Email marketing is one of the most effective tools when it comes to keeping in direct contact with your customers, business partners, and suppliers. Moreover, professionally crafted and informative emails can generate new and repeat business from happy readers.
Your business can use email broadcasts to share company-related news, provide loyal customers with special offers, inform your audience of new educational or thought-provoking content, and ultimately, drive traffic to your website and increase revenue.
However, there are four major email marketing faux pas that many businesses are unknowingly committing each time they send out their broadcast:
Sending Without Strategy
When it comes to email marketing, creating a pre-launch strategy is essential. In addition to design, knowing your demographic, and creating a targeted email list, it’s also important to investigate all of the factors that make a strategy succeed:
- Know the best time to send your email. By understanding your ideal client, you’ll begin to identify the times in which they’re more likely to see, open, and have a moment in their day to read your email. Based on user behaviour, some data collecting systems will even make send-time suggestions for you.
- Know the goal and intent of your email. What are you trying to achieve? Leads? Awareness? Sponsorship? Craft an email with that goal consistently in mind.
- Be sure to offer plenty of opportunities for people to subscribe to your email list. Add multiple sign-up forms on your website, promote a sign-up sheet at your front desk, and also offer an easy way for people to unsubscribe – if they determine the information isn’t of interest to them after all. The reality is, not everyone will be motivated to interact with your brand, and by allowing people to unsubscribe, you are increasing the quality of the addresses on your targeted email list.
- Ensure you’re providing email content that has value to your subscribers. This information could take shape as a helpful blog post (that links back and drives traffic to your site) or you could provide promotional discount codes (encouraging sales). What do your readers want most out of their electronic relationship with you?
- Ensure you have a straightforward call to action that invites your readers to take the next step should they be interested in learning more about your offerings. CTA’s allow the reader to connect with you (while it’s fresh in their mind) and can provide you with a potential sales lead.
Lazy Subject Lines
A creative subject line can be the difference between your email being opened/read and being sent straight to the trash box. Think about it – what types of emails are you more likely to open? For the most part, friendly subject lines are much more effective than pushy sales pitches as readers don’t typically respond to anything that feels intense or threatening.
It’s important to also think about the vibe your brand wants to articulate and the ideal audience you want to reach. Is your business of a serious nature? Can you incorporate some humour into your message? What demographic is receiving your emails? What interests your subscribers? Consider these types of questions to ensure your subject line is speaking to the right kind of audience.
A common misconception is that email marketing is too technical and too difficult. Because of this, many companies choose to send out simpler, less organized, and less visually appealing emails. However, email marketing, when done right, can pay off, and therefore requires more attention and a deeper strategy.
High-quality images, a healthy use of brand colour, and template consistency can go a long way. When images are pixelated, or too small, and text is not formatted correctly, your email is more likely to get deleted. Why? Because unprofessional emails can come across as “spam,” even if they aren’t.
The same goes for emails that are too busy and chaotic – they scare your subscribers away! We know you want to catch your reader’s attention, but flashing GIFs and too many calls to action can be overwhelming (and annoying). Professionalism and consistency is key.
Sending Without Permission
Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) has made it mandatory to have permission to send electronic messages to your list of recipients unless you have an existing business relationship with them. The CASL legislation, which came into effect on July 1st, 2014, aims to protect Canadians from spam, electronic threats, and to instill confidence in digital technology.
As a Canadian business that utilizes email marketing, it is your responsibility to ensure your broadcasts are only sent to individuals who have agreed to receive them. Should your email list include those who have not verified consent, it is wise to remove them in preparation for stricter laws and potential lawsuits.
Update: While July 1, 2017, had been scheduled to mark the day Canadian citizens would gain the legal right to sue organizations that committed CASL violations, the Canadian Government, as of June 7th, 2017, has suspended this action, pending review.
“Canadians deserve to be protected from spam and other electronic threats so that they can have confidence in digital technology. At the same time, businesses, charities and other non-profit groups should have reasonable ways to communicate electronically with Canadians. We have listened to the concerns of stakeholders and are committed to striking the right balance.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Sending an email without intent is never a good idea. By going through the checklist above, and ensuring you have a strategic view of your audience and the mission of your email, your business has a much better shot at securing new subscribers and new business through email marketing.