Something I love about email marketing is that it’s one of the easiest and most economical ways to reach, educate, and communicate with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people.
However, as great as it is as a marketing strategy…
Is it really that simple?
As long as you avoid these common mistakes, the answer is yes.
1. Not Keeping Your List Actively Growing
The first imperative for an email marketing strategy is having people to email, while continuously adding people to your email list. It is important to keep your list growing by regularly sending traffic to your landing pages.
You can also build your list by importing contacts from LinkedIn, leveraging business cards, optimizing your website for opt-ins, using the call-to-action button, creating a webinar, through word of mouth, or even by hosting a give away.
Whatever you do, don’t buy an email list. It’s bad for business and a waste of money. Plus, email service providers don’t like when people use purchased lists. They are not good to use and the people you end up emailing have no idea who you are.
Email engagement is reaching out to those who have in some way expressed that they want to hear from you.
2. Not Enough Specificity
Alright you have your contact list, now you’ll figure out what to write about. The mistake most marketers make in the beginning is that there emailing campaign is too broad.
For example, my first month of emails talked about social media marketing, affiliate marketing, and email marketing. While they all did talk about marketing in one way or another, I had to be more specific and choose one topic that I can study and master so I can provide content with depth in information and experience. All in hopes of others finding it helpful and useful enough to share with their friends, family, co-workers, and strangers.
Once I choose email marketing as my topic, I wanted to learn everything about and master it. So, I planned out my topics for the upcoming weeks. One method I find useful is as easy as planning out your content topics one month ahead. I create a well thought out content calendar that will keep dates, times, and topics thoughtfully organized. This keeps me on track, and more importantly it keeps me consistent.
To determine how many topic ideas you’ll need, first decide how often you plan to send your emails. Once a week is a great place to start, then I would increase to twice (maybe three) times once you gain momentum.
One piece of advice: Don’t send too many emails in a week, you want to avoid getting marked as spam.
3. Having Not Enough Time to Write
When writing emails, keep content relatively short (I aim for about 250-300 words), easy to read and engaging.
If you are a beginner, I would suggest you set more time than you think to write a good email. It takes me about an hour to write a good, well thought out email. It may take some time to get the creative juices flowing, but you’ll start to get the hang of it. Outlining your emails is a great way to stay organized, as well as having someone there to provide you feedback, all just another part of the process.
Not having enough time set aside to write, you may find yourself stressed trying to put ideas and thoughts together in a helpful manner. Under a time constraint, you may be forced to either send an email that isn’t completely polished or fall behind on your schedule.
Email should be on top of your list, and always should be producing content to share with your readers.
4. Subject Lines Are Not Interesting Enough
In the email world, subject lines are the first impression, and is the first indiction of if your email is worth opening it.
Nearly 50 percent of consumers say the subject line is what compels them to open an email; the other half are probably inclined to open emails from people they trust, regardless of the subject line.
There are many ways you can go with a subject line, but ultimately you’ll need to see what works best for your readers. Try new things, measure your open rate success and do more of what works.
As a general rule of emailing, keep it casual, conversational, personal and, above all, creative.
5. Poor Grammar
Let’s be honest here. Mostly likely you are in competition against big companies with money and resources dedicated to email marketing, so you want to take the time to make sure your emails are edited and can stand up to the competition.
This means you need to send well-written emails that are appealing to the eye, which includes both the email template you use and the photos or images that you include.
Above all, you need to triple proof everything before you hit send. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s important that you provide relative, educational, persuasive content – and one small grammatical error could take away from your credibility.
6. Ignoring Analytics
It’s one thing to see if an email is being opened, but it’s another to pay attention to how well emails are doing. Marketers should keep an eye out on what subscribers are doing once they open your email. Are they clicking your links, or are they unsubscribing? Are you annoying your email list or are they sharing your content?
All these questions and their answers point to when and where you may need to consider a strategy change.
7. Not Testing Your Links
I can only re-emphasize how important it is to double check all your links throughout your landing and web pages.
This one I have learned the hard way.
8. Keeping a Bad List
Your email bounce rate and spam score are something to be aware of.
An email bounce means that your email was not be successfully delivered to the recipient’s inbox. Email bounce rate is the percentage of total emails sent that did not go through to someone’s inbox. Email service providers pay attention to your bounce rate as well, and having a high percentage reflects poorly on your business.
Bounces happen for many reasons that vary from having an invalid email address to typos in an email address, or the sender has a bad reputation. It would be a good habit to go through your list on a regular basis and remove any problem email addresses.
Different from bounces, spam flags occur when an email service provider thinks you’re sending junk mail in bulk, or when a recipient marks your email as spam. Make sure that your emails aren’t filtered out as spam by choosing the body content and subject lines carefully.
Here are some indictors that get filtered as spam:
- Subject starts with “Free”
- “last chance to win…”
- Excessive punctation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Contains, “If you want to subscribe…”
- “Buy Now”
- “See for yourself”
- “Why pay more”
- SUBJECT IS IN ALL CAPS
- “Free Preview”
- “Cash” or even dollar $ign$
Using any of the words or phrases above in your email can trigger a spam filter particularly if they are found in the email subject line.
9. Not Automating Your Email Campaigns
Marketing automation is a tactic used to streamline and automate marketing and sales efforts with software. Automation software offers several key benefits to small business owners. Here are only three of many key benefits:
It’s automatic: One of the biggest benefits of email workflows is that you don’t need someone to click send and you can rely on the email automation to work 24/7.
Gain a Better Understanding of Your Leads: Automation software will keep track of what Web pages your lead has viewed, what emails they have opened, which links in the email they’ve clicked, and what forms they have filled out. With automation, you gain insight into exactly what the lead is looking for and what content speaks to them.
Nurture Your Leads: Another great benefit to marketing automation is that it helps you nurture new (and old) leads with automated workflows. Create multiple marketing campaigns based on what actions your lead might take and load them into your marketing automation software. From that point on, leads will be nurtured with relevant content based on their actions and interests.
Is it that simple? As long as you avoid these five common mistakes, the answer is an absolute yes. Having a solid email marketing strategy in place means your business can begin to build trust and relationships with your audience, to then later be converted into new customers. All while nurturing the relationship with existing customers.