By Susan Guillory

The other day, I was reading an email on my tablet when my son walked by. He looked puzzled.

“Is that an email?”

I snorted. I snorted because the thing was 2,400 words long and I was struggling to get through it.

“Yep. It’s super long though. Too long, in fact.”

“Yea, I wouldn’t read it,” said the sage 12-year-old.

Well, at least that crazy long email has inspired me to tell you what not to do when it comes to sending emails to your customers.

1. Your Email is Hella Long

I gave up reading that email after a few paragraphs. An email isn’t a blog post. It’s not a book. It’s meant to capture your subscribers’ attention and maybe send them to your website where they can read the rest of your litany.

An email should have fewer than 300 words, in my mind. If you have more to say, put a “keep reading” link to your website where you can be as verbose as you want to be.

2. There’s No Point to It

I know sometimes it’s easy to get into a rhythm of sending out emails on a schedule, but so many are just plain pointless.

Ask yourself: What do I want to achieve with this email? Do I want people to click to buy a product? Respond to me with answers to my survey? Share it with friends? Laugh? Cry?

If you send an email newsletter, that’s great. You can share informative content (only a snippet, though!) and maybe a special offer. That special offer is really the purpose of your newsletter beyond simply trying to stay top of mind with your audience. You want them to click to redeem the offer, so make it a good one.

3. You Send Far Too Many Emails

I understand that promotional emails are designed to get people to buy, but can I tell you how many emails I ignore every day because they’re sending them all the damn time?

Today, it was about 10. Brands like Michael’s, Coach, and ModCloth send me far too many emails (how often do I need a Coach purse??) and don’t let me customize my email subscription to a reduced frequency. Bad move.

Pay attention to your email analytics to understand at what frequency people start to unsubscribe, then dial it back. Less is more, for sure.

4. You Don’t Know What Email Analytics Are

Wait, what? Analytics? What are you talking about, Susan?

Your email marketing software has information built in that will tell you how many people open a given email and how many click links inside. This is gold, people, because it tells you how well you’re doing.

You might find that your email with the subject line “Our Products are What You Need!” got very few opens, but the one with the subject “Save 40% + Free Shipping” got phenomenal opens. That’s useful because now you know how to structure your subject lines to get more opens.

Simply blasting out emails without a strategy or paying attention to results is absolutely useless, and it’s creating digital clutter. Put a little effort into what you’re doing, and I promise you’ll see better results.