Your Competitors’ Emails Are Better Than Yours

OK, I went out on a limb with that post title, I confess. Maybe your competitors’ emails aren’t better than yours. But do you know? Do you know how they compare? Do you know how your emails stack up against the emails of “those other guys”?

It’s surprising to me how many marketers don’t subscribe to their competitors’ emails in order to see what they are up against. We’re all trying to stand out in the inbox. Shouldn’t we know what we are being compared to?

I say yes, we should.

The easiest and cheapest marketing research you’ll ever do
Doing this kind of comparison won’t cost you a dime, nor take up much time. You don’t have to sign up for any fancy software that will tell you what your competitors are up to. All you have to do to compare your emails to those of your competition is subscribe. Create another email address for yourself, choose your top three or four competitors, and take five minutes to go to each website and sign up.

Then pay attention to what shows up in your inbox from the very start.

Suggested things to consider when viewing competitor’s email marketing
Avoid the temptation to give the email a quick look and think you’ve delved into the differences. Really take a hard look. Review the emails and ask yourself questions like:

  • Did your competitor’s email get delivered to your inbox?
  • What kind of impression did it make?
  • What’s the From name?
  • What’s the subject line like? Does it make you want to open the email?
  • Do they use preheader text? Is it any good?
  • Does your competitor use a welcome email? How about a welcome email series? How long between your signup and receipt of that first email? What’s the quality of these emails?
  • What is your objective opinion of your competitor’s email? Consider the design, length and tone of content, imagery, clarity, the call to action, etc. Do you like what you see or is it cluttered? Is this an email you would want to get in your inbox?
  • What are they selling via email, what kinds of products or services?
  • How does your competitor’s email render on a mobile device?
  • Is there a link to a preference center?
  • What kind of cross-selling or up-selling is going on?
  • How frequently do they email you? What is the cadence like?
  • Do the emails have a familiarity about them over time?
  • Is there anything really compelling about these emails that you’d like to emulate?

Yes, I realize this is your competitor’s email and you might be challenged to be objective, but try. You have the potential to learn a lot about what else your prospects and customers are seeing. And you might just find out that my headline is bogus, and that, in reality, your emails rock compared to those of your competitors! If so, kudos!