Email Campaign or Essay Question? You Decide.

The email campaign below from Integra, a regional provider of business voice and data solutions based in Vancouver, Washington, gets high marks for promoting content – in this case, a “buyer’s guide” – but on all other counts, the email reads like the opening to a term paper, not the hard-hitting, action-oriented lead generation campaign it should be.

Integra Email CampaignLet me count the ways in which this campaign went off the rails:

1. The header is one image, which means the majority of email readers (who turn images off by default) won’t even see the large Integra logo, the smiling man, or the quizzical headline.

Even if the headline were visible, there’s nothing here to suggest value, or what I’ll learn, or anything resembling a call to action. It’s only halfway down the page that I’m finally offered a reason to respond.

2. The opening paragraph (“If your business is like most Small and Midsized Businesses …”) falls victim to one of email marketing’s worst copywriting clichés – the “If You’re This, Then You’re That” method. At best, this tells me something I already know. So why should I care?

3. But wait, there’s more! I get two – count ‘em – two more paragraphs of meaningless drivel:

* “The adoption of cloud technologies is exploding …”
* “The growth in cloud usage opens up immense opportunities …”

Again, why on earth am I being told this? Remember, if you don’t grab the reader in the first two paragraphs, the game is lost. An effective B2B email immediately delivers the What (the offer), the Why (the key benefit), and the How (the call to action). This email does none of the above.

4. At least I’ll credit Integra for offering a buyer’s guide that purports to answer key questions facing SMBs who are evaluating cloud technology, but even the offer description falls flat. For one, it would have been much better presented in bulleted points that are scannable at a glance, not another long paragraph in an already stodgy email.

Secondly, the paragraph is all first person: “We’ll explain the advantages Ethernet delivers …” so it sounds like a sales pitch, versus second person: “You’ll read about the advantages Ethernet delivers …” which would imply information of value and the benefits of responding.

5. I like the way the call to action is presented (finally!) in both text and button form, but by then it’s too late. Most readers aren’t going to get past the first two paragraphs before they ask: “Why am I reading this?”

For a more detailed discussion of what mistakes to avoid in B2B email marketing, download our free white paper: “Top 10 B2B Email Marketing Mistakes.”

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