Email marketing is changing right under our MailChimpy fingers. In fact, it’s iterating swiftly into what I call a MOBILE MOMENT, like a tweet or a text, only with more context and hopefully more staying power.

This is what I say when my B2B clients ask me if email has seen its day.

‘There’s more disruption in the wind, and smart email marketers are adapting and using it to their advantage.’

So, are you ready for MY eight email disruptors? No? Guess what. That’s number one.


Disruptor #1: We email readers have no attention span.

Duh, right? But stay with me. Over the past year my marketing customers have changed how we structure B2B email newsletters. We pick one topic, drill deep, write long, edit ruthlessly, and we strive to be memorable. We figure we have about 5 seconds for the reader to scan the newsletter and maybe glean something.

If you think this is a disqualifier for email newsletters as a sales and marketing option, it’s not. Email is ideal for quick reads, with short paragraphs and mobile-adapted formats. It’s just that we as email marketers are finally delivering the right kind of message to go with the medium.

Disruptor #2: We’re not reading at our desks anymore.

Okay, we knew that already, too. Yet many email marketers keep sending content that requires the user to work hard to read it, process it, save it, forward it or share it.

If you’re like me, there’s nothing so frustrating as trying to share worthwhile content and not having a share button…or a share button that shares the link but no blurb. I’m on my phone, marketers. I’m not going to do your work for you!

Disruptor #3: We’re protecting our inboxes more vigilantly.

Olden days: you got a cute email and you shared the heck out of it. Jokes, puppies, more jokes, Then you watched your email inbox fill up as everyone hit REPLY ALL and commented. These days: no one wants to risk an inbox influx, and sharing via email is done SELECTIVELY. If you expect your email missive to go viral via forwarding, it’s pretty unlikely. Make it shareable via social and make it easy for people to do so wherever they like.

Disruptor #4: We’re not deleting emails.

Yeah, everyone says they delete emails, but they don’t. Inboxes these days are huge. Make your email content searchable with intuitive words so readers can go back and search their inboxes later. Use alternate phrasing and try to use the words your readers will remember.

Also, I shouldn’t have to say this, but here goes. Please have your FROM email address be something recognizable, preferably with a person’s name. This will ward off the dreaded spam button and it will also help with inbox searching. They may not remember what they liked about your email, but they’ll remember who it was from. Capitalize on that.

Disruptor #5: We’re dealing with politically polarized audiences this year.

If you want to piss someone off irrevocably, be a jackass about politics. If you have strong feelings and want to express them professionally in a business email, your good intentions may be received in the spirit it was meant, but other people — even those who agree with you — will block you anyway. Be aware.

Disruptor #6: Readers have have high expectations about the quality of your content.

I’ll be blunt. If you don’t have anything to say, don’t persist in using email to communicate. If you do have something to say but don’t know how to express it — or you don’t have a concrete and interesting point of view — then get a professional to help you. Your content should improve the world, not add to the floating barges of recycled crap content. Be original and be good.

Disruptor #7: Readers live in a world beyond their screen.

If you can relate to WHERE your readers are when they read your emails, and HOW they are relating to the world right then, you can add context to your emails. People who spend a lot of money doing this can add context dynamically, on the fly, and it’s pretty cool. If you can’t afford that, then do some deeper research on your audience, try out your assumptions through A/B testing, and make your communications relevant and applicable to your reader’s momentary reality as best you can.

And now the BIG ONE (and congrats for making it this far):

Disruptor #8: You ARE are the one your audience wants to hear from.

When I give presentations on this subject, someone will usually say, “But no one wants my opinion.” You might think no one wants to hear your point of view or learn from your experiences, but they do. Trust me on this. You’re better than you think you are, and the right audience is going to rely on you for trusted content presented in a way that rings their bell.

Serving an audience of people who love you is SO worth it in this crazy, complex world.

Email marketing is changing, and if you take these disruptors into consideration, you’ll be on the leading edge of transformational email communication this year,

See more from Sandy

Sandy Hubbard is a marketing strategist for printing companies. She builds marketing programs that can be sustained over the long haul, with affordable tools and your own people…and without stress! Find @sandyhubbard on Twitter each Wednesday at 4 PM ET, assisting #PrintChat host Deborah Corn @PrintMediaCentr  with a lively online discussion for printers and those who love print.

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