Lindsay Thomas // Feb 28 2012
Email marketing is a great tool for reaching out to potential clients and nurturing leads. Unfortunately, email marketing can be a double-edged sword. Some emails are so maddening that they make a person want to become physically violent.
Thankfully we love our computers too much to do them any real harm. So take a deep breath, do a quick meditation, and take a look at this list of email marketing fails. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to maintain your calm because each fail is accompanied by a quick tip on how to avoid stabbing your business with that double-edged sword.
Email marketing is popular because it allows businesses to reach a wide range of potential clients quickly and at a low cost. But if you’re planning on marketing worldwide and don’t craft a message for different languages, your efforts are wasted before you even click send.
How to avoid it: If you plan on targeting a number of international contacts be sure to create a coherent message in each language. If need be, recruit a native speaker to help you translate your message. Nothing makes you look worse than trying to communicate in a language your audience can’t understand.
[emailoptin type="strategy"][/emailoptin]Without a clear way to unsubscribe from your email, irritated users will mark you as spam which will in turn negatively affect your future campaigns. Delivery will decrease and your overall reputation will take a hit.
How to avoid it: Include an unsubscribe link and make it as clear and easy as possible for email recipients to find and use.
Your message can only gain traction if the right audience sees it, otherwise you’re just spinning your marketing wheels. If you’re an SEO company, don’t target other SEO companies. Your competitors are not your potential clients.
How to avoid it: Don’t pull a large list of users and send an email blast, send specific messages to targeted audiences. If you have a list of users who subscribed to an email series on Pay Per Click best practices, don’t send them information on trucker hats and bunny slippers.
Be clear about what it is you’re marketing with a straightforward subject line. It’s the first thing a recipient will see and often times it makes the difference between whether the email is opened or immediately discarded.
How to avoid it: Think about the value of the service you’re offering and construct a subject line that appeals to the specific needs of your target audience. Your subject not only needs to be to the point, but it also needs to be significant to your reader, otherwise your message will end up in the trash before anyone has a chance to see it.
Plenty of marketers spend their time creating a clear description of their product or service along with reasons why it’s valuable. Excellent marketers tell their audience exactly what they should do about it.
How to avoid it: When you begin writing your email, make sure that you know what you want the reader to do, be it a subscription, a whitepaper download, or a phone call. Once you have a clear action in mind offer easy ways in which the reader can engage in that activity multiple times throughout the message. Often times a clear call to action at the end of your email will have the most impact as it’s the last impression that the user takes with them.
Really? We just met and now you want to go steady? Why I hardly know you!
How to avoid it: Email marketing should be an effort to build a solid relationship with your contacts. If you go for the sale immediately most readers will be put off and your efforts will be in vain. Instead think about what you can do to add value to the fact that they belong to your email List. If you can do that you’re much more likely to end up with a lead that’s ready to convert in the future as opposed to one that unsubscribes immediately.
The appearance of your message is just as important as what you write about. In fact most readers will already have created a first impression of your company and message before they’ve even read the email.
How to avoid it: Sure it’s ok to have different colors but make sure that you have a design team helping you create a professional format. Save the pink letters for junior high.
So that’s it, our top 7 list of email marketing fails. Did we miss any? Have you seen anything that should be included? Let us know in the comments section.
Lindsay spent a few years at comScore helping clients like Microsoft and Fox Interactive understand their web traffic analytics, worked on her own business for a while, then joined Portent as an Inbound Marketing Associate. Read More