For many people, email marketing is a numbers game. They send over a huge number of emails just to receive a few responses. This is why they are constantly on the search for new techniques and formulas in email marketing.
And this is where the self-proclaimed email marketing gurus start prescribing techniques and methods. They use the frustration people are facing with email marketing to sell their ideas and find a small coterie of followers. You might have a small success with these techniques, but once you see beyond the end of your nose, you’ll realize that these methods are only hurting your results in the long run. You’ll lose your recipients’ trust and hurt your customer loyalty among other things.
Here are some of these mistakes.
1 – Having an unclean list
The mantra “less is more” is totally applicable in list-making. In other words, a small (but clean) list is way more valuable than a huge (but an unclean) list. A huge unclean list has a big number of inactive subscribers that no matter what, don’t care about you or your product.
Inactive subscribers incur huge costs on you, firstly because they don’t open your emails and thus lower your overall open rate (and a consistently low open rate will send a signal to mailbox providers like Google or Yahoo! that you’re spamming people), and second, they cost a lot keep — you need to pay more to your ESP (an email marketing platform such as Mailchimp) to have an unnecessarily huge list.
Most email marketers would do anything (literally anything) to grow their email list, from begging almost any blogger to feature them in their email broadcasts to promising any kind of irrelevant lead magnet to any visitor. Truth is getting featured on other people’s lists or promising lead magnets are two of the most popular (and of course effective) ways to build an email list but once they’re poorly used, they have negative effects.
It all goes back to the quality of your list. If you want to be featured on an email list, make sure you have a strategy in place regarding your message, your framing, or even identifying the bloggers that have an active and carefully-curated email list instead of just anyone with a huge list.
If you want to offer a lead magnet in a landing page, first make sure you’re driving the right traffic to your landing page, and second make sure you have a relevant lead magnet that would only be interesting to your ideal customers rather than any visitor with a little curiosity in your products or services.
A necessary step for having a clean list is running your email list through an email verifier tool and removing invalid emails.
2- Getting your emails opened at any cost
The problem begins when the open rate gets more attention than it deserves. Believe it or not, some people still rely on their campaign’s open rate to determine its success or failure. And they will do anything to improve it even if it means using deceptive subject lines.
Psychologically speaking, most deceptive subject lines typically rely on people’s anxiety or frustration and promise a way out of it. The result is they get huge open rates.
Say someone is laid off and desperately looking for a job. He will immediately open an email promising a dream job but is frustrated to find out that the email is in fact a promotional email from one of the websites he has registered on.
Using deceptive subject lines has one major downside: it reduces the trust between you and your customers over time. With every deceptive subject line sent, you’re losing a part of your subscribers’ trust. It will finally get to a level when they take all of your claims with a grain of salt. You might see a decent open rate or even click-through rate but you might wonder why in spite of all these numbers you don’t have a good conversion rate.
3- Spamming instead of cold emailing
Cold emailing still does its magic one way or another. However, unlike what most people think cold emailing is not really a pure numbers game. Having a huge contact list could definitely be a valuable asset but the quality of the list or how you approach them through your cold emails are more important.
SalesHandy explains that a successful cold email needs to address the problems of your prospects intelligently. So before ever thinking of sending out a cold email blast, make sure you know your prospects well. They also propose a 7-stage road map for a successful cold email:
- Use a familiar sender name: To build trust with your recipients, you need to make sure you’re using an authentic email sender’s name. Use your real name or your name plus your company’s name.
- Eye-catching subject line: 47% of recipients open emails solely based on the subject lines. So you need to spend a lot of time writing an eye-catching subject line. Some of the techniques are understanding your recipient’s perception and writing a subject line that addresses their problems, making your subject line personalized and tempting, and writing a clear and telling subject line.
- A simple Ice breaking introduction: Write a short introduction (2-3 sentences) and explain how you got to know them. Praise their achievements and make them feel important.
- Ask questions to engage: You should ask a question about your research and the recipient’s problem. Your question should be of one line and reflect the interest for the prospect.
- Pitch a short solution: When pitching your product or service, the focus should be on the benefits not an explanation about the product features. Write the benefits that the prospect will be getting from your product or services. Be very specific on how it will be effective for their business growth. Keeping it short and simple will do the trick for you.
- One call to action: You will have to write a call to action to actually get what you want your prospect to do with your cold email. The action can be a simple reply, schedule a call, feedback on your product or anything that gets into a business conversation. You don’t really need to sell your product right away in your cold email.
- Email Signature: Your signature should be short and value-providing. Never add too much unnecessary data with your signature. Just add your name, your designation, email id, and organization details. These details will help your recipient to know more about you. Add your telephone number and social media contacts only if it is necessary.
Moving beyond emails: post-click optimization
The success of an email marketing campaign is achieved once conversions happen. Open rates or click-through rates are only vanity metrics that would at most determine the success of your email copywriting. Once you’ve driven your recipients to a landing page, the quality of the landing page and how it’s optimized determines whether you’ve really been successful in your campaign.
In a classic must-read article on post-click optimization, Instapage explains that post-click experiences are typically neglected by ad agencies because they’re mostly focused on “ad creation”. The problem begins when only %3 of ad clicks actually convert. The article then explains that a good post-click optimization process has three pillars:
- Scalable creation: creating landing pages at scale to create multiple post-click experiences. Using a custom URL shortener, you can create multiple custom URLs, add various tags, segment your audience, and manage your links and visitors in one place.
- Optimization: A/B testing frequently to find out what’s performing well and what’s not
Personalization: increasing the relevance of the landing pages for each audience section. By working on these pillars and improving them, the post-click experience of the visitors and thus the quality of their journey will inevitably improve. As Ben Aston explains “improving the “customer journey” has proven to increase revenue up to 15% while also boosting customer satisfaction by around 20%”. This will itself increase the conversion rate of your email campaign