email marketingEmail marketing is still recognised as one of the most effective marketing approaches but there are some common pitfalls to avoid to ensure your campaigns go smoothly and get your business the desired result.

 As you know I’m very passionate about email marketing as it still consistently delivers great results and is so measurable. You can track literally EVERYTHING! I love being able to see exactly how each campaign has performed and challenge my marketing brain, working out how to improve the campaign next time and get even better results.

Once you have your mailing list there are some common mistakes to avoid to ensure it all goes smoothly.

So here’s my top 5 pitfalls to avoid…

1. Using your own email
This is one that really has so many possible issues – deliverability of your emails, being marked as a spammer, how you present and design content, effect on your open rates and handling of unsubscribes. The list is endless!

Send large volumes of emails from your own email address and you will be likely to be blocked by ISPs which may affect your day-to-day business emails and transactions. Definitely one to be avoided.

Use specialist email marketing software (EMS) – it’s custom designed for the job and has so many plus points – it handles your database and unsubscribes and they get much better delivery rates than you will get from your own email system.

One of the most influential fields in your email (along with the Subject Line – see point 2 below) is the ‘From:’ field. We all know that if we get emails from ‘From’s’ we don’t recognise – what do we do? We press the good old delete button. These EMS systems enable you to set this field as your regular email address and assist in getting better open rates as recipients recognise your email address and trust it enough to open the email in the first place.

2. Not caring about your Subject Line
I see so many emails that have such boring and lack lustre subject lines – “March Newsletter” springs to mind! What in that title makes me want to open it? Absolutely nothing at all I’m afraid! It will sit in my inbox gathering virtual dust and eventually I’ll get so bored of seeing it there, that I will hastily press DELETE!

Too many people spend too little time considering the impact and effect of their email campaign or newsletter Subject Line. Even the big brands get it wrong, some have even sent out emails with “TBC” – a really embarrassing email mess-up!

It indicates how little time has been spent on it and Subject Lines have been proven to be, alongside the ‘From:’ field, one of the most influential factors on your email’s open rate.

So before you spend hours designing that flashy email template and writing all your copy – spend time on writing a powerful and engaging Subject Line. That time will be well spent, I promise you. Go on, make me want to open it NOW!

3. No personalisation or targetting
The complete beauty and power of email marketing is that you are talking to someone 1-2-1 (even if you send out several hundred and thousand emails at one time) and therefore you need to use personalisation where ever possible.

You should also use targetting and segmentation of your database to ensure you deliver the most relevant content for each customer group. Look at past behaviour and segment accordingly. Don’t just send out a blanket email to your entire database. Guaranteed to return poor results.

I love MailChimps engagement segmentation tool which enables you to send a re-activation or winback email to list members who have never opened an email. Meaning much less waste and better results!

And if you really want to show-off! Most EMS also allow you to do some clever things like Dynamic Content – so you can add in dynamic fields into your email that place relevant data for each customer, e.g. Sue you haven’t bought from us since <year> or Mark you last bought <product X> and we thought you might be interested in <product Y>. Clever stuff that is great to get improve click through and conversion rates.

4. No Contact Strategy or timing plan
Random emails that don’t come at the frequency that was advised or erratically. You won’t be front of mind and also you will get poor email marketing results for your efforts.

But the reality is that us small business owners are busy running our businesses and often pulled in several directions on what we should be doing. So don’t agree to send a weekly email, do it for 2 months and then die of exhaustion and/or boredom!

I always work with my clients to work out a realistic Contact Strategy or simple timing plan and then I make sure we stick to it, helping them implement the campaigns and review the results, so we can refine our next campaign. It generates great results.

5. Irrelevant or unappealing design and content
It has been proven that design and content does have an impact on response rates. Design can help considerably with click through rates when used correctly to highlight key information and the desired call to actions.

You have included a strong call to action haven’t you?

Are your email campaigns getting disappointing results?
Are you finding that your email campaigns or newsletters are simply not generating the results you need – low website visits, no email enquiries or actual purchases?

I can help you get better results from your email marketing. I offer a Fruitful Email Marketing Review service which includes a review of your last 3 email campaigns sent out. Find out more…