As the famous adage goes, “Rumors of the demise of email marketing are grossly exaggerated.” When you consider that 2.5 billion people use email on a daily basis, it’s not a matter of email being dead. It’s a matter of how businesses are using email for their marketing purposes.
Consumers access their emails several times a day. They become frustrated when those inboxes are filled with sales and marketing messages from companies that are targeting or re-targeting them because they made a purchase or subscribed to receive emails.
And so, they go through common practice. First, they scroll down and look for emails from family, friends, their bank statements and bill reminders, etc., opening those they want to read immediately.
Then they go back and start checking those little boxes to the left, marking most marketing and sales messages for trash or as spam.
This happens because email marketers make some pretty common mistakes. If they can avoid these mistakes, though, chances are their emails will get opened, read, and, ideally, acted upon.
Here are the eight common mistakes made in email marketing campaigns.
No Optimization for Mobile
If your emails are not mobile friendly, you are going to lose an enormous customer base – the millions who access their emails via their phones every day. Consumers are busy, on-the-go people and they use their phones for almost everything. You have to be where they are, and that includes the devices they are using.
Be certain that your emails are designed for mobile first and test them frequently to be certain.
Buying Lists for Lead Generation
Big mistake. You are just asking for recipients to “spam” you. It hurts your reputation, annoys people who never asked to hear from you in the first place, and the return on your investment is basically nil.
Grow your email lists the right way. Draw people in with your great content and social media presence. If you have engaging and entertaining content, they will share your brand with others and subscribe to your email notifications.
The chances of getting a higher open rate are much greater when you take the time to nurture an audience with relationship building and some personalization.
Poor Subject Lines
This is perhaps the biggest challenge for email marketing campaigns. Think about how you go through your email yourself. You scan down senders, read those subject lines, and skip the ones that sound boring or look like just a sales pitch. Of course, an advertised discount in the subject line can be a motivator for consumers who are looking to get a great deal, and the announcement of that great deal in your subject line is appropriate sometimes. But more often you want an intriguing, engaging subject line that will pique enough interest to get open. Here are a few ways to get them.
-Subject lines call for lots of creativity. And most of us are not witty and creative. But we can find people who are. There are lots of writing services with creative writers and journalists who can craft those compelling subject lines for you.
Another great source for subject line ideas are title and headline generation tools. Type in a keyword or two, and you will get back as many as hundreds of potential headlines. A word of caution: others use these tools too. When you find a headline you like, be sure to change it out some.
Still another source may be co-workers, friends and family. We all know those few people who are clever and witty with words. Throw email topics out there and get some suggestions.
Not Segmenting Your Lists
You have several different groups you are trying to woo. You have those customers who have already purchased from you; you have those who have indicated an interest and looked into your products or services; and you have those who are learning about you for the first time.
These consumers are all in different places in their buying journeys and must be approached differently with your email campaigns. Lumping them all together and sending the same messages is lazy and does not honor their preferences in hearing from you. Segmenting your lists and personalizing emails as much as possible targets your segments with messages that relate to who and where they are.
For example, loyalty should have its rewards. You may want to give a nice big discount to customers who have purchased from you before. On the other hand, you might want to extend a “freebie” or a first-time customer discount to those new to your brand.
Not Balancing the Message
Your emails should be more about showing value, solving problems, and entertaining than giving offers. When the only thing you have to offer is a discount, you have nothing to put in the subject line that intrigues or motivates someone to open it. After all, even a current customer would like to see something other than sales and offers.
Just like you do with other content, tell stories, use humor, give inspirational messages, etc. Generate quizzes and surveys – people love them.
Not Engaging in analytics
If you don’t know what your open rate is for each of your emails, or how many of them have been shared, how do you know which types are received well and which are not?
Another part of analytics is far less scientific. If you are not asking your recipients for feedback, either directly or by way of surveys, then you are missing out on valuable information about what types of content they like most.
The third part of analytics involved A/B testing of subject lines. You should be sending the same email with two different subject lines. Knowing which of them gets more opens allows you to tailor your future subject lines along the same lines.
Sending too Many Emails
Customers and potential customers will see you as harassing, if you send out more than one email a week. The goal is to have your email be a pleasant surprise, not another sales pitch that just gets trashed. If you have great content, an enticing subject line and send out once every 7-10 days, your value increases.
You can create emails in advance and schedule them for automatic delivery – ain’t technology great?
Seeing Email as An End-All
If you don’t encourage sharing and interaction with your recipients, you are losing out on some great opportunities to do important things – enlarging your customer base through social sharing, and engaging recipients personally.
Consumers want to get to know who they are doing business with and want to have a trusting relationship with those people. A conversation does this, as well as visuals. Put some photos of you and your team in your emails. Let consumers put a “face” to the brands that are courting them.
Email campaigns can be powerful and effective. It’s a matter of what you say, how you say it, how often you communicate, and using the right tools to know what your audience likes and wants. Avoiding these mistakes and following these tips can turn your email outreach into a success.
Daniela McVicker is a blogger with rich experience in writing about UX design, content planning, and digital marketing. She is a contributor to many websites where she helps individuals and organizations improve their web content writing, design, and planning skills. Her posts are always packed with examples and actionable content that readers can put straight into the action.