Lately, I have been running facebook ads to build my email list. One of the the questions I was asked was about open rates. In fact this is such a concern that I have been asked about this a couple of times. Once, one of the people that asked about it, was literally trying to convince me that emails don't work in Nigeria. Well I had a few things to say and I'll share some of the things I shared with him in this post.
The very first thing to note is that email works in Nigeria just as it would anywhere else. sometimes, people have very unrealistic expectations. Around the world, the recognised average on email open rates is anywhere between 20 - 30% even for very engaged industries and this still yields phenomenal results when compared to social media platforms for selling products and services.
Let's bring it home to Naija, In my time serving and helping people build email lists, I find that it's just about the same. The open rates are anywhere from 20 - 30% and the click through rates are still standard as you would find anywhere. The only place you would likely have a challenge off the bat would be conversions. Nigerians are more distrusting simply because, the order of the day is that people believe that you are first trying to scam them the minute you try to sell anything so before you sell anything to a Nigerian audience, you have to incorporate trust building into your sales funnel to eliminate this bias.
When you build a list and are still not getting good open rates, you can examine the reasons below as I find that many people can fall afoul of any of them and still expect good open rates. Here are 5 possible reasons why your emails are not being opened.
1. You bought an email list!
I think this is the most annoying thing ever. I remember one day I got an email from Rome Business School in Nigeria. I had never given them my email and never opted in for their list, so first of all I was wondering how they got my email. The worst part was when I emailed them to confront them about the issue, I simply got crickets(silence). What do you think would have happened before I eventually blocked them and marked their email as spam? Naturally, I stopped opening their emails. Obviously they bought my email off some miscreant and now they keep emailing me. Sometimes, it makes me feel they keep changing addresses so that they can keep sending annoying emails. However, the point here is, you cannot be expecting your audience to be engaged if they didn't optin by themselves to receive communication from you.
2. You offered the wrong freebie
When your freebie is not aligned with what you actually offer, the chances are that you would end up getting the wrong person for your list because you have not made the effort to align what you offer for your freebie to the thing that your target audience would most likely want
3. You changed your market/Niche
I've seen this happen to me. My first real online business was an animation business, however then I didn't know about list building. That was my get your feet wet business when it comes to running businesses online. The next businesses I ran however were much much different and I built email lists. The most recent one that I built an email list of over #2500 people, I realised that when I changed to my current niche about building email lists and business, naturally, many of those people didn't open the emails because I took them from one end of the spectrum(it was CV writing) to the other, this is something you have to be mindful of as well.
4. Your Headlines/Email titles are boring
This one goes without saying. Your emails are like a window to what your email is made of. If you can't learn how to craft catchy email titles, it's easy form people to ignore your emails, after all yours is not the only one that is clamouring for attention in their inbox. Try to make sure that your email headlines or titles pique their curiosity and grab their attention so that they can open it and see what its all about.
5. You never run any sales
I have found that where many emails go wrong, a sales email can never go wrong. At the end of the day, people love good deals. Some of the highest open rates I've seen in my business have been emails about sales. This is also very ironic because this is one of the things many people are scared about when it comes to running an online business. They are typically scared of selling.
AT the end of the day, the point of this brief article is to let you know that you should not believe anyone that says that emails don't work in Nigeria. Rather than complain, work through the list above and see if there is something you should be doing and are currently not doing it. I wish you all the best!
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