Given the consistently evolving nature of user behaviour, online marketers might be forgiven for neglecting email marketing campaigns somewhat. Especially given how consumers now seem more sensitive to perceived pushy marketing tactics and spam, it might sound sensible to concentrate their efforts on social media for example; after all, 28% of all online activity is spent on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Such neglect is premature at best, however. As of 2015, the number of worldwide email users stood at 2.6 billion, which is expected to rise to 2.9 billion by 2019. Even if the manner in which these users utilise their mailboxes has changed, and click rates perhaps aren’t as high as they once were, this growing pool of users is far too large to overlook, and email marketing still offers many advantages. Email marketing can still prove highly effective in growing, retaining, and engaging customers, but only if you put enough care and consideration into the emails you send. Unsuccessful campaigns are often indicative of common email marketing mistakes, rather than of the value practice itself.
With that in mind, here are four common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Instead of neglecting email marketing in favour of social media, you can instead take a lot of value from a famous mantra of social media marketing: engagement is key. It can often be tempting, especially if you’re not paying so much attention, to treat your mailing list in a one-dimensional fashion. Not all of what you say or offer will be equally relevant to all of your subscribers, and those that receive emails from you about topics they’re not interested in will quickly unsubscribe. Therefore, they may well miss out on future offers and information that will be of interest.
Therefore being able to segment your mailing list into target demographics is vital in boosting your click rates and engagement. Analysing your mailing list a little closer will take more effort, but once you do so you’ll find it much easier to send personalised and targeted campaigns to your subscribers. This is especially so if you utilise email marketing software, such as www.newsletter2go.com for example, allowing you to streamline this outreach and track its results.
While of course you should be aiming to avoid giving your audience a reason to unsubscribe from your newsletter at all, not having a transparent process for users that wish to opt out can end up harming your efforts. Most importantly, not including an unsubscribe link on every email you send to your newsletter list is illegal in some countries, including the US and UK. Similarly, unsolicited emails to individuals is illegal, in other words, you must have gained their permission. Simple feedback is vital to assessing how best to improve your campaign, but complicating the process or continuing to send similar emails to them will only serve to create a spammy brand image. This could prove costly in the long run.
Call to Action
This point cannot be emphasised enough, particularly in a marketing context. When sending email campaigns, you only have a limited window to turn your audience’s attentiveness into clicks and sales, in terms of attention span. Therefore, it’s in your interest to make it as easy and pain-free as humanly possible for the user to access the offer or information you’re providing. In practice, this means a large and obvious link, and either legible text or clear graphics and images to explain its purpose succinctly.
The Devil’s in the Detail
Personalisation and attention to detail is particularly important in email marketing, particularly if something you’ve overlooked directly affects your audience’s ability to act on your message. For instance, say you send a special offer to a well-targeted subset of your subscribers, but the discount code is invalid. Not only is this frustrating for your customers, but you will potentially have missed out on large volumes of sales that would have been generated in the first day of the email campaign. Similarly, if your emails have not been checked thoroughly you may also fail to capitalise on your campaign due to faulty or misdirected links, so extra scrutiny is not to be underestimated. Furthermore, it pays dividends to be prepared with correction and apology email templates, just in case an honest mistake is made.