Avoid these Email Marketing Mistakes

By OctaneGo, July 1, 2011 | Tips & Resources

Trying to do it yourself
Ever felt the need to go to a doctor for a minor problem? Not really, right? Self-medication may work after a bit of hit and trial. Don’t treat your emailers the same way please. There is no opportunity for hit and trial, especially once you press the send button. Email marketing is an expert service and best would be to let the experts handle the emailing part, rather than you trying your hand at it. Leave it to the ESP’s while you concentrate on your core business. Isn’t that the reason you hired an ESP in the first place?

Not engaging with the user base
The customer audiences have moved online and are expecting to be reached through appropriate channels. In this context, the focus of marketers is shifting from ‘sending their message out’ to ‘start engaging with customers’. The control is giving way to collaborate. When compared to traditional media like print or TV, online and e Marketing offers a tremendous range of choice to innovate and engage. So make sure you don’t always talk about selling alone, the point is to forge a connection that is much deeper and long term oriented.

Not having an unsubscribe option
What does it feel like to have a fly buzzing around and you aren’t able to swat it? I’ll tell you, try getting 18 mails a day, 7 days a week on your smartphone from companies whose newsletter you once subscribed to but now are no longer interested in reading. The worst bit is when they come with no unsubscribe option. Don’t make that mistake. If the customer doesn’t wish to receive your message or new offer, the least you could do is to provide him an option to opt out. Instead of focusing on the decrease in subscriber base, concentrate on the existing subscriber list. But do send him one last email or provide a link with the unsubscribe option asking him what made him opt out. Use it as constructive feedback and improve your mailers in the future building upon the same.

Spamming >>Permission based list not available. CANSPAM etc.
For those of us who might not know what CANSPAM is, CAN –SPAM stands for controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003. CAN-SPAM is a very important law that you need to know about. It governs whether the email you send is considered a legal communication or an illegal piece of unsolicited spam. If you don’t abide by it, you’re subject to fines and penalties from the U.S. federal government. Hence it isn’t a good idea to spam people’s inboxes, especially if you are in the US of A. The ideal way to reach the customer’s inbox is through genuine permission based lists. If they aren’t available, concentrate on how you could generate one. Relook at your marketing strategy and see the value proposition that would make a customer want to opt in. And there you go; you have a permission based list building up before you know it.

Spelling mistakes
How do you spell successful? Stupid question to ask, but wait you would be surprised to know how frequently some of the most common words are misspelled. Thank god someone created a spell checker. Be kind to that person and kindly use it in your mailers. Even if the sales pitch wont put off your customer, spelling mistakes sure will. Go ahead and click the review button and correct those errors right away.

Poor subject line
This is the first impression a reader usually gets. As the cliché goes, first impression is the last impression. Make sure you have a catchy subject line, that will decide whether I wish to read your mail right now or probably later or probably never, i.e. mark as spam or unread. We don’t encourage you to make it catchy just for the heck of it. Keep your target audience in mind and make sure your subject line makes it crystal clear what the email is all about.

Test the mailer
Imagine for a second, a mailer with mistakes is sitting right there in your drafts and all your contacts have been entered. By mistake you hit the send button. And Voila your carelessness might have cost your company a lot not to forget dent your reputation. ALWAYS test the mailer once before you send it out. Make sure to do this to see how the layout is, how quickly do images (if any) load and whether it all fits together like you thought it should.

Poor call to action
So you have a brilliant newsletter that continues to make its way to your customer’s inbox whenever you send it across. You communicate all the information you wish to communicate. But it doesn’t end at that. It’s not just about reaching the inbox. Every communication has a call to action associated with it. This could be-“Visit our Facebook page”, “follow us on Twitter”, etc. You would be going wrong somewhere if this call to action isn’t delivering desired results. To make sure this doesn’t happen, make sure all the buttons and links work exactly the way you want. Also be very clear as to what you want the customer to do and like we said in our last blog provide him an incentive for doing so.

Too much information
A newsletter is supposed to be just that, a newsletter informing the customer about recent trends, product releases, developments, etc. Nothing is more putting in off in seeing too much text coupled with multiple images. Your email should follow this format
K. I. S. S.
Keep it Short & Simple.

No one needs to go through enormous paragraphs, nor should you copy paste your entire product portfolio on a newsletter. Leave that on your website and provide a way for the user to get there.

No Segmentation
Let’s rewind to the 80:20 rule. 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers. The point here is not to test or doubt the validity of the above said rule, but to clearly divide your target audience into segments- loyal customers, repeat customers, first time customers and non-converters. As a customer wouldn’t it be great if you were offered a special discount or an offer for being a loyal customer? Follow the 80:20 rule, keep your existing loyalists happy and they shall turn into evangelists for your company, or at least you should hope they do while the others would want to fall in that category eventually.

Sending only the HTML version >> you have to send html as well as text version
Back in the old days, text ruled and emails were plain and boring. Then came along HTML, adding life to emails. The only problem with HTML is that it makes the email heavier in size as compared to the text version and therefore takes more time to load. This could frustrate the user and make him hit the delete button. To make sure that doesn’t happen at least with your email, provide both HTML and Text versions. Leave the decision to choose between the two to the recipient. By doing so, you or your ESP would have fulfilled their responsibility.

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