There are mistakes, then there are MISTAKES.
We have all goofed up occasionally when sending out emails, and generally speaking, people are pretty forgiving.
That said, there are some mistakes that can be nearly impossible to recover from.
Here are my top 5 deadly sins of email marketing!
1. Not having permission.
There is only one way to add someone to your email list, and that is to have them opt-in.Your email marketing list should not include names and emails from:
* Purchased or rented lists
* Personal contacts you have manually added (unless of course they have given express permission to do so)
* Contacts you have acquired through another site, even if you own the other site
There’s nothing wrong with manually adding emails you’ve gotten through trade shows, conferences or even through your personal or business address book, just be sure each person has given clear permission to be added, and has gone through the double opt-in process.
2. The hard sell.
I can pretty much guarantee that no one has joined your email marketing list to be constantly sold to.
Make your newsletter all about selling, and you’re very likely to start seeing your unsubscribe rate go through the roof.
Instead, make your emails about informing, educating, and entertaining. Feel free to promote your products or services, but do it sparingly and in a low/no-pressure manner. Some marketers keep to the 80/20 rule – 80% content, 20% pitch – but there are no hard and fast rules. If your marketing funnel ends at your website (with your website being your main tool for selling), you may not even pitch via email at all.
3. Not proofreading.
It can be tempting to hit that ‘send’ button without proofreading your email. I mean, who cares about a few typos, right?!
The problem is, there are greater dangers than just ‘a few typos’! For instance,
- Broken links
- Skewed formatting
- Incorrect merge fields
- A garbled text version of your email (this MAY or MAY NOT have happened to me)
An email with formatting errors, poor grammar or obvious typos can seem unprofessional and can give the impression that you just don’t care.
It’s easy to avoid this by having someone else take a look at your emails before you send them, or by simply sending yourself a test version of the email (both HTML and text) before you send them to your subscribers.
4. Sending too often.
The tricky part is that what defines ‘too often’ will be different depending on your business and your niche.In some niches, subscribers expect an email every single day (think Groupon), while in others, once or twice a month is quite sufficient.You probably already have a feel for how often your subscribers want to hear from you. If you don’t, take a look at your email analytics and see if there are any correlations between unsubscribe rates and how often you’ve sent emails.
Had a month where you sent 3 emails each week, and notice you had an increase in unsubscribes? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your sending frequency.
A good rule of thumb is 1-2x per week, unless your own research and analytics tell you otherwise. Any more than this, and you may risk annoying or overwhelming your subscribers.
5. Coming across as a spammer.
There are unfortunately many ways you can come across as a spammer without even realizing it.
One of the best ways to make sure no one mistakes you as a spammer is to use a name people will immediately recognize in your ‘reply to’ email address and ‘from’ field. You could use your full name, your company or website name, or a combination of both.
Some other ways to avoid being labelled ‘spam’ include avoiding:
- USING ALL CAPS
- Using lots of exclamation points!!!!!
- Overuse of words or phrases like free, ‘click here!’ (MailChimp mentions avoiding this one), credit, win, or guaranteed.
- Overuse of images
- Using numbers or characters in place of letters (like FR3E!)
Hopefully you’re not committing any of these 5 deadly email marketing sins, but if you are, it’s never too late to change your ways!
Have you fallen into any of these traps? Am I missing any? Let me know below!