You’ve heard that email marketing just works, that email marketing gives you a return of a whopping 4300% on every marketing dollar, and that it’s the next best thing to sliced bread.
Yet, businesses struggle with email marketing. Why? Because of these email marketing mistakes that you do (knowingly or unknowingly).
Here are five email marketing mistakes people (and businesses) do and you shouldn’t:
Know & Understand Your Subscribers
There are two broad mistakes overall when it comes to email campaigns: sending too many emails or not sending emails at all.
Apart from transactional emails -- assuming you take the middle ground where you do send a decent number of emails regularly (as regular campaigns, automated email campaigns, etc.,) -- here’s another collective set of email campaign mistakes people make: not knowing your subscribers, failing to understand the pulse of your collective email lists (or segmented email lists), and not tweaking your campaigns based on data available to you.
Ask yourself these questions before sending out email campaigns again:
- What’s the average open rate for your email campaigns? How do your campaign open rates stack up against the usual trends in your industry?
- What are the usual blocks of time when your emails are opened and clicked on?
- What are the best days and periods to send your email campaigns?
- What kind of email design (full HTML or plain text?) seems to work best for you?
Some of the answers to these questions are available right away. Thanks to email campaign reports, statistics, and analytics.
The other answers will come in as you keep sending emails and pay attention to the numbers, behavioral fallouts, unsubscribe rates, and maybe by using surveys or asking direct questions to your subscribers.
Test your campaigns against relevant audiences on an ongoing basis (email design, email frequency, day, time, content, calls to action, link clicks, and more)
Multiple Campaign Goals
Here’s the fundamental email marketing rule: One goal per campaign.
- Want to build and nurture your potential customers? Start with email marketing campaigns that warm-up leads by sending out valuable content (such as product demos or proof of value)
- Is your goal to sell? Send out emails asking for the sale occasionally.
- If your goal is customer retention, your email campaigns will focus on retaining business or patronage. Your emails will send out special discounts for future subscriptions (if you sell subscriptions) or have your previous customers come back to try your product again, etc.
- Want to grow customer loyalty? That’s what your email marketing campaigns should focus on -- ask questions, receive product feedback, announce loyalty programs, etc.
It bears repetition: One single goal per email campaign.
Not segmenting Email Lists
Not all your subscribers are the same (even if they all showed interest in your brand or products). Some people are ready to buy (or maybe they purchased already).
Others will sit on the fence only to purchase at a later date. A few of your potential customers are comparison shopping, in the consideration stage, looking out for options, or trying to do some research.
A few others are curious but not ready to purchase yet.
Further, your audience doesn't have the same profile: age or location. You’ll have casual subscribers, leads, old customers, new customers, customers who purchased $X worth of products (or not), etc.
By segmenting your email lists, you segregate, sort, and put relevant subscribers into appropriate buckets. For instance:
- Email subscribers only
- Subscribers who downloaded freebies (related to certain products)
- Leads who signed up for lead magnets (eBooks, white papers, discount coupons, etc.)
- Existing customers who purchased only once, or those who purchased more than $100, or customers with a specific LTV (Lifetime value), repeat customers, and long-time customers.
- Customers who purchased specific categories of products (and not others)
Email segmentation allows you to target specific customers (or email subscribers based on their status), helps you fine-tune your marketing messages, paves the path for email marketing personalization, and more.
You Don’t Nurture & Warm-Up Leads
No one plans to get into someone’s sales funnel. Your customers will not buy just because you showed up with a product.
Customers buy when they are ready to buy. Until then, you’d have to “nurture” your leads. With email marketing, the right way to nurture is to:
- Send exclusive information to your subscribers.
- Send out more information about your product
- Release product videos to allow your leads to get a sneak peek
- Establish a relationship with your leads by showing a few “behind the scenes” videos, showcase just how your product helps your potential customers by writing content (or sharing videos).
Warming up your leads or email subscribers is the modern-day equivalent of traditional and strategic sales follow-ups.
Contacting Only When You Need To Sell
We reserved the worst email campaign mistake for the last: some businesses only send out “email campaigns” when they want to sell.
That’s the worst email marketing mistake you could do as a business. Imagine how you’d feel if a “so-called friend” only gets in touch when he or she needs something from you?
From your potential customer's perspective, it all feels like a “transaction”. It’s as if you only exist to make that sale and exit. Customers turn into mere transactional numbers, SKU numbers, or transactional IDs.
People buy from brands they trust.
Trust is earned over time.
The way you develop trust is to start, build, and maintain relationships with your email marketing subscribers.
Skip this golden nugget of information and you’ll never be able to unleash the full power of email marketing, ever.
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