Any business can build up an email list of prospects and/or customers to market to. The reason why so many run into problems with their email marketing campaigns is that they don’t adhere to some simple rules. Below are some critical mistakes that you need to avoid to achieve email marketing success.
Not getting a recipient’s permission
If you don’t get someone’s permission to email them, then you might as well just give up now. Most countries have anti-spam laws in place and you could find yourself in serious legal trouble if you add people to your marketing list without getting their express permission. You should never:
- Take business cards and add those email addresses to your mailing list.
- Go through every contact in Outlook/Yahoo/Gmail etc and use these email addresses as your starting list.
- Add customers to an email list without getting them to confirm that they want to be added.
The best way to ensure that you have the permission of every single email contact is to use a “double opt-in” system, which in essence prevents you from ever emailing people you shouldn’t. Using such a system is something that not only protects your business from a legal perspective, but can also protect you from malicious attacks.
Not providing any subscribe opportunities on your website
Not all visitors to your site will be willing to look at it in a lot of detail. They might be in a hurry, reviewing other competitors or simply not know what they want. One thing they won’t be looking for is a subscribe box.
In other words, you need to provide plenty of opportunities for customers and/or prospects to subscribe to your marketing content. Some good locations to place a newsletter sign-up form include:
- In the sidebar.
- Below a blog post.
- In the header area at the top of your page.
- On a a floating bar.
- On a slide-out box that appears in the bottom corner.
- A popup that appears as the visitor is about to leave.
Not segmenting your data lists
You might think that sending our your email communications to all of your contacts is a good idea. However, if you go to the trouble of segmenting your data, such as by different regions, you’ll see much higher engagement levels and lower unsubscribe rates.
Not engaging with your contacts
How often do you send out emails to your data lists? If you don’t contact people for weeks or months at a time, then you simply aren’t going to be a the forefront of a recipient’s mind. Craft emails that have interesting content and attractive propositions with the aim of sending something out at least once a month. However, don’t do the opposite and send too many emails either. This type of behavior will lead to high unsubscribe rates and the possibility that you might be blacklisted for spam.
For even better levels of engagement, you should encourage recipients to reply to your emails. For small lists, you can get them to contact you directly, while for larger lists, you could run a survey to get direct feedback.
Not making data-driven decisions
If you just send email marketing campaigns without much thought, then you probably won’t get the necessary results you’re looking for. Just because a certain strategy works for one business, it doesn’t mean it will work for yours. You need to be making data-driven decisions that are not based on wishful thinking. The two main areas to focus on are:
- Conversion rates of visitors to subscribers.
- Your open rates and click-through rates on different emails.
Not building your own lists
Many businesses make the mistake of purchasing data lists over building their own. It sounds like a great idea – purchase 10,000 email addresses for a set fee which you can then market to. The catch is that major email providers, like Campaign Monitor, expressly forbid this practice and the people you will be emailing won’t know who you are. They may have never heard of your company and will often consider what you send to be spam.
Another point to think about is that if a data list is for sale, the chances are that it will have been purchased by other businesses too, who will also be sending out pointless emails to these contacts. Do you honestly think that people on a purchased list will be receptive to your offers when they are getting bombarded by other emails on a regular basis?