Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ring in the (almost) new media...

It’s the New Year, so it’s appropriate to talk about new media. But because I’m an old codger, I want to talk about the oldest of the new media—email.

True, email has been around since the last century and there are rumors afoot that email is passé. Kaput. Finto. Stick a fork in it. Or so say those who key with their thumbs. To them—hot shot techno super dudes that they are—email is just so 1990.

But when I sit at my desk and look at my emails every day—and I get several hundred, so I get lots of practice—I see a media that is very vibrant and still evolving.

Some of the emails lose me right away. Deleted with prejudice. Easy call.

Some are interesting enough to hang onto, if not to react to, immediately. I put ‘em on ice. If I’m still sufficiently interested when I eventually get back to them, then I act.

But a few emails grab me at go. I devour every word. I go deeper and deeper. It’s almost a disappointment when I’ve read every word and looked at every picture.

I was curious about what made me respond the way I did, so when the Marketing Sherpas studied what made folks open emails, I was delighted. Here are their findings in descending ranking:

COPY is the #1 most important aspect of an email. 43.2% of the eyeballs are there because the copy is great. Duh! They had to study this?

Anyway, right behind copy is OFFER. 40.7% of the folks read because the offer intrigued them.

SUBJECT LINE is slightly less important at 40%. But just try a dead-on-delivery subject line and see how critical that 40% really is! I would also argue that this is really just another confirmation that Copy Rules.

Bringing up the rear—sorry designers—are the GRAPHICS and FORMATTING. At 34.4%, only about one third of people stop in their tracks because of the look of an email. These guys must all be Art Directors.

So what about the Gen X and Y-ers who predict that email is defunct?

Not so fast, there, young Dudes and Dudettes. Marketing directors everywhere beg to differ. 40% of B2C chief marketing honchos say they will be using more emails in 2010 and almost 36% of the B2B guys agree.

While I’m not sure my already overworked email can accommodate a 36% increase in volume, I’m glad to know that the email I will be getting should be better written than it was in 2009.


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