Email Marketing: An Email is Not a Website

Each email in a marketing campaign should have a singular purpose and drive toward that singular purpose. That’s not to say that there might not be a secondary or tertiary focus, but there should not be confusion on the primary thing that the email is offering the audience. There definitely should not be ancillary information thrown in with no discernible purpose.

I write this article after receiving an offer for a free eBook. That’s an easily digestible primary purpose. A quick scan of the email lets me see an image of the eBook and some teaser copy to draw me in to the content. But then I attempt to take the next step . . .

There are links to the company’s about us website page, services page, media page, and contact us page strewn across the top of the email in a tab layout. Not one of those will take me to the offer I’m interested in. There is a bio about the person sending the eBook offer at the bottom of the email. Oddly this bio is not about the author of the eBook but a bio of the sender that is associated with the same organization as the author. Basically it’s a bio that has nothing to do with the eBook. There is a text link in the body that takes me to the sender’s homepage but there no information on the homepage about the eBook.

So I come up empty in my scanning. Let me be clear that in almost every case this email would have been deleted and I would have moved on. It was my curiosity at how this email completely failed to keep its focus that spurred me to really dig into it. It turned out that the banner image just under all the tabs would take me to the landing page. Most confusing about that is that seventy-five percent of the banner was text with no clear visual tip that it was a clickable image.

This email was designed to function as a website with almost all the content from the website clickable from one spot.

Emails are not websites and in many ways that’s a great thing. Websites need to have a page for all your possible audiences that arrive there. Hence a navigation structure to find the desired content. An email has the advantage of a single focus to promote one call to action. That simplicity can make it much more focused and appealing to the audience because they can make a yes or no decision on whether they want what is offered. Since the focus is on that one thing it’s easy for them to access it. If that call to action does not resonate with an individual then the following emails in the campaign have the opportunity to do so.

Don’t try to fit everything you do or offer into a single email. It will distract from your call to action and doesn’t bring a meaningful advantage.

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