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What not to do when email marketing

14 Mar 2017

 

Despite what some sceptics may say, email is still a very viable form of marketing. I would even go so far to say it is a critical piece of the marketing puzzle for any business. Just look at e-commerce, email drives over 7% of total sales, second only to search.

 

This means it really shouldn’t be ignored in e-commerce, but what about other industries? If we look at this recent benchmark study by MailChimp, e-commerce email engagement is in the lower half when measured against other industries. If email drives so much sales for ecommerce, imagine how much sales it drives for those other industries?

 

If you think that social media is replacing the now archaic email marketing, well you’d be mistaken. Because according to McKinsley, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. And Campaign Monitor say you are 6 times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.

 

With these stats in mind, let’s take a look at how to maximise this still relevant marketing channel’s effectiveness, by understanding what not to do when email marketing.

 

Become a spammer

 

We all know the term and, having previously worked as an email marketer, I have been on the receiving end of many a joke by my colleagues about being a spammer. I was not a fan of that moniker because I practiced good email marketing.

 

Just because you send many emails to people does not make you a spammer, but you do need to be careful that you don’t upset people with too high a frequency of emails. This can lead to people unsubscribing, marking you as spam, or just switching off from your emails and instantly deleting them when they hit their inbox. All of these can have a negative impact on your email deliverability and ultimately your email marketing effectiveness.

 

On the other hand, if you are not emailing people enough, you are potentially missing out on more sales. Or, they may forget you in between sends, causing them to disengage from your brand.

 

There is no real magic number, it really depends on your audience. The DMA ran a study recently and found the sweet spot to be 2-3 emails per month. I wouldn’t take this as gospel though. Make sure you monitor your unsubscribes and bounce rates to paint a clearer picture of whether you are upsetting your subscribers or not.

 

Buy lists

 

This is risky business that can easily end up getting you on one of those dreaded blacklists, completely destroying your email deliverability. The main reason being that you just can’t trust the validity of the data. If the source seems dodgy, run for the hills. I used to get so many random emails from businesses that didn’t even have a website offering to sell me email lists. Red flag!

 

There are certainly some reputable sources out there that can perhaps provide you with quality data. I still think this is risky as imagine if you are on that list. One day you receive a random email without having knowingly subscribed to receive these emails. What do you do?

 

People might mark that email as spam, if their spam folder didn’t pick it up already. This is going to hurt your email reputation and delivery rates.

 

The best approach to take it to build an email list using the tried and tested tactic of a lead magnet. A lead magnet is an offer so irresistible that the prospect can’t help but give you their contact details to access it. By placing this on your website as a standard form or within a pop up, you will start to build an email list. This way people will know who you are and your email marketing will then have a greater impact.

 

Don’t segment

 

If you are currently running unsegmented email marketing campaign, make sure you don’t tell an email marketer. They won’t be happy. If it is your friend, they may not talk to you for a while.

 

Segmenting your audience comes down to one of the fundamental rules in business. You have to understand your target audience’s needs. By not segmenting your audience and targeting them with relevant information, you are more likely to upset them.

 

Not only could this lead to a disengagement with your email marketing but with your brand completely. By taking a non-segmented approach you are not demonstrating that you understand your customer’s needs.

 

Let’s look back at that fundamental rule again, you have to understand your target audience’s needs! Check out this study by MailChimp that shows what happens when you segment your audience, you get over 100% increase in click-through.

 

The majority of email marketing software already has the ability built in to segment your audience by a number of data points. If not, then it is worth investing in software that does. Here is a list of top email marketing software for small businesses.

 

Time to not do                                        

 

Hopefully this blog has given you some insights into what not to do when email marketing. If you have an idea on all the steps to take but not sure on what to write, take a look at a post I previously wrote discussing the benefits of taking a conversational approach to email marketing.

 

Now it’s time to get started on crafting an email marketing strategy that will engage your prospects and drive sales. Good luck!

 

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