Today, email marketing is a must. A solid campaign can help you gain customers, readers and promote your brand. But it’s also one of the easier marketing methods to screw up. Put “free” in your headline? You just likely triggered a spam filter. Just blindly sending emails in the hopes for a response? That’s a big no-no.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help fine-tune your email campaign.
Here are six common, and uncommon, mistakes made in email marketing today:
1) You don’t edit your emails
Your emails need editing. Poor grammar, spelling mistakes, blocks of text and broken links all hurt your company’s image. A single misspelled word can make your brand reek of amateurism or, worse, make it sound like a scam.
Never press “send” without editing your copy. Check and double-check each text element in your email every time. Get an extra pair of eyes to look your copy over to make sure everything’s perfect. This editing includes checking fonts, scannability and making sure any links in your email land on the correct page.
2) You sound like a spammer
If your subject line is in all caps offering a “GREAT DEAL — GIVING OUR PRODUCT AWAY FOR PRACTICALLY FREE!!!!” you’re going to have a bad time. In fact, your copy will likely end up in the spam bin.
Your entire copy, from the “unsubscribe” button to the “from” line, should be presented in a professional manner, or you’ll come off as spammy and intrusive.
- Understate, rather than overstate, your content. The overuse of capitalization triggers a lot of spam filters and reeks of desperate amateurism.
- Always, always, check your “from” line and your subject line. Your “from” line (which contains the email address sending the copy) should bear the name of your business because your readers can, and will, check who is sending them email. If it’s unfamiliar, it’ll likely be blocked and reported as spam.
- Your subject line, too, should be short and to the point. Use “Three backpacks every college student will need” or “Two ways to legitimately boost your Twitter followers” over “We’ve got great deals for you!” Let your customers know what the email is about before they open it so you don’t waste their time, and you entice your most interested customers.
3) You don’t keep a publishing calendar
Let’s say you’re busy working and a customer or partner hurriedly tells you of a holiday you’ve never heard of. You write it down, and then promptly forget it. Weeks later you see the holiday made headlines in your local newspapers and you smack your head knowing you just missed a massive opportunity to gain loyal customers. This could’ve been prevented with a publishing calendar.
- Keep a publishing calendar for your emails. It’ll reduce stress and help your copy to shine.
- Publishing calendars help newsrooms keep important dates, from local anniversaries to events which change year to year, in mind. It’s an incredibly helpful tool to polish important articles for their audience ahead of time, and it’s a great way to keep ahead of the competition.
- Make your own publishing calendar to stay abreast of dates which are important to your clientele. Keep in mind this can, and should, include date important to various demographics as well. If you know some of your subscribers are just now graduating high-school, then craft an email for the soon-to-be college freshmen for the fall.
4) You send emails to “blast” customers
The old days of “blasting” out an email to reach a lot of customers at once are, thankfully, dying. Mass emails end up alienating customers more often than not. It doesn’t make them feel like they’re in a relationship, but rather that they’re on a list where you’re simply trying to SELL! SELL! SELL! them something they don’t want. News readers don’t read articles they’re not interested in, and customers don’t read copy that doesn’t concern them.
- Build a relationship. Yes, it’s harder, but building a relationship with your customer is worth it. Don’t send emails to them just for the sake of reminding them that you’re there. Send emails catered to their demographic, and give them offers you genuinely believe they’ll be interested in.
- Don’t send a married couple a “sick of Valentine’s day?” email, and don’t send a single person a “don’t forget chocolates!” copy. It’s a great way of getting customers to unsubscribe from your emails.
5) You buy email lists
Do you want instant access to 30,000 permission-based emails which you can “blast” for business for only a nominal fee? No, you don’t, because it’s bad practice, can be considered spam and may be illegal. Sending unsolicited emails breeds contempt for your brand, and can mark you as a desperate spammer.
- Give your customers the opportunity to sign up for newsletters and deals on your website or with an in-house sign-up sheet. This helps to build good-will, a good brand name, and a client base which is actively interested in business with you.
6) You don’t test your emails
You don’t test your emails because you think all emails appear the same regardless of which email program they appear in. You’re wrong. Sending an email which isn’t tested across different email platforms and computer systems can make your email appear strange and off for those customers who don’t have the same set-up as you. Which is all of them.
- Test and make sure your emails appear correctly across a variety of email services like Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, and Outlook. Don’t assume everyone uses just Gmail and Outlook.
- Test to make sure no odd symbols pop up and that your images, if you have any, appear correctly.
- Testing can also help to fine-tune your copy. For example, you can check if your links go to the correct landing page and if your call to action above the fold (everything immediately visible without scrolling).
Don’t have the resources to test out your emails? Wrong. You do. Ask friends, family, and coworkers to take a quick look at your copy and provide feedback. Enlist your computer-literate friends, too. Different people use different computers and email platforms and, often, can provide better testing and feedback than you can on your own. Ask them if appears strange or out-of-place and adjust accordingly.