How to Make Email Marketing Suck Less
Part One

Over the last year, I was fortunate to spend time on the road talking with marketers about why email marketing sucks and how we can make it better. 30,000+ views later, and it’s time to put this baby on the shelf. Rather than let it collect dust, see below.

You’ll find the slides, along with how I presented them pretty much verbatim. And, don’t worry, I saved you from the introductory slides because we all know how painful those can be.

In part one of six, we talk through why email marketing sucks right now.

Part One: Why does email suck?

Slide 1

So, why does email suck? I’d encourage all of us to look no further than the mirror. Us marketers have taken one of the most intimate, one-to-one channels that we have available and slowly destroyed it. Don’t believe me?

Well, the stats don’t lie.

Slide 2

78% of email sent is spam.

Yes, you heard that right.

According to researchers at Microsoft and Google, almost 8 of 10 emails that hit Inboxes are unsolicited piles of garbage that the subscriber didn’t explicitly opt-in to receive. Just look at all the “Make an extra $10,000 this week,” or “Get a $1,500 loan in less than an hour” emails we receive.

Slide 3

That same study provides even more sobering statistics such as this: All that spam accounts for 94 billion spam messages per day. That’s b for billion.

And, here’s the funny thing…We all think this isn’t impacting us. Inside our heads we say, “Oh, it’s just harmless spam and nobody is getting hurt.”

Slide 4

Yeah, no one, but our pocketbook.

The cost of all of that spam is just north of $20 billion dollars or roughly the the size of Bolivia’s or Estonia’s GDP. That eleven-figure number equates to all the money it takes to filter and combat spam.

If you think you aren’t affected, then think of it this way. If all those engineers at Google, Yahoo, or Hotmail spent all that time on making a better Inbox experience rather than on combatting spam, I know email would be a much different and better place than it is today.

All of those stats are just sad.

Slide 5

But, I know what else you are thinking…

I can hear it now inside your heads, “It isn’t us marketers that are sending stuff our subscribers don’t want or care about. It’s the spammers.”

Well, I wish that was reality, but it isn’t. Beyond spam, email sucks because this is what we’re all doing. Tossing emails out into the abyss hoping those emails make it into the Inbox and someone likes them.

Slide 6

Take for example, the recent holiday period. On Cyber Monday 2014, I received not 1, not 2, not 3, but 9 emails from one brand.

W. T. F.

On what planet do we think nine emails from one company in less than 24 hours is appropriate?

Slide 7

And, that brand wasn’t the only one behaving badly.

Research from Return Path, which tracks gazillions of emails, noted that we sent consumers 30% more promotional emails in November and December, compared with other times of the year.

You’d think all that extra email would get our subscribers attention.

Slide 8

It didn’t. 80% of that holiday email was ignored.

Slide 9

But, in my opinion stats are just one side of this story.

I think we can boil the lack of caring from all of us about this channel from to just one reason…

Slide 10

Over the last 5–6 years, we (marketers) have all been enamored with other channels. From social to content to mobile, our minds have been focused on the new, sexy topics rather than our tried and true ones that already existed.

And, while we weren’t paying attention email changed…