Email marketing is a low-cost and efficient way of marketing your businesses, but too often, businesses make email marketing mistakes that cost them a lot of money. When properly managed, your email campaigns can deliver impressive ROI. Spending time planning an ethical approach to reaching your prospects will help you have a solid foundation for your success.
However, even after spending some time carefully planning their strategy, many businesses still make mistakes with email marketing. Seemingly innocent oversights can cost you regarding program effectiveness and lost website visitors. Sometimes the way you prepare your marketing emails can even discourage people from opening them. Get the best results from your email marketing effort by avoiding the following five mistakes.
Email marketing mistake #1. Sending Unsolicited Emails
Although practically everyone expects to receive spam in their email, most people still dislike receiving unsolicited messages. Make sure to follow the golden rule of only sending messages to customers and prospects who have given you permission to do so.
Sending email only to people who have chosen to subscribe will keep your company out of trouble and help you stay in the graces of the community. For your protection, you should keep adequate records of your subscribers so you can defend yourself if someone accuses you of sending spam.
Making the mistake of sending messages to purchased email lists or to email addresses obtained from people who declined to participate in your mailing list will result in paying a penalty in the form of a damaged reputation. Instead, operate your email campaign responsibly by providing a robust opt-in process that meets legal and industry requirements. You should also have an easy to follow cancellation process, so people don’t feel trapped into receiving your marketing content.
Most respectable email providers, like Constant Contact, Aweber, and MailChimp, ensure you’re following regulations that are part of CanSPAM, which will keep you out of hot water. But, even sending emails to subscribers is problematic, as new filters on Gmail and other email providers automatically send mass emails to a recipient’s social or promotions folder where they’ll never see them. Since Gmail started doing this, open rates have plummeted across brands.
The solution isn’t easy, relying on subscribers to identify particular email messages as belonging in their inbox. I’ve found these efforts largely unsuccessful.
Email marketing mistake #2. Choosing the Wrong Subject Line
Your subject line gives recipients a reason to either open or ignore your message. Such an important message component requires careful attention. Avoid long rambling subject lines that don’t ultimately appear in your recipients’ email clients or web browser. Invest some energy into crafting an active and exciting subject line that accurately communicates that content of your message.
Many companies make the mistake of adding overhyped subject lines to their messages only to disappoint their readers with unrelated content. A key element of any marketing campaign is to keep your promises.
Don’t use such a tactic to trick people into opening your messages. You and your business will receive better long-term results by taking an honest and sincere approach to your email marketing efforts.
Email marketing mistake #3. Targeting the Wrong Audience
Do you know who you want to reach with each marketing email message that you send? One of the biggest marketing mistakes companies make is failing to understand their audience. Don’t make the mistake of sending a single generic message to everyone on your list. You should instead craft specific messages for particular audiences to increase the relevance of your communication.
Just as you might use market segmentation to improve the effectiveness of your print or broadcast advertising, you can increase the success of your email marketing by segmenting your audience into distinct groups that have similar needs. Such a practice requires the creation of more content but results in better and more profitable connections.
Increasing the relevance of your messages to your recipients will reduce the number of cancellations and increase your click-through ratios. You also send a hidden message to your audience that tells them that you care enough about them to make an effort to meet their unique needs.
Email marketing mistake #4. Sending Emails of No Value to the Reader
Don’t waste your recipients’ time by sending messages that have no discernible purpose or make unreasonable requests or demands. Make an effort to supply valuable information to your market, so people learn to open your messages for fear of missing something important. Despite the seemingly obvious need to provide something meaningful and relevant to prospects, businesses of every size make the mistake of sending useless messages.
Providing value without demanding anything in return establishes your company as an authoritative voice in your industry. Doing so also builds relationships and gives your recipients a reason to share your messages with other people. Before sending an email blast, consider whether your message will help your recipients even if they don’t buy anything from you. If you don’t get an affirmative answer, rework your message until you have content that’s worth sending.
Email marketing mistake #5. Not Testing Your Emails
If you have ever used email, then you know how bad a poorly formatted message reflects on its sender. Similarly, messages that contain links that don’t work or graphics that malfunction communicate a careless attitude to recipients. Don’t make the mistake of sending email messages that you haven’t first tested by sending it to yourself.
Find out how your message looks in different email clients including Outlook, Google and Yahoo, so you have a chance to resolve formatting problems before hitting the send button. In most settings, you can quickly identify and solve problems before they become an embarrassment. You’ll also increase the effectiveness of your email campaign. Double check your links and images as well as your grammar.
Use A/B testing to evaluate the effectiveness of your emails and find ways to improve your presentation. Do this by sending variations of the same message to a small group of recipients to determine the version that gets the best response. Afterwards, you can send the best-performing message to the rest of your list.
Wrapping It Up
You can increase the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy by avoiding the mistakes that other companies often make. Never send unsolicited messages and always provide value to your audience. Segment your mailing list to increase the relevance of your content and spend some extra time proofreading and testing your emails before sending them. A professional and careful attitude towards email marketing will substantially contribute to the success of your business.
This is a guest post.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.
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