“Super secret sale! This Saturday from 4-6pm only! Get 10% off all men’s underwear!”
Have you ever gotten an email that advertises a “sale” where you might save 15 cents, IF you get there at the right time, IF you know what to buy, and IF you know the super secret code word? Poorly executed email marketing annoys people you should be pleasing. It hurts your reputation as a business, and it could even have a negative impact on your sales. Here are six mistakes to avoid:
1. Sending the same thing all the time. You might think you are varying your offer, but a 15% sale on shirts one week, then a 15% sale on skirts the next week, and a 15% off sale on socks the week after that, and on and on for 3 months? I quit opening your emails after the second week, and everyone else probably did, too.
Keep a list of promotions and ideas as they occur to you and refer to it when you need inspiration. It’s a good idea to send email without a promotion now and then – just share information, or advice, or even a joke. It’s fun to not know what to expect when you open an email.
2. Focusing on what YOU need instead of what I need.You opened your business so that you could have more flexible hours, be in control, and live the life you want to live, right? You want to rule out customers who argue about price, or who are rude, or who are always late, or who always complain, or whatever. Focusing on reaching your target audience and your ideal customer is great – just make sure
you aren’t alienating them in your efforts to rule others out.
Read your emails as if they were coming from a company you do business with as a customer. For example, if you own a clothing store, you could pretend your email is from one of your vendors. Practice seeing things from your customers’ point of view.
3. Overload! Hubspot says their studies have shown that people do not unsubscribe at a higher rate whether they send weekly or daily emails. Even though they are a big, well-known agency with all kinds of expertise, I’m going to have to disagree. Unless I signed up for daily emails, don’t send me daily emails. Or even every-other-daily. You are cluttering up my inbox, taking up my time, and really getting on my nerves.
When deciding how often to click “send” consider both what your subscribers signed up to receive, your own preferences, and whether or not what you have to say is really worth your subscribers’ time.
4. Sending to me without explicit permission. If you require my email address in order for me to complete a transaction and don’t tell me that you are also adding me to your list, it’s not only rude, it’s skirting violating the law. The CAN-SPAM Act exists for lots of reasons. Besides getting my permission, you need to make sure there is a way for me to unsubscribe.
5. Using a horrible template. Just because you can use lime green text on an orange background doesn’t mean you should. Just because you like a 24 point font doesn’t mean everyone else does. You get the idea. Try to take an objective look at your template. Is it hard on the eyes? Do you have to scroll for three days to get to the bottom? Is it cluttered? Are things off-center and weird looking?
It might seem petty, but I’m pretty quick to unsubscribe from ugly newsletters. Of course “ugly” is subjective, but it’s hard to go wrong with the basics. If you have any doubts about your template, go with the simplest, most basic one you can. After all, your message is what’s important, right?
6. Being consistently negative. You don’t have to act like one of the Stepford Wives, but try to look for a little brightness. Chances are, if you are sending out marketing email, you are selling something. Happy people are more likely to spend money.
Of course, if you are selling bomb shelters or something, by all means, be negative and create as much fear as you can muster. Just don’t expect me to subscribe to your emails!
Note: As I was writing this post, it felt a little familiar. Apparently these things have been bugging me for a while. A very similar post appeared on Smiling Tree Writing on February 15, 2012. It bears repeating, though, so I’m posting this one too! Maybe this counts as a blogging mistake, but oh, well.