Let’s face it: at some point or another, we’ve all been guilty of these email marketing mistakes. The good news though: most of them are really easy to fix, and – with a little determination on your end – eradicating them can work wonders for your conversion rates.
Email marketing mistake #1: Not segmenting your email lists
Do you remember my last post about good subject lines? And what did I say? Make sure your emails are relevant to your target audience. And how can you be relevant if you’re trying to hit everyone with one-size-fits all email?
The truth is: there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits all newsletter. The same way as you don’t send the same birthday wishes to your boss, grandma, best friend and your boyfriend – you should not send the same email to all your subscribers.
Segment your list according to your subscribers’ different needs, interests and personal profile. Segment them depending on where you got their email from – they signed up for a different reason, so they expect different content.
Segmenting by needs, interests and profile
Imagine you’re selling animal products online. Wouldn’t it make sense to write different emails to dog and cat owners?
Imagine you are a marketing coach selling online courses. You probably have a few different products you are offering to your customers: you sell courses on email marketing and social media marketing. You have a list of emails of clients that bought your online courses in the past. Sending information relevant to your clients’ interest in the past (expressed, ekhm, with where they used their credit cards on your website) is going to boost your conversions.
Segmenting by where you got their email from
Let’s continue with the marketing coach example. In order to show your customers value, you offered some freebies: a free email marketing blueprint and a social media schedule worksheet. Both could be downloaded from different landing pages with a sign-up form. Your subscribers expressed interest in a certain product at this point – don’t send them something that is not related to their interest.
This is the only way to make your emails really personal and relevant.
‘But if I do that my email lists will be tiny!’
So what? As Neil Patel said: ‘If you are chasing quantity over quality when it comes to your email newsletter list, then you are wasting your time.’ It’s better to have a small email list of engaged subscribers than a large list of dead souls. Read Neils’ post on the possible consequences of having a large list with low engagement (hint: you may be blacklisted for spamming.)
Email marketing mistake #2: Overusing images
We’ve been told way too many times that ‘an image speaks more than a thousand words’. A big email marketing mistake that a lot of email marketers make is believing that attractive visuals are more important than good copy.
Some newsletter senders like to even replace their whole email body with an image (containing text and all).
The big fat problem with using images in newsletters is that 67% of email users have images in their email body disabled by default.
This means that what they see when they open your whole-image-as-body email is this:
…and because an average person spends only around 20 seconds reading an email, clicking this ‘enable images’ button may already be too much to ask of an impatient subscriber. (Who likes jumping so many hoops to read a bl**dy email?! Who?!)
The irony is, some of my favourite-ever newsletters have no images in the body text at all. No fancy templates either. No cool fonts. Nothing.
My favourite newsletter from a storytelling coach Jamie Jensen: http://thejamiejensen.com/
Just *really great copy* that speaks to me. Speaks my language. Makes me feel like the author really understands me and has written especially for me. That tells a story.
Email marketing mistake #3: Not telling a story
…because you don’t have a plan (yes, I will be hammering it home with every post: having an email marketing strategy is a key to your success!)
If your newsletter sequence does not make sense when put together, it’s like a really bad essay: messy, incoherent, and hard to read.
If, however, your newsletter tells a story, your subscribers will be waiting for the next email the way they are waiting for the next episode of [insert your favourite series].
You may probably look for an excuse now ‘But I’m running a really boring / traditional/ ecommerce business and I can’t tell a good story about it!’
You can write a great story about anything. Screws. Sheep. Dog food. You just need to be personal and passionate.
Think about your own / your customers personal story that involves the product or service you are selling. Sit down to write about it, without even thinking that you are writing a newsletter. Think about everything that is interesting about it: successes. Failures. Struggles. Wins.
Need some help? Give me a shout.
Email marketing mistake #4: Sending emails from a do-not-reply address
Do you like getting these spammy and salesy emails from some souleless marketing agency? One-sided communication you cannot even reply to?
Well, neither do your subscribers. So always make sure you are sending your emails from a trusted address the recipients can reply to (e.g. email@example.com, not firstname.lastname@example.org)
Email marketing mistake #5: Missing out on email marketing funnels
So, you made sure your newsletter is relevant to the subscribers, it doesn’t excessively rely on images they won’t see anyway, and it’s well-thought through in advance and tells a compelling story.
Your subscribers love it.
But so what if you have not included any email marketing funnels, calls to action, or links to your social media in it?!
They read it and then nothing happens.
For your newsletters to convert you need to give your subscribers an opportunity to do something after reading the email:
- Continue reading your story on your blog [link to the blog post]
- Redeem the discount you were talking about [link to the checkout page]
- Get that new product / feature [link to the checkout / upgrade page]
- Sign up for the fantastic course you just told them about [link to a signup form]
Email marketing mistake #6: Forgetting about sign-up forms
The biggest email marketing mistake you can probably make is that…you are not collecting subscribers. You are spending a lot of time writing these great blog posts and promoting them on social media, offering free content, and being active…but you simply do not give your readers enough opportunity to subscribe.
So, come on, bring on some pop-ups and signup forms:
For more ways to collect subscribers, check out my previous post about it here.