10 Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing
Email marketing – these two words used to conjure up scary images of mail that had been sitting in your inbox for years, gathering up notifications from the companies that were wanting to (not so subtly) push you to purchase items from their websites. But, over the past decade or two, email marketing has significantly grown in popularity due to its profound evolution, the ability to really target different demographics and to build a strong and active community around a brand. Goodbye, boring pushy emails – hello beautifully crafted value-led content!
If you haven’t already introduced email marketing into your strategies yet, it’s time to start.
However, we know it isn’t always that easy. Where and how do you actually start to craft this beautiful, engaging content? What if you have been using email marketing for a while, but always end up coming away fruitless and frustrated?
Well, this one’s for you!
Email marketing can look like a puzzle; if you don’t have the correct pieces that fit together, then it just won’t work. For example, you can’t just blanket email an old list of a thousand people for the first time with a weak offer and expect ground-breaking results. You need to warm them up, give them some attention and love, and make them invest in your brand.
To be successful, you have to put some hard work into it and take all the necessary steps towards your goal of turning your potential customers into ACTUAL customers.
So, with this in mind, let’s run through the top ten do’s and don’ts that make the jigsaw puzzle easier to put together.
The Do’s of Email Marketing
Decide who will be on the receiving end of your campaign
When you sit down to start making your campaign, you must figure out who you want to reach. Moreover, you will need to make sure that your email list consists of people that will actually be interested in your products or services.
Now, you might be scratching your head wondering how you could get anyone’s email addresses in the first place, but the solution is pretty simple.
You can use a ‘Subscribe’ button throughout your website, or you can include a pop-up box when visitors to your site go to leave or if they navigate to another page. You can gather email addresses within your store or even run competitions that require email addresses to enter. You could even create a high-value lead magnet and hide it behind a paywall on your website. There are plenty of options out there!
Set goals for your campaign and yourself
To be successful from the start, you must set goals for both yourself and your campaign.
What are you trying to achieve? How do you plan on doing it?
After these two questions, think about what the most common goals of an email marketing campaign are. There is a list of a few below to help you get started;
- Attracting new subscribers: Let them know about your business and the value you offer to develop a thriving community of brand ambassadors, repeat customers and loyal followers.
- Increase your engagement or sales: This goal focuses solely on getting your viewers to come in-store, or interact with your website/social media content – whether this is making online purchases, entering competitions, attending events or simply following your social media channels.
- Provide value to existing subscribers: Is there anything you would like to offer your loyal subscribers? If there is, let them know. This could be in the form of VIP offers, behind the scenes footage, previews of new products, or even an exclusive discount.
Decide what kind of email you would like to send
Knowing what type of email you want to send is critical, as it will help you to choose what wording you want to include in the body of your email. Tout plainly, this is what will attract new customers and drive sales.
When choosing what kind of email you want to send, ask yourself the following questions;
- Are you offering new products or services, or displaying specific or unique sales?
- Are you sending a newsletter providing information about your company’s recent activities or providing your subscribers with information about plans for your business?
- Are you going to be sharing some informative, humourous or relevant content, such as blogs or videos, that will add value to their lives and encourage them to read future emails?
- Is the topic really worth emailing your database?
Many businesses think they need to email their subscribers a lot in order to keep them engaged, but there is nothing worse than emailing people for the sake of it. Always make sure you have something valuable to offer otherwise it’s likely you will face unsubscribes and a reduction in open rates in the long term. Ask yourself – would I actually read this? If the answer is no, go away and find something newsworthy!
Use the perks of technology
The wonders of technology can make email marketing so much easier than it used to be. If you do your research to find the best tools and learn how to use them all correctly, it can lead to your email marketing campaigns being very successful.
It’s important to invest time into understanding analytics, software integration, automation etc, as this will help you to get the basics of a successful campaign together and enable you to save time and benchmark in the future. Having this knowledge will enable you to send promotional emails, target individual demographic, segment your audience, schedule updates, respond to your customers quickly and so much more.
Create an engaging subject line
It’s a known fact that the subject line of an email is the first thing you see, so this is the pivotal make or break moment for any email campaign and its success. When an email’s subject line is eye-catching, it will attract the reader’s interest, and therefore, this will lead him or her to open and read the email.
Think about what you want to say carefully before you write the subject line while keeping in mind the following tips:
Keep it short; Around 41 characters is the optimal length for a subject line, so use your space wisely.
Get straight to the point; No one likes being misled at the best of times, but especially when it’s from a company that they are interested in. Remember, honesty is key. No click-bait, fake promises or misleading your readers.
Personalise your subject lines; Adding the reader’s name to your subject line will automatically draw their attention, so there is a higher chance that they’ll open your email.
Think about emojis; Emojis can really pop when they are surrounded by plain text subject lines and do improve open rates, but it’s important to consider whether they represent your brand. Don’t squeeze them in if they don’t fit. Consistency is key.
Ensure the body of your email is easy to read
An email shouldn’t feel like information overload, so make a point of keeping your emails short and sweet or well spaced-out into bite-size chunks. You don’t want to make it too condensed as it’s important to inject emotion and value, but lengthy text-block emails are unlikely to be thoroughly read.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing the body of your email;
Hook them in at the start; Having a great opening at the beginning of your email will make the recipient continue reading as they are curious to find out more.
