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  • Writer's pictureTom Kothman

Barriers to Email Marketing Success for Small Business: #2 of 7

#2: Your Content Isn’t Connecting.

An "all-industries" average email click through rate (CTR) is between 2.5% and 2.9% of emails opened. If your CTR is significantly off from an acceptable average, then one of the things likely going on is that ...

Your Content Isn’t Connecting! 😞

The second most important reason your email program is not performing at or above your industry average is that your content is not arriving when your audience is likely to open it. It’s all about timing and relevancy from your contact's perspective.

The first consideration in creating email content that connects is to ask, “is there a timing aspect inherent in the content I am sending?” Marketing to gardeners is a great example of time consideration in content, messaging, and calls to action. Plant beans in your zone now! Plan your garden now and order by next Spring for Free Shipping! In other words, the message/content is shaped by the contact’s location on the time continuum inherent in your product, service or information.

The second consideration in creating email content that connects is to ask "what is the contact’s receptivity when the email arrives and is there "utility" in the content?" For instance, in B2B marketing to tax professionals, the best day of the week and time of day to send emails changes with tax preparation workloads and filing deadlines. Analysis of opens shows that tax preparers open emails at nearly the same rate every day (except Sunday) between January and April between late morning and early afternoon. This pattern changes after the tax filing deadline. Everybody takes a break, then returns to work on extensions. And the email open rate leans heavier to Tuesday through Wednesday but the time of day for opens remains the same.

It is important to know the nature (inherent characteristics) of your market in order to effectively employ “utility of the content”. For financial professionals, click through rate (CTR) analysis shows that content engagement tracks from general/educational content to specific/actionable problem-solving content over time. This is a characteristic that is inherent in their work.

Similar patterns exist for B2C markets. When I ran a sportswear catalog company in the 2000’s our marketing of sweaters nationwide had poor results. Keep in mind that at this point in available ESP functionality segmentation was in the infancy stage. When we employed list segments based on geo-targeting data appended to our customer database (read length of day, average temperature, activity probability) it created higher engagement and sales. You can’t fool Mother Nature.

The following infographic was inspired by borrowing from two Hubspot blog posts:

The infographic associates the Buyer’s Journey (email contact) stages with appropriate types of emails along the Sales Cycle (small business emailer). Knowing where your contact is in the buyer’s journey suggests the type of email that they will engage with.

Action Item 2: Create your own email Buyer-Sales infographic with Microsoft Excel's custom template located at:

Next Up/Installment #3: Cross Purpose CTAs


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