Email marketing might be becoming a passé method of communication, soothed into submission by millennials’ need for instant communication. But, depending on your audience, it’s still a success method of communication with your customers. It’s success is derived from being a quick, cheap, highly customizable way to acquire new and manage existing customer relationships. Plus, every step of the process can be tracked and measured for success.
For more on email marketing, read “Email marketing marketing for a mobile audience.”
Todd Wasserman, by way of Mashable, reminds us of some common mistakes made in email marketing.
- Emailing Without Permission. Don’t start of on the wrong foot with your customer by invading their privacy. Email arrives on your client’s phone, their tablet, and their computers, which are personal devices. And as such, they take it very personally when they receive solicitations they did not ask for. Build up your list organically by having an opt-in form on your website or, if you have a brick-and-mortar business, using a sign-up sheet.
- Having Ineffective or Irrelevant Subject and “From” Lines”
No one can guarantee anyone will open an email, but you can guarantee it wont be opened if your customer glazes over the subject line. A good subject line should promise short, digestible information that is likely to be of interest or answers the questions, “What am I asking the recipient to do?” and “Why should they do it?”Also take a look at the from address. Is it from somebody called “email@example.com” or “Acme Company”? Few people are likely to open an email if they don’t recognize the sender. Email address that uses a Gmail or Yahoo address is a tip-off that the company is small-time and company names are screaming mass email. Set up an email account with your name that is used for email marketing only, something like firstname.lastname@example.org creates a virtual handshake with your customer.
- Blasting Irrelevant Content
Make sure your emails are relevant to the audience you’re blasting them to. Suppose you have a family and you signed up to get email from a travel firm. If you get a few emails with information about singles vacations, it’s not only going to be irrelevant to your needs, but it’s likely to sour you on the company, too. At that point, Schmulen says, “even if the fourth one is for families, you’re already checked out.”
- Not Looking at the Numbers
Do you know how many emails were opened after your last blast? What the bounced back rate was? These numbers will allow you to discover if your subject lines are relating to your customers because if they’re not, your emails won’t be opened. By sending your email out on different days, at different times, you can also discover which is the best times and days to send your email.
- Having No Purpose
What’s your goal? Is your email going to inform your customers? To announce events? To drive them to an action? Having a purpose will help you define your content and make sure it fits within your overall marketing strategy.
- Providing No Entry for Dialogue
Your email, just like a tweet, a Facebook post, or a blog entry, if compiled well, will be shared. Make sure you write content relevant to your customer’s needs. And don’t be afraid to ask for their ideas, their content. It’s important to listen to what they need. Your content, sparking an idea, leads to a tweet or Facebook post by your customer to their friend bases. In essence, turning your customer into your most loyal, trusted sales person.
But that’s only a few. Here are a few others to keep in mind while you are compiling your next media blast.
- Images vs. text. Don’t you love receiving an email that has the outline of a box with a little red “x” in the middle? Especially when it comes from a name you don’t recognize. That’s what your client sees when they receive your image based email. When using images in email, remember that email browsers don’t automatically load images. Make sure your message is in actually live text. That way your customers can obtain your message without having to click one more time.
- Not looking at the numbers (expanded). Do you really know what your customers are reading? Customize the links in your email, driving them to unique pages on your site so you can track them using analytics. From that data, you can discover which articles people are really reading and tailor future emails around the content that interest them.
- Feedback mechanism. If your client wants to take an action, can they quickly and easily find the links? If they have a question, do they know how to get it answered? If they want to shout about your product or forward the email to their friends, can they? All of these are quick and easy ways for you to discover how your customers feel about your product and it they are truly interested in it.
- Keep it brief, keep it actionable. Your customers are busy, respect that. Keep your emails short and actionable. If the customer wants to learn more, give them a microsite to click into.
- Customized content that is timely. Just like direct mail, what’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander. Utilize demographics, psychographics, communication styles, and interests to develop content relevant to your customer. Also, examine the external variables like seasonality, upcoming events, news, and limited-time offers to massage that content into an actionable item.
- “I” everything. Remember that the popularity of reviewing email on mobile devices and tablets is on the rise. Keeping your image sizes down and writing brief, targeted content will increase the likelihood of your customers seeing your message on the go.
- Data list management. Continually review and update your mailing list with the items you’ve learned from your analytics and feedback mechanisms.
- Check, double-check, and triple-check for spam protection. Make sure you spell check and have someone proofread your copy. Examine your email for the hot spam words. Review your html in order to make sure it’s formed correctly. Make sure your links work and your images have alt information. Afterward, send a test email to a gmail, yahoo mail, and aol email addresses to see how your clients will see the email.