To someone who remembers when there wasn’t any email it seems odd to think email marketing can be considered “old hat.” While it is mature, it is still very effective. Studies show that permission-based email and direct mail are the number 1 ways people want to be contacted for promotional offers and information.
There are pitfalls and challenges to email marketing so having a well-thought out strategy is important. It is also important to avoid the most common email marketing mistakes.
Every customer is different. They have different needs and different backgrounds. In a perfect world, you would be able to send a unique, individual email to every recipient. Because that is really not possible, segmenting your email is the next best thing. If you have a diverse line of services or if you have customers who order different levels of product within the same group, track their buying so that you send emails that contain information your customers and prospects want to receive.
If you send everything to everybody you are one step below being SPAM. Inboxes are overstuffed enough as it is. Giving someone information they don’t want or need is wasting their time. By segmenting your recipients into as many groups as possible and sending only email relevant to those groups, you will see a higher click-through rate and obtain better results. Plus, your customers and prospects will actually look forward to your emails.
If you are not paying attention to the response rates to your emails then you are failing your customer. Whether response rates drop sharply or increase sharply, find out why and adapt your message content.
Most email marketing software allows you to Split-Test (test different versions of a message) in order to try out different messages. Use this great tool to learn what does and doesn’t work. Test on a regular basis to identify changing trends, market shifts and so on.
If you don’t link back to your website how do you make it possible for someone to take the next step to buy something? Sure they can call or email, but directing recipients to your website provides another way for an individual to get more information and convert to a customer. Plus increasing your website traffic isn’t a bad thing either.
A subset to this mistake would be only linking to your website’s home page or just putting links in an email for the sake of throwing links in. Only put in useful links and link to pages on your website that are relevant to the content of the email.
Some emails really look great with awesome designs and graphics. Consider this before you press the send button. Many of the people receiving your email will be doing so on a mobile device like a smart phone or tablet. Just what kind of problems are you causing these people when they receive your email? Some email layouts look great on a desktop computer but are impossible to read on a smart phone screen. Some graphics may not load correctly or at all. Plus if you use text in those graphics your mobile users will not get your complete message.
Most people will not take the time to decipher an email message if it isn’t clear within a few seconds. Mobile users are even more impatient, so if you want to make sure everyone on your email list is ecstatic to receive your email, test the design to make sure it is readable on all devices that receive email.
Most email marketing software makes sure that your emails are compliant with federal “Can Spam” regulations. However, not everyone uses email-marketing software. No matter what you do, make sure you are compliant by providing a physical address, easy ability to unsubscribe and a way you can be contacted.
Federal regulations also require that you only email to people who want to receive your emails. This is called “Opting In” or “Permission Based” email. If you don’t have permission to send email marketing to someone, don’t send it until they give you permission. It doesn’t matter how big your list is if most of the people on it don’t want it and don’t even know who you are. They will either unsubscribe our report your email as Spam.
The main reason people unsubscribe from an email list is that they receive too many emails. Don’t email too frequently and don’t email too infrequently. The first annoys people and the second causes them to forget about you. How do you find the right balance? Test. When in doubt, limit your emails to once a month or more frequently if you have a highly segmented list or have something truly important to offer.
Because it is a very popular form of marketing, in order to be effective you need to send out very relevant emails that are well thought out and part of an overall marketing strategy that is integrated with all your other marketing to help your customers and prospects.