Email marketing is one of the best ways to promote your business.
But many small businesses are still leery of using email. Either they only use email to send out an occasional greeting or they don’t use email at all because they themselves “hate” email and they don’t want their customers or prospects to hate them.
Well. I only have one thing to say about that.
Build a bridge and get over it.
Email is here to stay and likely will become more important to marketers as they develop smarter automation methodologies within segmented lists. It’s all about monitoring the behavior of your lists and responding with the appropriate messaging. But let’s put that aside for a moment and look at the top 3 email marketing mistakes I see.
1. You haven’t set any email marketing goals.
Whenever you use a marketing tactic, you must create a goal. You need to know exactly what you’re hoping to get out of this magic bus ride and it shouldn’t be “because everyone else is doing it.”
Here are some possible goals:
- Upsell current customer list
- Increase brand awareness to a prospect list
- Announce new products and services to all lists
- Share valuable information with all lists that will help them
- Promote a specific marketing asset such as a white paper, special report, eBook, etc.
Once you determine what your goal is, then you’ll be better equipped to know what type of message you want to send. Just like George Harrison sang, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there…”
2. You’re afraid your email marketing will tick off your list and you’ll have unsubscribes.
Let’s get this one out of the way. You will absolutely have unsubscribes. But here’s the dirty little secret: no matter how rarely you send an email to your list, you’ll probably always have at least a few unsubscribing, depending on the size of your list.
Some people think that an email list should only be used when announcing the “big stuff.” However, you really need to keep in touch with your list more than once every other month or even once a month. Once a month isn’t going to help your business or your list. You need to keep your business fresh in their minds throughout the month and that doesn’t happen with one email.
I send out a bi-monthly email e-newsletter. I have articles and helpful copywriting and marketing advice for my list, which includes both my clients and those who have signed up for my list. Many of them are small business owners. And I’ve gotten business from emailing this list often. Why? Because I’ve been there when they needed my services. [themecolor](And if you want it, right-click the button below to open a separate window to subscribe.)[/themecolor]
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Realize that when people sign up for an email list, they know they’re going to be sent a series of emails. (I can hear you gasping… yes, it’s true!) They choose which emails to open and which to delete. That’s the beauty of email. Your reader gets to choose but they don’t have that choice if they’re not receiving a regularly scheduled amount of email from you.
The other bonus is that once your emails are familiar to your readers, some of them will actually start to respond by sending you a message every once in awhile. And that my friends, is when you know you’ve hit pay dirt. Engagement is the brass ring on this carousel and you don’t get it by sending out one email a month.
3. You make email marketing all about you.
Ugh. I get these types of emails all the time. I’m seriously contemplating creating a boilerplate message to send back to the marketer:
I know you meant well. I know you’re hoping this email will serve as a tasty morsel dangling from the hook of a fishing line and that I’ll bite.
However, here’s a news tip: I don’t eat the same food as you do! Meaning: you’re trying to feed me your brand of yummy-ness but all I want is a real worm. Not a candy worm. Not a fake worm. But a real, live worm.
This email is all about you and guess what? I don’t care. Make it about me next time and maybe we can have lunch together.
There are far too many marketers who think their email marketing should highlight their business offerings all the time, no matter what. Here’s a recent example with my notes inline:
Hope this email finds you the best of your health and cheer!! [themecolor](I don’t care for pleasantries with email although I’m a very polite person when dealing with people face-to-face. There is NO HEADLINE with this email. You have to grab my attention right out of the gate. Being greeted as though I’m a first-cousin isn’t doing it.)[/themecolor]
We are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) reseller firm with 365+ executives including Google Analytics and Ad words certified professionals. [themecolor](Immediate and complete FAIL. You started out with “we,” not “you.” Why not ask me a question such as, “Do you want more traffic for your website? Are you wondering what you need to do to get on the first page of Google when people search for your service? If you’ve been looking for an SEO solution, then this will be the most important message you’ll read.” BOOM! Open the letter up this way and I’ll be riveted to your message. That is, if I really do want to improve my SEO.)[/themecolor]
We are providing affordable reseller SEO services and assure to give you white label reseller SEO services. [themecolor](This doesn’t make much sense to me. The marketer hasn’t really identified well my problem, let alone define what a “white label reseller” is all about.)[/themecolor]
We assure you that our SEO prices will give you good amount of margin in your pocket. Also, Your Company and your customer information will be confidential.[themecolor] (There are no percentages or numbers in this claim. It would help to prove your claims if you had some hard numbers.)[/themecolor]
Here are the benefits for our Resellers –[themecolor] (The benefits aren’t bad but they are not phrased in a way that makes me feel like you’re really speaking my language.)[/themecolor]
• Good Amount of Profit margin.
• No Infrastructure cost.
• No Employment worries.
• Confidentially of client information.
• High Return on Investment.
Our goals are very simple. We believe in Security, Choice, Quality and Speed and therefore you are assured of results that meet the highest quality standards. All of our practices are “White Hat Technique” and ethical and therefore you can be assured of results that get your client’s website the best placements. [themecolor](You don’t need to capitalize “security” or the rest of the deliverables. Again, you’re talking about what you believe in. Why not pivot this and say, “I’m sure you don’t want some nameless group jeopardizing your online security. With Google being even more diligent than ever at exposing [and banning] “black hat SEO” trickery, we want to assure you that you’ll be safe.” Or some such. Again, make it about me… me… me…)[/themecolor]
If you are interested, then I would be happy to send you our clients’ testimonials, package details and pricing. [themecolor](This would be an excellent place to link to a web page that already had all this information on it. Track the clicks with your email service provider. If I fall into the group who clicked, you then send that group another prospect-nurturing email. Quickly.)[/themecolor]
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
[themecolor](Aaack! No P.S.!! This email feels half-naked! Always put a P.S. in a prospecting message that gives me a very strong call to action. VERY strong. Like “Your competitors are already moving ahead with SEO that is rocketing them to the top of the search engines. Don’t be left behind! A quick phone call with one of our reps will give you a free audit of your site. There’s no obligation. Just give us a call and let us show you how we can get you to the top of the mountain. We can’t wait to hear from you.” You might think it sounds schmaltzy, but I need something to push me toward action. More people skip the message and look directly at the signature line. The P.S. is a great way to get a message across even if I skipped reading everything else.)[/themecolor]
Do you see how a reader would be asking this question, “So when are you going to stop yammering on about your service and focus on my challenges?”
There is little proof in this email, which is necessary if you’re going to try to sell something. There also is no picture of what my life would look like with this seller’s solution. Again, the focus is on describing this business’ service without much thought to me.
Plus, it’s a canned message on top of it, which is spam. I didn’t sign up for a list and the message I received was obviously one sent to a a large group of people. There is absolutely no custom messaging to this and no evidence that the person sending it checked out my website to learn more about what I do.
But it did help me in one way. It served as a great example for this blog post. ;-)
Realize that email marketing can help your business in many ways. All you need to do is create some goals and then go for it! Email marketing is both a science and an art. Commit yourself to testing new ideas and approaches. Test different headlines. Test different designs. Don’t be afraid when something flops. Remember that the more you do this, the better you’ll become.
And… you’ll find the customers who really love you and will reward you by continuing to buy from you because you put their needs first above your own. A true “win-win” situation.