Email marketing is becoming more and more popular as social media firms make it harder and harder to reach your intended audience. Millions of emails are sent everyday. But how do you ensure your email does its job?
First let’s look at what email marketing is.
Email marketing is one of the more traditional forms of online marketing and is known to be more effective than other methods of marketing.
Chances are that, if you have an email address (and who doesn’t in this age?), you will have seen email marketing in action.
Have a look in your inbox. If you notice that there’s 20% off at your favourite clothing shop. That is email marketing.
An email that has been sent directly to you, with the aim of getting you to buy something.
Why should you use email marketing as a small business owner
Email marketing provides a great return on investment (ROI) for your business as there are no printing costs, postage costs or advertising rates. You can target a larger group of your audience at a lower cost, providing you have their permission first.
First Mistake of Email Marketing – Failing to Get Permission
Getting permission from the intended recipient is paramount to ensuring that your emails a) are wanted, b) will be not be marked as spam and c) have a higher chance of being read.
If the intended recipient is expecting your email, because they gave you permission, then your “appearance” in their inbox is less likely to be seen as an intrusion and/or be marked as spam.
Having your emails marked as spam can have adverse effects on your marketing campaign if you get blacklisted by your email service provider, not to mention the dire consequences for your business as a whole if your domain name gets blacklisted by the likes of google!
It is easy enough to get permission, just ensure you use a decent email service provider (mailchimp, constantcontact etc) that allows you to create dedicated sign up forms and use a double opt-in, so that recipients have to confirm that they do want to receive your emails.
If you don’t get permission and just use a load of emails you found on the internet, as we said before you can get blacklisted and this can affect the deliverability of your emails (ie the chance of them getting through spam filters etc and landing in an inbox in the first place). That brings us onto mistake no2.
Second Mistake of Email Marketing – Not Optimising Chances of Deliverability
Even obtaining permission to send emails does not guarantee that your email will be delivered – t just means the chances of it being read are higher and the chances of being marked as spam are lower.
But according to SendGrid:
21% of opt-in emails never make it to the inbox in the first place.
That’s over one fifth – one in five – of your emails NOT getting through.
People can’t buy it if they can’t see it.
Fortunately, there are a number of other actions you can carry out to ensure that your email gets into a recipients inbox.
- Use an email service provider such as Mailchimp etc to send batches of emails NOT your gmail account
- USe a verified domain to send emails. eg firstname.lastname@example.org NOT your hotmail address
- Add SPF records – a short line of text used to tell the receiving server which hosts are allowed to send mail from a given domain to your domain . (more info)
Now that we’ve made arrangements to give our emails a chance of getting into an inbox we need to make sure they will get read. One way of doing this is personalisation.
Third Mistake of Email Marketing – NOT Personalising Emails
Even the simplest of email service providers offer the option to personalise emails using the subscriber’s first name, last name, birthday or any other variable you collect at registration/sign up.
Personalising an email is good customer service. It shows that you care and gives the impression that the
email is for the recipient and not just a mass email sent to all your contacts.
We all like to be recognised as individuals and personalisation enhances your email value and enforces your brand values.
Examples of email personalisation include:
- Greeting by name! Hello Susan. How are you Sarah? etc
- Include name in email subject
- Sending a birthday discount
- Recommending products based on past purchase history
- Remind them what they were viewing/left in cart
- Follow up/customer service emails based on actions/purchase
Now that we’re getting into inboxes and getting emails opened we don’t want to ruin this …
Fourth Marketing Mistake – Sending too many (or not enough) emails
We don’t want to abuse the privilege by bombarding subscribers with email after email. Depending on what they’ve signed up for, daily emails may be overkill. Weekly is ample and monthly the bare minimum.
Conversely if you don’t send emails often enough, your audience will forget about you, your business and your products/services. They may even forget about signing up with you and report you as spam and unsubscribe.
So find a balance. Use your email service provider reports and see what works and what doesn’t. Better yet, ask your recipients how often they’d like to hear from you!
There are other reasons why your subscriber might flee …
Fifth Email Marketing Mistake – Poor SPAG – spelling, punctuation and grammar
There is nothing worse than receiving a poorly written email, littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
There is no excuse for this today given the sheer amount of spellcheckers that are available online.
Proof read and proof read again.
If your emails are full of mistakes then how do you think that reflects on your products or service.
Have pride in everything you do.
And this is related to the …
Sixth Email Marketing Mistake – Poor Readability
I know I said there was nothing worse that poor SPAG in an email but readability comes a close second.
Poor SPAG contributes to poor readability but there are other factors at play too such as long text passages – break these up with headings and images.
Other ideas to improve readability:
- Try not to use long sentences. Keep it short and concise – straight to the point.
- Inject some colour to highlight the most important parts.
- Stay clear of passive voice
- Read it aloud to see how it flows
- Use your customer’s language. Don’t try and sound smart. (e.g., your customers won’t “utilize” your product, they’ll “use” it)
What other suggestions would you add (as an email subscriber or sender)?
Until next time ...