Stop Making These 10 Email Marketing Strategy Mistakes

November 19th, 2012 by Adam Q. Holden-Bache

Businesses have been using email to market their products and services for over ten years now. That’s long enough to identify significant improvements to their campaigns and implement ideas and best practices employed by other marketers.

But even though marketers have had a long time to improve their messaging, many marketers continue to re-deploy tired campaigns and settle for the status quo. And many marketers continue to make the exact same strategic, copywriting, design, and programming mistakes they’ve been making for years.

It’s time to put an end to these worn-out strategies, some of which are simply the opposite of industry best practices. Now is the time to become a better marketer. And that starts with planning and implementing a proper email marketing strategy.

Stop making these 10 email marketing strategic mistakes.

1. Not Having A Goal

What is the purpose of your campaign? Is it obvious to the recipient what you want them to do after reading your email? If you don’t know what the goal or objective is for your campaign, then your recipient won’t know either.

2. Continuing to Batch-and-Blast

If you have data on your recipients, previous campaign history, and a number of online transactions, why aren’t you using that data to your advantage? Prepare more relevant messaging by using dynamic content, personalization, and segmentation.

3. Not Providing Value To The Recipient

Recipients must find value in your messages or they’ll ignore or delete them. If an email doesn’t save time, save money, educate, or provide some other form of value, then it’s of no use to the recipient. They’ll unsubscribe, or even worse, remain on your list without even opening your emails.

4. Not Having A Clear Call To Action

You’re sending the email for a reason. Don’t make recipients guess what it is. Provide a clear, concise call to action and place it in prominently. It should stand out from the rest of the message and be obvious to the recipient how to take the next step.

Email Marketing Strategy Mistakes5. Ignoring Reporting/Analytics

Your campaign reporting provides a lot of valuable data. How are you using that information to your advantage? Are you learning from every campaign and trying to improve your results?

6. Not Tracking Conversions

The goal for many campaigns takes place after a click through to a web site. An opt-in, a download, a registration, or a purchase are typical goals for a campaign. Marketers need to make sure they can track actions from the email to the web, to know how their email resulted in conversions.

7. Expecting Immediate Return

Like many other forms of advertising and marketing, repetition and relevance is key to generating success. Many marketing goals must be earned. And they are usually achieved over a significant length of time by nurturing recipients over multiple campaign cycles. Remember, low response rates on your first campaign does not mean failure. You’re building recognition and trust over time.

8. Not Providing Contact Information

If a recipient wants to reach out and connect, either via email or some other channel, make sure you provide them with a way to do so. Include links to your web site and social channels, your phone number, or alternate email addresses. And don’t send your email from a ‘donotreply’ address.  Communication is a two-way street.

9. Not Understanding Your Audience

Many say the #1 rule of marketing is “Know Your Audience.” If you don’t know what they want, how will you know what they need? Use your reporting, analytics, and conversion metrics to understand what matters to your recipients. Constantly refine and test to make sure you know what moves them to action.

10. Ignoring New Trends

Marketing tactics change over time. If you ignore the latest trends, your campaigns will suffer. Are you ignoring social sharing on the rising social channels such as LinkedIn and Pinterest? Are you making your emails mobile-friendly? Have you thought about using responsive design? Don’t ignore the latest trends — get in early and use them to position your campaigns ahead of your competition.

What other strategic mistakes do you see marketers making in their email campaigns?


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  • http://twitter.com/dan_design Dan Jak

    Another great post. Why some of the email marketers do not obey these simple rules?

  • http://masstransmit.com/ Mass Transmit

    We’ve found many marketers frequently overlook the obvious. It’s always good to revisit the basics on occasion. That’s why we’re doing this series of posts- we want to help marketers get the fundamentals right and build up from there.

  • Pingback: Top 20 Experts Share Big Email Marketing Mistakes – UpCity

  • JonesCat

    Here’s a question:
    Let’s say you have a worthless email campaign that has been going on forever, and you no longer have the support or material/content coming in on a regular basis to continue maintaining it. How should you *stop* the campaign and cause minimal damage? Should you just suddenly no longer send it out and “quietly excuse yourself from customers’ inboxes”? Should you make an announcement that it is the last newsletter you’re sending out, potentially drawing unwanted attention to your useless campaign? etc.

    What’s the best way to halt something that isn’t working for you, and isn’t providing your clients with value?

  • http://www.masstransmit.com/ Adam Q. Holden-Bache

    If an email isn’t providing recipients with value they’ve probably tuned out already. So it’s likely they won’t miss it in their inbox. You can determine this by checking your analytics and seeing how many recipients open and interact with your messages. However, I believe the answer here depends on the future and whether or not you plan to market to these same contacts at a later time, and whether or not you have an offline relationship exists with your contacts.

    My first though is why not try to improve the quality of what you’re sending? Can you create better content but send less frequently? Can you find a way to produce better content? Sometimes a small investment in content can reap big rewards in conversions.

    If that’s not possible and you’re ending your email campaign indefinitely, just stopping delivery is probably fine. But if you plan on sending to the same recipients again, you’ll want to hold onto whatever interest you still have left.

    In that case let the recipients know you’re taking a short break and that you’ll be back with better content in the future. And maybe ask them (via poll or survey) what they’d like to hear from you. Take that into consideration as you plan your future marketing content.

    Hope that helps. If you’d like to discuss further let me know. And if Mass Transmit can offer any help with campaign improvements feel free to contact us.