21 reasons why I’ll delete your email in 3 seconds – Part 1

Econsultancy.com just wrote an article – “25 Reasons why I’ll leave your website in 10 seconds.” As I was reading this article, I realized that a lot of these can apply to an email. Since you really only have about 3 seconds to catch the reader’s attention with an email, how can you make it a convincing 3 seconds. Or rather how can you not make people push delete shortly after opening.

I have gone through the 25 reasons and picked out the most applicable and have created a few more. Let’s dig in…

1. Slow load times. If you have added special graphics or too many images that are taking too long to load, chances are your recipient will not wait for them. They want information right away and do not have the time to wait for yours to come.

2. Prioritisation of ads vs content. If you do use advertising in your emails make sure it does not take precedence over your valuable content. Your recipients do not read your email for the advertising it has, rather they expect valuable content that will benefit them.

3. Woeful navigation. You don’t want your email to be a big scrolling message, so you add jumps to another page to continue the content. Make sure it is clear and enticing for someone to continue reading. How much information do you provide? Where does the link lead them to? Is it clear the content has continued? Navigation needs to be intuitive, descriptive and straightforward.

4. Poor scent trails. With email, poor scent trails fall under the category of email relevancy. If a customer has requested specific information and you send them a lot of other information that may or may not be relevant to them, they will most likely have a negative reaction to it. Your job as an email marketer is to provide the most relevant information to your customer base, whether that is segmented or not. You can use surveys to help determine this or analyze your previous campaign results.

5. Key information is AWOL. If you put together an email campaign to announce a product/promotion or to invite people to an event but leave key information out, your readers will most likely move on without a second glance at the email and not attempt to find the missing information. Be clear and straightforward if you want to see positive results.

6. Immediate registration demands. Email marketing is about pursueing your leads and customers and building trust with them so that when you do announce a promotion or event they will be more than willing to sign up. Do not put the call to action too early in the email series or too early in a single email. People need to know what is it in for them and the benefits you have to offer before they will click or sign up for anything.

7. Typos. Need I say more. If you do not edit your email campaigns before they are sent, you will come off as unprofessional and careless. This is the simplest way to make sure your email is well-crafted and if not done it is the simplest way to turn off a recipient.

8. Rubbish fonts. The focus of an email campaign is its content right? So, choose fonts that are simple enough that they guide the message not detract from it. The level of professionalism you portray can decrease when you make the wrong font choice. Hint: Please don’t ever use Comic Sans (unless you are marketing for a preschool…)

9. Narrow emails. Be wary of the layout of your email. Do you use one column, two columns, more? Focus on the scannability and the readability of your email. With 600px you have some space to work with. Take advantage of it.

10. Left-aligned emails. Again, readability is key.

11. Cookie cutter websites. You still need to catch the eye of the reader so that your valuable content is read. Browse through previous email campaigns and determine which layouts have worked the best for you in the past. What else can you add to get the attention it deserves?

Stay tuned for 10 more reasons… As for now, what else would add to this list?


  1. Our Favorite Posts: Top Ten from 2011 « Swiftpage Email Marketing blog - December 28, 2011

    […] 21 Reasons Why I’ll Delete Your Email in 3 Seconds – Ok, so this was really 3 posts in a series, but the series taught all of us email marketers […]

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