Comfortability is vital; Remember that people like to make an emotional connection to others – it’s part of our human nature. So, instead of purely focusing on what you have to offer, tell your readers a personal story, an interesting company update, a message from the Founder or even a picture of the team to make that human connection stand out – essentially, you need to make sure that you don’t seem like a robot.
Personalisation; Make a point to use your reader’s name throughout the email if you have the data available. This gives the reader the impression that they are being spoken to, and in turn, reinforces the human element.
Now that we’ve given you some tips, let’s focus on the things that you need to avoid doing! If you read through the below and start wincing as you’ve been making these mistakes, don’t panic – lots of businesses have been in your shoes and turned their strategies around successfully! It’s never too late to reignite your email database, after all, they cared enough to register.
The Dont’s of Email Marketing
Send email after email when you have nothing to offer!
This is one of our biggest dislikes and, sadly something we often see. Picture this, you go for a romantic anniversary dinner with your partner, as you leave you sign up to join their newsletter as the waiter mentioned you could win a bottle of wine, the next day you receive an email asking for a review. You leave a glowing Facebook review and have had a brilliant impression of the business. Fast-forward three weeks later, you’ve had three emails a week, they are purely pushing bookings, they are filling your inbox, and eventually, you unsubscribe. The relationship over and that great first impression is tarnished.
What should have happened is the restaurant should have stopped while they were ahead. After the review email, they should have waited a few weeks and then sent a value-led newsletter packed with insights into where their ingredients are sourced, some cooking tips from the head chef, an offer, perhaps even a link to an article or recipe that’s hosted on their website. It’s interesting, engaging, and shows they care. They could even automate an email prompting you to make a reservation for your next anniversary meal!
Being spammed constantly with sales emails is a fantastic way to turn people away from your business. However, using emails to create and nurture a community can lead to huge results, so it’s all about finding a balance that works for you and them.
Using too many images
You may want to create really sleek emails and find the best way to do this is by creating the email in a graphic format. However, due to emails generally being opened on mobile devices nowadays, often the images don’t resize or render properly on these devices. Sometimes the text shows up really small, or the image simply doesn’t load due to poor WiFi and they are left looking at a blank email. They can look really nice on a desktop, but if the readers can’t read them, it’s not going to work.
It’s also possible that your readers have disabled images on their phones in order to save their data. In addition to this, sometimes images take a long time to load, and you don’t want your readers’ interest to drop if they have to wait.
Play it safe, and repeat your key messages across in text and graphics.
Don’t forget to add a call to action
A call to action doesn’t have to be a massive thing; it can be as simple as directing traffic to your latest blog.
No matter how amazing your email is, if you don’t add an actionable CTA, it can lead to failure, because let’s face it – one email isn’t enough to demonstrate all your business has to offer. It also helps you to track how successful your emails are as you can review analytics and get a better understanding of consumer behaviour. An email shouldn’t just be a standalone activity, you should intertwine it with your other marketing activities and leave readers with plenty of content to absorb on a variety of platforms.
Don’t send your email without checking for errors
To ensure every success for your email marketing campaign, you will want to do a thorough check before you hit send – actually, maybe do a double or triple check first to make sure! It can also help to get a pair of fresh eyes to take a glance – we always have at least three team members reviewing every campaign we organise! Sometimes when you invest a lot of time into something, you can overlook little mistakes as you are so absorbed in it, whereas someone from the outside can easily spot them.
Make sure to check for pesky typos, broken links, missing alt tags and any other errors, as you only get one chance to impress your readers and mistakes look sloppy and unprofessional. If you do make a mistake, weigh up the damage before acting. If it’s only a minor issue, it may be worth leaving it be, but if you have accidentally sent a campaign to a completely different demographic than you had planned, own up and apologise as the reader is probably a bit confused. All is not lost though – by adding in some humour and holding your hands up, you can remind your subscribers that you are human and not afraid to admit to your mistakes. This can also reinforce to your readers that you handle problems rather than hiding from them, which could work in your favour as you are showcasing that if they ever have any issues with your products or services, you will act to correct them.
Well, that concludes our list of the top 10 do’s and don’ts of email marketing. To run a successful email marketing campaign, you have to do a lot more than simply type out an email and hope for the best. You have to make your campaigns exciting and engaging, especially nowadays when people have shorter attention spans and more hectic inboxes.
Remember to show that you see your readers and subscribers as more than potential pound signs, and you’ll start to reap the benefits. Emails are all about making your readers feel important, valued and special, and if you do that, you are set for success. Just remember -keep it simple, keep it interesting, and most importantly, keep them personal.
All sound a bit overwhelming? We get it. It’s not easy creating high-quality email content, especially when you are trying to handle all the other areas of your business. At Cheshire Cat Marketing, we specialise in helping SMEs to grow, develop and reach new heights with their on and offline marketing. We understand that so many businesses are trapped in a nasty catch-22 situation where they need marketing support to grow, but don’t have the huge budget for a traditional marketing agency or part-time employee.
We pride ourselves on creating bespoke packages so we can help businesses of any size with any budget. If you would like a free marketing consultation, please get in touch with us, and one of our experienced team will be able to give you some advice.
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