Nearly two out of every three marketers don’t think much of their own email marketing campaigns, according to a recent industry census that asked both agencies and company marketing staff to rate themselves. Over 60% rated their campaigns “poor” or “average”; just under 5% rated themselves “excellent.” For the sake of your self-esteem (and more importantly, your marketing campaign’s success) here are a few stupid — and avoidable — mistakes that can doom your email marketing campaigns. It only takes one small, avoidable mistake to kill the performance of any email campaign.
Tripping the filters. It’s tempting to salt-and-pepper your marketing message with links you believe are relevant — particularly links that you think will deliver the reader to your front door, wallet in hand. Resist the urge to over-season the soup; multiple links in the body of your message could set off the spam filters at your recipient’s ISP. What’s more, even if it gets through, it looks like spam to even the least savvy decision-maker — and that’ll sour them on receiving future messages from you or your company and give them a reason to unsubscribe.
Offering zero value. At the end of the day every message needs to engage its reader; that means there must be something of value in the message, whether it’s interesting news, keys to mastering a skill, or ways to improve some process or other. Good email marketing isn’t all about blowing horns to promote your company, it’s about building a relationship by bringing readers useful information; once your recipients get the picture that there’s value in reading your messages, your open rate will grow — and your click-through rate will follow. It’s Time to Start Dating Your Customers.
Overdoing your frequency. It’s called too much of a good thing, and almost every marketer has probably done it at some point: over-saturating your recipients with your messages. Even a brilliantly-targeted and meticulously vetted email list can be rendered useless if you burn out your recipients; and no matter how much value your readers find in your message, there comes a point when they’ve had enough. A good rule of thumb is no more than once per week, but check your open, click-through and opt-out rates for signs of trouble and adjust accordingly.
Overdoing your HTML. Consider whether your reader’s interest is truly piqued by graphics and photos, compared to the useful, valuable message we mentioned above. Consider how many of your readers are receiving your message on a mobile device — and how the number of devices are multiplying almost daily, and whether you’re going to be able to make your HTML and email creative appear responsive and display properly on every one of them. And, finally, consider how many email providers and discerning recipients — simply disable images from appearing as the default, resulting in broken-looking messages from you. Keep it simple and balanced.
Overdoing your message. As we’ve discussed in this space before, your marketing emails aren’t there to close a deal, they’re there to start one. The place to elaborate on the finer points of your product or service is at your website, not in your email marketing message. Your recipients won’t even start reading an email that looks like it’s too long; emails should be short enough to read quickly, succinct enough to deliver value, and intriguing enough to prompt a click-through.
The opportunity is out there. Email Marketing isn’t brain surgery. Following the basic and simple steps I’ve outlined above will help you succeed in getting your email delivered. Now closing the deal is another story altogether, but at least you’re getting them to your website and interested in your offering.