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Monday, January 26, 2009

Less is More

As an enthusiastic online shopper, when I discover a site that sells something I might want to buy, now or in the future, I always look to see if they have an email newsletter I can sign up to.

The other day I sat down and looked at my online shopping patterns, and noticed a trend.

Virtually all of my buying is prompted by email from the vendor. I don’t always buy what their email is promoting – sometimes it just puts them in front of mind, and leads me to buy something else from their site.

But rarely will I go and buy something unless I get an email from them.

Let’s assume for a moment that I am not alone in this – that I am an element of a trend. What does it mean for email marketers? Should they be filling their messages with more content, encouraging recipients to buy more and more things, or should they recognise that some buying is offer driven, some not, and use email partly to highlight one or two juicy offers, and partly just to maintain vendor awareness?

I think the latter. Content intensive emails lose a lot in translation. Very few people read one email containing 25 special offers before clicking a link to something they want to buy. Emails which try and promote every offer available on a site are just replicating the work of the site – unnecessarily, IMHO.

Email is a prompt and alert tool, not a cataloguing device. So we at Inbox are currently telling all our retail clients to look at cutting down the copy, and increasing the impact of their message – and resulting sales.

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