Email marketing can be one of the most cost-effective and flexible ways for small- to medium-sized businesses to reach their target audience. Recent reports from the Direct Marketing Association show that email marketing campaigns yield an ROI of 4,300%. In a world where everyone is on the go, email marketing campaigns allow business owners to reach consumers no matter where they may be. In fact, 77% of consumers surveyed in conjunction with a recent study said they prefer receiving opt-in email marketing communications. Yet with so many others bombarding email boxes, not getting caught in the spam shuffle can become a challenge.
Inspired by the final season of HBO's hit supernatural show True Blood, here are some reasons why your communications may end up in the trash bin, even when the content is relevant:
Sabotaged by the subject line
The subject line of your email is your first line of defense. It is the one element a recipient uses to determine whether your communication is legit or a potential computer virus. The subject line tells the recipient what they are about to read. One that is vague, long (more than 50 characters), generic, and doesn't pertain to their business are very likely to remain unopened. Subject lines that are typed in all caps and contain lots of exclamation points are a sure fire way to sound your recipients' inner spammer alarm should the email make it past their spam filter (which are becoming more sensitive to these types of elements). Seeing these elements can make a recipient run from your email as fast as they would from an approaching vampire with his fangs drawn.
Sending to those who haven't subscribed
There are few things more irritating than receiving unsolicited emails. Adding recipients who haven't opted in to your distribution lists will not only lead to a massive amount of unsubscribe requests and spam complaints, but also has a negative effect on your reputation, brand and analytics. Not including and opt-out option and failure to remove those who have opted out from your distribution list within 10 days not only adds insult to injury but is a violation of the Can-SPAM Act. Failure to send a welcome email - including what to expect and how to customize their settings - can also lead to current and perspective customers requesting to unsubscribe.
Sharing isn't always caring
There is such a thing as too much information. Including too much information and sending too many emails can negate all of your well-intentioned email marketing efforts. Failure to set up an email schedule and sending communications that aren't relevant gives the impression that you are disorganized and don't value your audience. Email communications shouldn't be limited to sales and product promotions. They should include informative content such as valuable industry news and your company's most recent blog posts. A constant stream of irrelevant, impersonal emails can lead to your current and perspective customers shutting their doors to you.
Crash landing on the wrong page
Even if you've gotten everything else right, it can all go wrong if your email marketing campaign links to the wrong landing page. When the links within your email don't respond to your call to action, leaving the recipient to search your website for the correct information, you will quickly lose their interest and the opportunity to convert them to a sale.
Mic check 1,2...1,2...
Just because everything looks ok as you are imputing the information into your email client doesn't mean it will look that way once it lands in inboxes. Failure to test your email campaigns before sending them to your distribution list can result in missed opportunity to get your message out and an increase in requests to unsubscribe. Once the communication goes out, you've missed the opportunity to do things such as correct the formatting, remove that sentence that isn't working so well with the rest of your message, or make sure that the email can be viewed on mobile devices. According to research conducted by Litmus, 69% of users delete emails that aren't optimized for mobile devices. With over 48% of all emails being opened on mobile devices, not taking the time to test emails can keep you from getting your message out.
What are some of the email marketing campaign mistakes that you've made? What is some advice that you would give to marketers that are new to the email campaign world?