5 Common Email Marketing Mistakes

5 Common Email Marketing MistakesIt all seems so simple: get some customers, obtain their email addresses, email them and get them to buy things over and over. Unfortunately, if it was that simple, everyone would be doing it. Actually, most are doing it, but it’s not working. If it worked, we’d struggle to keep our wallets closed, as every email we received would convince us to spend more money.

Instead, email marketing is a long process of creating emails that grab the attention, give people reason to open and gain their trust, so when they are ready to purchase, they know you’re there.

Email marketing is an ongoing process of action and analysis. You send emails, you analyse the results, you take them into account and do things different the next time around. Each time you improve on what you do. But there are a number of common mistakes that are made by business owners and marketers, so make sure you’re not making these ones:

1. Too Frequent

It’s difficult to say what is too frequent. It’s almost like the old question ‘how long’s a piece of string’ but it’s clear to see the signs of email marketing being too frequent. Open rates will be low, unsubscribe rates high, and very few people will click or react on an ongoing basis.

If people sign up for a daily deals email, then they’re likely to expect an email every day. But if you start sending 2, 3, 4, 5 or more emails per day, it starts to get annoying. It’s the same for those who sign up for a regular newsletter. They may initially be happy to read the email that comes through daily or weekly, but if the author begins sending offers each hour, it’s going to start to get annoying.

All the best marketers have a high level of empathy and can really put themselves in someone else’s shoes, so use empathy in this case. Would you like be bombarded with 500 emails each day? Probably not, so don’t bombard your customers.  If you’re more of a logic person, rather than an empathic person, then at least look at the open and unsubscribe rates.

2. You’re not sending them what they want

If someone becomes a customer and you entice them to sign up to your email list with the offer of sending them freebies, but then you just send them deals and news, they’re not likely to be particularly impressed. Stay true to your word.

Sometimes it simply takes a deep breath and a step back to see whether you are getting caught up in the quest for sales. Think about your email campaigns from your customers perspective and think about whether you would be excited to open them (not just mildly interested – excited!) or whether you’d delete them before taking a look.

3. You’re not targeting

Not everyone on your mailing list is the same. Target your emails based on the relevant metrics. For example, location, age, gender or how close they are to purchasing. It’s possible to get so much information about your customers, so it’s good to use it to make your marketing more effective, and cause them as little annoyance as possible!

4. You’re not personalising your emails

I’m not talking about the “Hi {FIRSTNAME}” introduction. I’m talking about using the targeting I mentioned in point number 3 and actually personalising everything about it. Different people react to different things. Personalise the language you use, the content you present and even the design and colours to suit your audience. This takes a lot more time than a blanket approach, but it’s the way to really get a good ROI from your email marketing campaigns.

5. You’re sending them exactly what everyone else is sending

I receive a number of emails each week from various parts of the world, offering to “get my site to the number 1 spot on Google”. You may have seen these, they all have the bit at the bottom saying, “If you don’t want to receive anymore emails from me, reply with ‘NO'”. These emails are annoying, but what makes them even more frustrating is everyone’s doing it. I know it’s a numbers game, but nobody really stands out with that approach.

Keep track of what everyone else is doing in your industry and try to stand out. Maybe there’s something that they’re all charging thousands for, that you could offer for free, or something they’re not doing that you could do. Either way, you need to stand out in your email marketing.

On a side note, I knew someone who responded to one of those ‘get you to 1st place on Google’ emails out of curiosity and asked them to work on her website. All they did was buy a Google Adword listing and got her 1st on the paid adverts for a week.

Honorary mention: Tracking

I left this one out of the top five, because it’s really a given for all digital marketing. Check whether your campaigns are going well or not and if they aren’t, do something about it. Sending the same sort of email each week, with no opens, no clicks and no positive results, is a waste of time, and pushes your audience away from you.

Have you seen any other common email marketing mistakes? Please share your experiences in the comments below!

About the Author

Patrick is a digital marketing consultant with around 10 years' experience, covering SEO, PPC, social media, email and user experience.

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