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In all the discussion of whether email marketing lives, or whether email marketing is dead, business owners sometimes get caught up in the big picture- at the industry-level- when it would be much more advantageous (and more profitable) to focus on their own audiences.

Stated another way; email marketing is alive if you’re using it well and it’s working for your business. “Working” means either generating you new clients, or helping to retain the clients you already have. Email marketing is dead if you never email your subscribers, or, (perhaps worse) if you email them and they don’t respond.

The main difference between a living email marketing campaign and a dying email marketing campaign is found in three factors that make your audience WANT to read your emails.

The first factor is relevancy. So much has been written about relevancy, yet, still, emails go out which are highly irrelevant. I’m thinking about the most obvious manifestation of this- spam- but, also, messages which are based around ideas or information that is important to you; but may not be important to your readers. If your readers don’t believe that what you share is relevant, they will stop reading. Similarly, if your readers find it highly relevant, they are likely to comment, share, and tell others.

The second factor is timeliness. This refers to the idea that what you are sharing is meaningful to them right now. Relevancy is more about applicability, where timeliness is about usability right now. Can they immediately benefit from what you are sharing? Does it solve a problem or concern that they are grappling with right now? If not, what could you change so it does? The best experience a reader can have is one where they feel you understand them so well that you’ve answered the question they haven’t even asked yet.

The third factor is accessibility. This refers to the idea that your emails are easy to read, and formatted for their medium. So, for example, if your audience uses mobile devices to read your newsletters, your emails are formatted to be easily accessible on mobile devices. If you mail very frequently, your emails vary in length, so that you’re always cognizant of your audience’s time and energy for whatever you’re sharing.

There are other factors at play, of course, but these three reflect those most responsible for audience attention and engagement. Get these right, and your audience will happily read anything you send.