It isn’t easy being an email marketer, what with all of the new anti-spam rules in place for what can and can’t be sent, plus having to deal with open rates, click-through rates and people’s general lack of patience for reading through an email. It is easy to make mistakes when sending emails, but there are four huge ones that you need to avoid at all costs.
Sending without permission
As we said, anti-spam rules are strict and you can find yourself in deep hot water by sending unwarranted marketing emails to those who haven’t given you permission. Even as a small business, you can’t just network at an event, collect email address and start sending emails. Most reputable email service providers will all have an opt-in service and some even have ones that require a double opt-in so you can really, really ensure that your reader wants your emails.
Not connecting with your reader
A large part of this email marketing thing is connecting with your readers. If you can’t bond with them in some form, they won’t buy your products or services. It’s easy to send an email espousing the greatness of what you are selling, but if it doesn’t instantly give your readers that feeling of needing it, you’ve lost them. One of the most important ways to ensure a connection is to segment your lists so you are actually sending useful information to those who need/want it. There are so many ways to segment your lists, including:
- Product interest
- Buying behaviour
Once you know you are sending your emails to the right people, you’ll also have to make sure you are focusing on them and not on your product. Matthew Smith in an article on Zapier says that “Emails should serve the customer, not the product”. He says, “Serving customers comes by meeting them in their email client with simple tasks and giving them more than they expect or more than they are paying for with their time.” You are better able to connect with your reader when you talk about them and not you. That’s the first rule of dating and of email marketing.
As well, connecting with your reader requires you to allow them to connect back. If you send an email from a no-reply email, it shows them you just want them to do what you say and basically, not talk back. Rob Walling, the Founder of Drip, says that “People want to interact with people, not mailboxes”. It is up to you to give them that opportunity and if that means they can click reply and get a response, you better make sure your emails are capable of handling this.
Making it sound too good
No one wants to be sold to, even when you are actually selling to them. If you over-hype yourself, you’ll lose the trust of your readers. Simple ways that marketers overhype in an email:
- Sending them too often
- Ridiculous subject line
- Not giving value to the customer in the email (besides the sales pitch)
- Too many calls to action
- Emails that are too long
While all of these are definite faux-pas, one of the worst would be the over-hyped subject line. Baited headlines might get people clicking, but it could also get people losing trust in your overall brand. Dan Norris of WP Curve says that “When I see consistent headlines that draw me into an email with very little substance, I immediately associate the sender with spammy IM techniques and it impacts on how much I trust their brand”. He states that headlines or subject lines that imply something that isn’t in the email are the worst kinds of click bait and should be stopped. His advice? “Always do what’s best for your readers and your subscribers, and delight them with ever email.” This is the best way to ensure those open rates become click-rates and purchases.
Not being who they are
Your emails are essentially an extension of who you or your brand is. Don’t lose that voice when sending them. If your brand espouses a lively personality, don’t send formal emails. If your brand tailors to sophistication, don’t send a colourful, child-like email. Paul Jarvis, a bestselling author and web designer says “People probably signed up for your list because they liked your unique voice, your point of view, the way you do things that isn’t the same as everyone else. So when you’ve got something to sell them, keep your personality and voice shining through.” Sandi Macpherson, Founder of Quibb agrees saying that brands need to tell their story in their emails.
These four mistakes can mean death to your email marketing strategy and possibly your brand. Take notice and don’t make them!