Email marketing is dead!
I would agree that conventional, sales-driven, dry and poorly crafted email campaigns are done.
Folks are inundated with hundreds, perhaps even thousands of emails on a daily basis and most are sales pitches that simply don’t resonate with the recipient.
Just yesterday, in my email inbox, I received:
- An invitation to participate in a discounted salsa dance course
- A promotional flier for a great deal on a memory foam mattress
- A request to complete a survey about parenting style and food choice
- 22 freshly pressed blog posts (I subscribe to a lot of blogs)
- Several Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter announcements
- A shared Flickr album
- A nomination link for a B2B marketing contest (feel free to nominate me )
And that represents but a small fraction of the volume of email received in one day.
If companies don’t wise up to email marketing best practices, they will be wasting their time and resources on campaigns that fall flat.
But because I believe that email still has its place, and when leveraged strategically can drive business results, I’ve decided to focus on the top 5 mistakes companies make in this realm, and how you can avoid them going forward.
Launching your email campaign without a marketing strategy or goal
Regrettably, this is a mistake that is endemic to most marketing efforts (not just email campaigns). Knee jerk reactions to marketing generally fail. You need to start with a strategy. You need for your email campaign to work within the context of a broader marketing approach. What is your goal? Are you trying to:
- Urge the recipient to sign up for something?
- Bring the recipient to your website?
- Enhance your reputation within your industry?
- Collect information about your stakeholders?
Until you determine your goal, I recommend that you hold off on the email.
Failing to segment your email campaign list
Not every stakeholder will be interested in the same information. Understand your audience. Segment your list accordingly. Target your campaigns to the folks that will be the most interested.
And if you don’t have enough information to segment your list – send out a survey to learn more about your subscribers!
Not formatting your email campaign properly
Do you still send newsletters as attachments?
Email attachments notoriously end up being tagged by spam filters, which means that your emails may not even been seen by a significant number of your stakeholders.
Make sure you are using reliable, robust and flexible email supports. Format your correspondence strategically so that it is:
- Easy to read and scan
- Includes lots of white space
- Is integrated within the body of the email (and NOT as an attachment)
- Consistent with your brand identity
Using a crummy subject line
An email subject line, much like a blog post headline, is what draws the reader in. An empty and inauthentic sales pitch in your email campaign subject line will almost certainly guarantee you a big, fat DELETE.
Instead, consider your target client’s pain points and ask a question that they often ask of themselves:
Do you struggle to X, Y, or Z?
Do you understand the difference between X and Y?
Are you tired of wasting money on X?
If written well, a subject line should move the reader to continue. It should resonate, and really speak to their frustrations and challenges. It should suggest, in an instant, that this email will bring some relief!
Not linking back to your website or landing page
Ultimately, no matter your goal, you want the reader to continue engaging with your company on a deeper level. And that’s not likely going to happen in email Neverland.
You want to bring the reader back to your website, your home base, or a landing page, where they can engage more meaningfully and ideally, take action.
Don’t overwhelm your email campaign with dozens of links that direct the reader to generic pages on your website.
If you’ve defined your goal with laser clarity, you can embed a link that will drive traffic exactly where you want it to go (your product page; to a document download page; to a contact us page, etc.)
Are you still using email as part of your marketing effort?
Have you been successful? Have you ever made any of these five mistakes? Share some of your best practice advice in the comment section below. And as always, feel free to tweet this post and distribute to your networks!