Friction & Anxiety: The Enemies of Successful Email Marketing

Posted by Kevin Jorgensen

Nov 15, 2011 10:51:00 AM

Friction and anxiety are present in every marketing email. They push readers toward ignoring or deleting a message. Email marketers who don't respect the importance of  friction and anxiety will never achieve stellar click through rates and risk alienating subscribers.

- Friction is the psychological resistance to elements in the email

Friction is caused by forcing subscribers to think or act. Friction interrupts momentum toward taking the desired action. An email with too much friction will be deleted. Friction factors include:  

  • Longer copy (longer than 30 seconds to read)
  • Using several calls-to-action (instead of one)
  • Confusing or distracting graphics (looks more like an ad than an email)

Friction is also generated by emails that do not follow the typical subscriber's thought process. For example, the call-to-action should not be presented until the subscriberClick Through Killers understands why they've received the message and why they should respond to the offer. Otherwise, the email is calling them to act before they see a clear benefit.

- Anxiety is concern caused by something in an email

Prospects naturally have a heightened sense of anxiety when going through their inboxes. They receive emails every day, some of which may be malicious. If you read a subject in your preview pane that starts "You May Have Already...", 9 times out of 10 you will delete that email without reading further. Even if that email doesn't have a virus, the title alone tells you that it's probably a scam. Your email must quickly put prospects at ease and convince them that you are offering a valuable, safe deal.

The best emails instill trust and read like simple, personal letters. Email is after all, mail. Emails should personally address recipients and quickly explain:

  • Why the email was sent
  • Provide a relevant offer and compelling incentive

Establishing trust immediately in the subject can dramatically impact your click rates. The less you treat your email like an ad, and the more you overcompensate to remove anxiety, the better response you will get.  

These and hundreds of other pearls of email marketing wisdom are in our free, new ebook, The Expert's Guide to Email Marketing. Download your copy today.


Topics: Email Marketing


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