11 Ways to Avoid Email Marketing Disaster


11 ways to avoid email marketing disasterAlthough B2B email marketing is a well-established marketing tactic, many businesses are still doing it wrong. Don’t be one of those companies. Email is an effective way to communicate with your leads and customers if used properly. Here are 11 things not to do if you want your company’s next email campaign to be a smashing success. And 11 take-aways on how to do it right.

The Path to Disaster

1.  Failing to consider mobile devices
Mobile device usage has exploded over the last five years, and many consumers regularly access email from their smart phone, tablet or other mobile device. Screen real estate is limited on mobile devices, so keep content concise and simple.

Take away: Create mobile and text only versions of your email so that it can be easily viewed from any device.

2.  Your email is a comedy of errors
Each email represents your brand. Misspelled words, poor grammar, broken links, images missing alt tags, and other problems can make your company look  like a joke. And that’s not funny. True or not, error-laden messages communicate that your company does not value quality.

Take away:

    • Take the thyme too carefully proofread. Spellcheckers only catch misspellings, not homonyms or transposed words.
    • Don’t forget to proofread the subject line! After meticulously proofing the content, I messed up on this on my last email. Ouch!
    • Don’t assume links will work – test them.
    • Verify that all images have alt tags. Security typically blocks email images and alt tag helps the reader make sense of the red “x” that remains.
    • Send a test email to ensure that formatting displays as expected.
    • View a test on a mobile device, at least initially, until you’ve mastered the formatting.

3.  Not measuring what matters
It is essential to monitor the performance of your email campaign; you cannot improve what you do not measure. You should capture metrics like open and click-through rate to determine if your email campaign is having the intended impact.

Take away: Most organizations focus on open rates, but metrics on clicks and clicks-to-open can provide greater insight into what offers and calls to action are actually engaging your readers.

4.  Sending emails without permission
If you don’t have the recipient’s permission to send email offers you are sending spam and that is illegal. The CAN-SPAM Act regulates how you can use email to market your business. Unethical approaches will damage the reputation of your business and it’s not worth the risk.

Take away: Build your permission-based email list with a (simple!) form on your website, blog, and as a link in email signatures Building lists for targeted opt-in email marketing is a fundamental way to improve email marketing results.

5.  Poor personalization and segmentation
The word blast should be left to describe cannons, not your email strategy. Nobody wants to receive an email containing a bunch of irrelevant content.

Take away: Recipients have different concerns and interests and they respond better to messages that are tailored to those needs. Segment your database to include relevant information about your prospects, customers, and their preferences.

6.  Lame Content
No matter how much time and effort you spend building your email list, if your content is unappealing, boring, or irrelevant, recipients will discard the message. Pay special attention to the “from” and “subject”;  people will delete a message if they can’t determine the sender or if  subject appears irrelevant or spammy.

Take away: If you are not certain that a subject line is effective (and it’s difficult for even experienced marketers to “know” in advance), consider conducting an A/B test using a subset of your subscribers.

7.  You only use email
Email marketing is an excellent tool for maintaining relationships with customers, but it should not be used in isolation. Combining email with other campaign types helps keep your customers engaged and can make email efforts even more effective.

Take away: Mix up marketing tactics that reinforce your message such as lumpy mail, post cards, and social media.

8.  Embracing your inner used car salesman
Over the top BUY IT NOW! messages are not only annoying, they are flags for spam filters, which may prevent your message from even reaching recipients. Avoid using all caps, sending one big image, or using excessive punctuation. There is never a need to end a sentence with five exclamation marks. Ever!!!!!

Take away:  Emails should not read like a stereotypical used-car sales pitch. Tone it down.

9. Omitting a call to action

Always include a call to action in your emails. Great content and a quality design can be rendered ineffective if the reader has no idea what to do after reading your message.

Take away: An email shouldn’t be selling (see number 8).  It should be an enticement to a logical (and measurable) next step. And it must provide the mechanism for that next step (clicking a link).

10. Strategic fail
You wouldn’t hail a cab without knowing where you’re going.  However, many marketers do the equivalent when they initiate an email campaign without a clear idea of what they want to accomplish.

Take away: Establish goals before spending time and money on an email campaign.

11. Reporting relevance

When reporting to C-level executives, stay out of the weeds. CEOs, CMOs and CIOs don’t want to deal with minutia – they want to understand and evaluate ROI. In other words, are campaigns increasing conversions that result in more sales – or not?

Take Away: Make sure you’re focused on high-level metrics. How are your email marketing strategies paying off ?

Make new mistakes

Developing skill as an email marketer requires testing, measuring, and constantly striving for improvement. Everyone makes mistakes; effective b2b marketing requires that you keep making new ones.


One Response to “11 Ways to Avoid Email Marketing Disaster”

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  1. Joan OConnell says:

    Great stuff. Atl tags? Never knew, now that was a mistake. Thanks.Joan

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