Let’s start the week right by getting back to some email marketing basics. Marketers sometimes get carried away with elaborate strategies to get and keep customers, when the fundamentals are simple.
It’s equally simple to sabotage your email marketing efforts. You know how a great meal can be ruined by one bad piece of meat or a poorly cooked side dish? Pretend that email marketing is the meal. If you do the following, you can spoil all your hard work. Here are 10 ways you can easily ruin your email marketing efforts.
1. Buy Email Lists Randomly
Start as you mean to go on. By partnering with an acquisitions provider that triple-qualifies leads before allowing them into the sales funnel, you’ll get the prospects most likely to become customers. Buying lists randomly? Not so much. Every subscriber should willingly sign up and have the obvious option to leave should they want to.
2. Clam Up
While you may not think about it this way, email is a social platform. You want your emails to have options for subscribers to share your content with their friends, especially if it’s a newsletter. For example: there’s a great funny daily newsletter called the Toilet Paper. It organizes its funnies in a way that you can shoot off snippets via Twitter directly from the email. When all is said and done, make sure your email marketing campaigns are able to go beyond just that first person’s inbox.
3. Don’t Use An Email Service Provider
There are some great companies out there who can help you set up, manage, monitor and improve your campaigns—we happen to be one of them. With help from an email service provider, you’ll have access to best practices, efficient tracking and ways to get the most out of your email. By having an email managing platform, you can analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of your campaigns and monitor opens, clicks, deliverability metrics, and revenue from your email campaigns.
4. Don’t Give a Simple Unsubscribe
While it might seem counter-intuitive to do this, being able to unsubscribe from your email campaigns may not necessarily be a bad thing. A while back, there was a company who kept sending, and sending, and sending, no matter how much I clicked unsubscribe. I keep using their product, and I still do. I just don’t want the emails. I eventually had to call to figure out why I kept getting emails, and it was because, aside from the email unsubscribe, I also had to go through their webpage. Don’t do that! Give me one button, that says “Unsubscribe” and a confirmation page. That’s it … no more. Companies that don’t offer a simple, visible unsubscribe will likely have more of their emails marked as spam, which can hurt deliverability.
5. Act Like a Robot
While this changes depending on the type of approach you take to your email marketing, remember this: you’re emailing human beings, not just numbers. Personalize things as much as it makes sense (as with everything, test and retest!), and give people content they’ll be interested in. Don’t just sit back and expect to have a reaction from anti-social content.
6. Don’t Address The Problem
If you screw up, acknowledge it. Everyone knows it happens, and we would prefer it didn’t (I’m sure your boss would too). But the thing is, being able to address a problem with your email quickly, efficiently and most of all effectively is key. If you made a mistake, fix it, and tell people that you fixed it. Don’t ignore it, even if you don’t think it’s a huge deal. Honesty is the best policy.
7. Don’t Give Options
In some cases, it makes sense to offer different levels and types of subscriptions options as part of your email campaigns. Maybe someone doesn’t want an email from you every day, but would appreciate a weekly update. Maybe some people would rather receive only offers and sales, while others want an informational newsletter, too. As with anything, work with your ESP/email marketing manager and test to see what works.
8. Have a Vague Subject Line
Your subject line (and content, really) is the major factor in whether someone decides to take action when they see they have a new message waiting for them. We all know that you don’t get a second chance at a first impression, so make sure that first confirmation email has a good subject line too. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, test and retest! emailresponsibly.com has a great primer on subject line testing.
9. No Clear Call To Action
These can be obvious images (buttons are great), text, or a subtle nudge in the right direction with the right wording. Just as we saw with The Toilet Paper, if you want people to share your message, let them know; make a snippet and allow it to be easily transmitted with a Tweet button or a Facebook share. If you want people to take advantage of a limited-time sale or offer, design your creative so that it drives them to click. Without a clear call to action, your email campaigns won’t perform.
10. Assume Something Works
Assuming some particular aspect of your email marketing campaigns will work is a quick way to drain budget into a failed campaign. You should be doing enough testing and collecting enough data to show what is working and what isn’t. Assuming that tag line a over tag line b will work is poor judgment and an inefficient allocation of resources if you don’t have the proof for it. Assuming that image x over image y will work is not wise if the color scheme is off or is a poor design. Use available resources, thoroughly test everything and monitor your results; you will be a lot better off and save money while you’re at it.
Hopefully, you are avoiding the above tactics in your campaigns. Want to share other ways companies can ruin their email marketing efforts? Leave a comment and let us know!