Email works when you use it well, but so few people use it well. In a recent blog post Seth Godin compares a good use of the medium with a bad one. Which is closer to your model? Do you deliver relevant content to a small group of people who really want to hear from you? Or do you simply send everyone you meet the same generic email hoping someone will buy from you?
For small business owners, especially in a slow economy, email is tempting. It is relatively simple to create and inexpensive to deliver. So what is the harm of sending one more email? The harm can be seen in the increases in your opt out rate, and the decreases in your open rate. Six years ago when I started using email, my open rates were routinely around 35% – 40%, and sometimes as high as 55% – 60%. Today, my lists are larger, but I am reaching fewer and fewer people as people unsubscribe, opt-out, or simply stop opening the email I send.
At the same time, traffic to my website has continued to increase, as more and more people read my blog posts. Not nearly as many as receive my email, but the people who come, are intersted. And so I am not ready to give up my newsletters, but a change is on horizion. What about you? Are you still clinging to the hope that email campaigns will deliver your next sale or are you ready for something new?