In today’s business world, there are a wide variety of marketing strategies to choose from. The expansion of social media and content marketing had little effect on the use of email marketing. In fact, most businesses still utilize email marketing, not only for sales pitches and advertisements but also to build relationships and encourage customer loyalty.
Although email marketing can be highly beneficial, poorly conducted email marketing campaigns can cause damaged reputations, offended customers and wasted effort. Avoid the following five common mistakes to make email marketing work for you:
1. Poorly Written Subject Line
Most consumers and business customers have an avalanche of email to sort through every day, so boring or otherwise nondescript subject lines are a ticket to the trashcan or spam folder. The ordinary, bland flavor of subject lines used by many businesses actually tends to put customers off and discourages them from reading the content of the mail.
On the other hand, overcompensating for a boring subject line can cause similar problems. Sensational subject lines will often make people believe that your message is spam.
Make your subject lines work for you by creating distinctive and engaging subject lines that unfold into captivating content. In other words, your subject line should describe the content of your email in a friendly, creative way. This isn’t always simple, but think of it this way: you should spend as much time writing your subject line as you are creating the actual content of the email. Otherwise, you risk not having your email opened in the first place.
2. Aggressive or Boring Content
Getting recipients to open your email marketing messages comprises only half the challenge of email marketing. The other half involves commanding your recipients’ attention and motivating them to act. If you send content that offers no value to readers, you won’t keep them engaged with your message.
Even if your emails are informative, they still shouldn’t read as an incoherent list of information. Also, you may get tempted to include multiple Call to Action, which often appears aggressive and discourages your customers from engaging with your brand.
Remember that your email needs to be short and simple. Avoid the temptation of addressing multiple points in one email, as it may make your customers lose focus. Rather than concentrating exclusively on your sales pitch, use your email messages to build relationships with your recipients. Do this by providing helpful information such as problem-solving tips, links to “how-to” articles and product insights.
Providing relevant, valuable information builds the authority of your brand and engenders trust. After a while, your recipients will look for your email messages, knowing that they contain a value. In many cases, they will respond by becoming your loyal customer.
3. Sending Too Many or Too Few Emails
Business owners naturally want to increase their sales and profits, so they tend to think that more exposure to customers will result in more success. Too many emails, however, can dilute the value of your brand and cause your recipients to lose their patience. If you fail to exercise restraint, your audience will regard your messages as spam.
Sending too few email messages can also create problems because people can quickly forget about your brand and start paying attention to your competitors. Studies suggest that most people like to receive emails either weekly or monthly, while very few people want to receive marketing emails daily. Studies also show that most companies send between one and three emails monthly. Try to achieve balance so that you don’t miss sales opportunities and avoid becoming bothersome.
4. Not Understanding the Features of Your Email Provider
Spend the necessary time to learn all available features offered by your email provider. Outlook, for example, can be configured to allow you to recall emails, a feature that can rescue you in case you send an email message that contains errors. If you use Microsoft Publisher, you can use data from your email list to create personalized marketing content.
Gmail also supports some mail merge features and offers a useful “canned responses” function that can automatically send replies. You can use canned responses in Gmail to pre-write messages to use in response to incoming email inquiries. The time-saving feature ensures that everyone who replies to your marketing emails can quickly get a prompt and thorough response from your business.
Features such as the ones provided by Google and Microsoft can boost your marketing efforts. If you’re unfamiliar with these features and fail to use them, you are basically wasting your resources
5. Email List Is Not Segmented
Businesses often fail in their email marketing efforts because they take a one-size-fits-all approach that sends the same message to their entire list. Such an approach fails to consider the various needs of the different types of customers that you have on your list.
Segmentation divides your email marketing list into subgroups that have similar characteristics to increase sales. The benefits of segmentation include the potential for increased customer engagement and sales. You can also recognize and extend special offers to particular groups of customers, such as first-time buyers. As a result of segmentation, your email messages have more relevance to each recipient, so fewer of your emails will end up either discarded or in spam.
6. Making Your Emails Too Personal or Impersonal
It is a widely known fact that impersonal subject lines and generic content are viewed as spam. Your customers don’t want to feel like they’re talking to a robot or a machine. Instead, customers desire a human touch.
Sending impersonal emails imply that the business is not devoted to customers’ individual needs. However, in order to avoid this, many businesses go to a different extreme and end up creating email marketing campaigns that are too personal.
Over-personalizing your email can have severe consequences for your businesses. In the best case scenario, customers will find you ‘weird’ and your messages will end up in the spam folders. In addition, over-personalization can be viewed not only as strange, but also as a full-blown invasion of privacy, resulting in many people unsubscribing from your email list and losing trust in your brand.
To achieve the balance between impersonal and overly-personal campaigns, you need to be responsible with your customer data. Sometimes, customers are willing to share personal information in order to enhance their shopping experience. However, in many cases, your customers are not ever of how much your business knows about them. You need to establish boundaries and respect people’s privacy – only then can your customers trust you.
To sum up, email marketing offers much potential to all types of businesses. At the same time, there is also the potential for mistakes. In order to avoid some common pitfalls of email marketing, you need to evaluate your marketing campaign and implement any changes necessary.
As you build your email campaigns, you will recognize the power of a great subject line and valuable content. You will also benefit from sending emails at an appropriate frequency and using all the features available from your email provider to improve your communications. Personalize your content properly, add segmentation to the mix, and you will have everything you need to execute a stellar email marketing campaign.
Heather Redding is a tech enthusiast and freelance writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys swimming and reading. Street photography is her newly discovered artistic outlet and she likes to capture life’s little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.