Email hasn’t changed much in the last twenty years. We might read them on our phones rather than our desktop computers. And they might include images instead of just text. But by and large, not much else has changed.
What has changed is the way people perceive email.
If you want people to read and look forward to your messages, you can’t get away with the tactics you used in 2010. If you’re not adhering to today’s best practices, your email marketing is almost surely rubbing your customers the wrong way.
I’m going to cover the seven deadly sins of email marketing below. In the event you’re guilty of committing any of them, I’ll show you the quickest, simplest path to absolution.
Sin #1: Sending Emails Too Often Or Not Often Enough
Email your audience several times a week and they’ll grow sick of you. Email them once every few months and they’ll forget about you.
Frequency is critical. It’ll play a major role in whether your subscribers feel engaged, pummeled, or neglected.
Absolution: The easiest way to find your audience’s preferred frequency is to ask. If their responses fall across a massive range, let them set their own preferences.
Sin #2: Including Multiple Calls To Action
You want the reader to take some form of action after reading your email. For example, you may want him or her to visit an optimized landing page and download a free ebook. Or you might want him or her will visit a sales page and purchase a product. Or perhaps you want your subscriber to pick up the phone and call your office to schedule a personal demo.
The worst thing you can do is ask your subscriber to do more than one thing in a single email. Given multiple calls to action, most people will choose one or the other, or do nothing at all.
And that’s bad news for your conversion rate.
Absolution: Limit the reader’s choices to one. One email, one call to action.
Sin #3: Too Little Focus On The Reader
It’s not about you. It’s about the customer (or prospect).
A lot of companies send emails that highlight their products and spend no time explaining how those products will benefit their readers. It’s as if their readers’ needs and interests are secondary to the companies’ promotions.
Absolution: Write your emails as if you’re writing to a friend. You wouldn’t ignore your friend’s interests while filibustering him or her with the awesomeness of your products. Nor should you treat your subscribers that way.
Sin #4: “Carnival Barker” Subject Lines
Do you remember visiting carnivals as a kid and walking past carnies standing at the tents’ entrances? They were no strangers to hyperbole. Every mystery positioned behind the curtains was promised to be the “greatest,” most “jaw-dropping” and “eye-opening” thing you’d ever seen.
A lot of emails are sent with subject lines that are like the proclamations of those carnies. They’re all hype with little substance.
There’s no faster way to destroy the trust your subscribers have placed in you than to mislead them with exaggerated rhetoric.
Absolution: Encourage readers to open your emails by promising them a practical benefit. Then, make sure you deliver on your promise.
Sin #5: Lack Of Personality
Boring, lifeless emails. You’ve read them.
Did they make you feel engaged? Probably not.
Were you excited to receive future emails from the sender? No.
Now, think of some of the livelier emails you’ve received. The author’s personality was probably on full display. And every sentence you read made you want to read the one following it.
If you’re not showing your personality in your emails, you’re not connecting with your audience at the level you should be. Forming that connection is essential to gaining their trust.
Absolution: Be willing to put yourself out there by sharing personal details and anecdotes. Be a real person with opinions and a unique voice. Let your site’s web design carry your company’s professional air; allow your personality to shine in your emails.
Sin #6: Not Segmenting Your List
Are you maintaining a single list? If so, you’re sending emails to people who aren’t interested in the material you’re sending them.
How do I know this? Because there’s no way to email your audience with laser-sharp focus unless you segment your list by subscriber interest and intent.
Absolution: Segment your list and engage your subscribers on a deeper, more personalized level.
Sin #7: Executing Without A Plan
Email marketing isn’t just a tool to use whenever you want to connect with your customers. You need to have a strategy.
A strategy gives you focus and consistency. It allows you to hone and execute your ideas according to your goals. Without it, you can’t enjoy the true potential that email marketing offers.
Absolution: Figure out why you want to email your list. What are your goals? Do you want to onboard people to an engagement series focused on a particular product? Do you know how you’ll end the series and where you’ll send readers after they finish it? How will you maximize the customer lifecycle with your emails? Map out a strategy before you hit the send button.
Email marketing isn’t difficult. But it’s important to stick to best practices to leverage its potential. If you’re committing any of the seven sins highlighted above, it’s time to seek absolution.
At Design & Promote, we consider email marketing to be one of the core elements in a comprehensive branding and marketing strategy. Our experts can design a plan that increases the size of your list, engages subscribers, and strengthens your brand. Contact us to find out how to make email a key part of your overall digital marketing plan.