A. Over the past few years, many have seen email marketing as ‘old school’. The younger generation is all about getting their information via text messages, instant messaging, and Facebook messaging. They seem not to have a need for emails any more. Despite all that, however, there is still a viable reason why email marketing will stay strong. Email marketing is still a cost-effective way to build strong relationships with your target customers. Providing you power your emails with value, email marketing is a win-win strategy.
Now, to answer your question, Joel, there are definitely things you need to look out for so you can avoid making email marketing mistakes.
Let’s take a look at eight mistakes I see many email marketers make:
1. Not having a strategy: When you started your business, you created a business plan so you would have a road map to help you stay on track. Email marketing is no different. Know your goals. How often will you send your emails? Will your emails be promotion, informative, or a combination of both? What are your desired results?
2. Not asking for permission: New, and some seasoned, business owners think that just because someone handed them a business card that it gave them permission to send them marketing emails. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you want to be seen as a spammer, then go right ahead and everyone’s name to your list, but if you want to be a trusted sender – ASK PERMISSION first.
Another no-no is buying lists. Here too, people will see you as a spammer and will report you as such. Your list should be built upon trust. Plus, you want your list to be filled with interested subscribers. They are the ones who will eventually make a purchase – not someone you spammed. Build your list organically by adding an opt-in box on your website, and/or a sign-up sheet at your brick and mortar location.
3. Having a bogus subject line: If your subject line says: “5 Fun Facts About Fancy Fish”, then I’m going to expect that your content is going to tell me just that. However, when I open your email and all I see are sales promotions – and no fun facts about fancy fish, you no longer are a trusted sender. You lied to me. Make sure your subject line EXACTLY reflects your content.
4. Inconsistent ‘from’ line: This is one of my pet peeves. Tell me who you are, and be consistent about it. Your email address, and/or ‘from’ name needs to tell the recipient who the email is from. When you begin your email marketing campaign, decide how you will look in someone’s inbox, and stick to it. The ‘from’ line should read like this: email@example.com and/or John Doe. I should see it the same way every time I get your email. The moment you send an email using firstname.lastname@example.org – you’ve lost me, and I won’t open your email.
5. Sending unrelated content: When your subscribers opted in to receive your emails, they trusted that you would send them relevant content regarding your industry. A travel agent promising emails filled with travel adventures should not turn around and begin writing about skin care.
6. Closing the doors of communication: Sending value filled content is crucial, but many business owners forget to open the lines of conversation by forgetting to allow their readers to engage in further conversation. You want to allow dialogue so that you can continue the conversation. Link your email content to your blog. Give them a call to action – ask your readers to leave a comment.
7. No way to share your value: No matter how many people you have on your permission-based list, you could always use more exposure. So many email marketing service providers have the option for you to add social media share links in your emails. Daily, I receive marketing emails from business owners, and they have not left me with a way to share their email on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Constant Contact and Aweber both have this built into their system. It takes a click to activate it in each email you send. It confuses me as to why people aren’t using this amazing tool.
8. Not using the reports: I mentioned Constant Contact and Aweber in Number 7, but there are a slew of email marketing service providers you can choose from. Each one of them has a reporting system where you can actually see who opened your email, who clicked a link, and much more. By reviewing your reports, you can get a better understanding of how effective your marketing emails are.
9. Not allowing unsubscribe: Because email marketing is permission-based, you need to provide a way for your subscribers to unsubscribe when they no longer want to receive your emails. Give them an easy opt-out, and one that’s easy to find (preferably at the top of your emails).
Joel, I hope I gave you enough to go on before you begin your email marketing campaigns. I ask everyone to email me your questions, and I’ll do my best to get them answered.
What other mistakes do you see others make in their email marketing efforts? Leave your comments below.