What leftover holiday cards can teach you about email content

Kelsey Strand-Polyak talks about holiday cards.Now that the holidays are over and you’re cleaning out all the junk, let’s take a look at the cards you received from those dear, and not so dear to you, in the mail… yes, the ones with stamps that show up to your residential postal address.

1. The CopyCenter professionally printed family picture. It’s from your third cousin or your dentist, and the signatures are part of the template. Everyone is smiling, but the photo doesn’t really give you much more to look at after a first glance, except maybe a question of “Wait,who is that kid in the front row, all the way to the left?” Then it goes in a pile of other cards like it.

2. The essay type form letter from your sister-in-law…It’s not something you usually read (all four trifolded pages) beginning to end, because it’s long, and all about them. It is not a card with well wishes, but just an assumption that you are extremely interested about their fifth grader’s math grades and their recent trip to Yellowstone National Park. Yawn.

3. The card you get from a close friend, family member or acquaintance that gives a sincere, personalized wish, and a “call to action” if you will, of their great hopes for you, to make the best of the new year. They might include a photo in the fold, or remember that you’re a book lover and drop in an Amazon gift card. You’ll probably not only read the medium length note and feel appreciated by the nice thought, but place it on the mantle for display, going back to it when you need a kind word. You might even write back thanking them for the card!

I would hope that I’m not the only one that can read into intentions, content and length of these types of communication. They are distinct with their motives, and typical in response.

So what can we take away from holiday cards and put it in the terms of email marketing?

1. Short, impersonal, cookie cutter emails don’t leave your subscriber with a feeling of your investment in them. An obviously generic mailing doesn’t make for opens or click through rates.

2. Long-winded, boring, self-serving emails containing too much information and news they can’t use will make them not only close it before they’re halfway through, but give them the foresight not to read your next campaign.

3. Personalized, relevant emails that take the subscriber into consideration are the ones that garner the highest open and click-through rates. They have an audience that is engaged, and looks forward to future emails. Including poignant images, links and incentives to keep your interest is a going to create a loyal customer.

So wouldn’t it be worth your while to analyze your email length, content, links, images and audience? It’s important to go through a regular email audit with an outside source, as we all know it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.

Being able to have a different perspective of what your subscribers are receiving is invaluable, and will make it more likely you’ll get a virtual thank you card.

Kelsey Strand-Polyak
Services Account Manager, WhatCounts