3 Common Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Do you want to gain your customers’ full attention at the ideal time to make the most sales? That’s the exact power of email marketing – the one channel that brings the most consistent ROI in today’s online marketing world.

Yet at the end of the day, you scroll through your analytics and your sales numbers seem a bit low. Perhaps you are making some of the following email marketing mistakes?

1. Forgetting to Ask for Permission Before Emailing Your Prospects

The easiest way to kill your email marketing campaign before it even starts is not getting people’s permission prior to emailing them. There’s a fine line between offering the products a prospect may be interested in and bombing them with unsolicited offers (AKA spam).

Here are the big no-no’s you should avoid at all costs:

  • Gathering all your contacts from Gmail/Outlook and putting them onto your email list.
  • Adding email addresses from business cards gathered at events.
  • Adding prospects to your email list without getting their confirmation first.

Always ask for permission. As Seth Godin, the evangelist of permission marketing, stresses: “Treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.” And attention is the most valuable assert these days.

2. Your Website Lacks Proper Subscription Options

So you want to grow your email list the right way. Have a closer look at your subscription box – is it tucked somewhere on the sidebar of your website among the ads? Or does it pop up at the least convenient time possible?

Don’t forget the simple truth – your visitors are always in a hurry. They scan rather then read. They want to get a quick perk, rather than a long-term benefit. They have short attention spans and need blissful messages hitting their sweet spot if you want to gain their full attention. What you need to do is:

  • Create multiple catchy subscription forms at strategic places (above the fold, on an exit-intent popup, below your content/blog posts). According to Workcrowd, the free service Mailchimp is the easiest and most convenient solution for small and medium businesses to build many different forms. As a large company, you may need to opt for more professional paid solutions.
  • Offer a quick sweet bait your prospect cannot resist.
  • Curate 2+ subscription lists to “trap” different audience segments with different baits.
  • Offer a limited-time bait – e.g., a free ecourse – to create a sense of urgency and get more signups
  • Add a subscription link to your email signature. Share it on social media and add it to your author bio when writing guest posts.

3. Poor List Segmentation

Once you have some subscribers on your list, you do the obvious thing – start sending out the same offers to everyone. You may think it’s the right thing to do. But sadly, it’s not the smartest thing to do. If you offer more than one product or service, effective segmentation is your key to more sales, lower unsubscribe rates, and higher engagement. Here a few ways to segment your list:

  • By location: Do you have any content/products that may particularly appeal to certain locations? Got a lot of subscribers from emerging markets, but pitiful sales? Gauge their interest with a special promotion.
  • By different product interests: For example, 20-somethings and Baby Boomers often like different stuff. Refine your list by offering relevant products to different segments – e.g., board games for young adults and baby toys for 60+ folks looking for a present for their grandchildren.
  • By different buying patterns: To gain better results, you should send different types of emails to new subscribers and those who’ve already bought from you once. Use a soft sale or a hard sale depending on whom you’re contacting.
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Written by:
Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien
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