Regardless of the type of business you have or what industry you’re in; your businesses would be better off incorporating email campaigns into their marketing strategy. After all, just think of the sky-high ROI; for every $1 you spend on email campaigns, you can expect an average return of $32.

If you tell me that email marketing is dead, well I would just shake my head, silently scream in my head, take a deep breath and proceed to gently explain how you have been living under a rock all this time.

As for those of you who are still getting their feet wet with email marketing but struggling with their email strategy, there’s a good chance that you’re making some mistakes, which could be flushing all your efforts down the drain. If you are looking to take your email campaigns to the next level, here are a few mistakes to steer far clear of, or fix, if you have done so already. 

1. No Or Hard-To-Find Subscription Form

Your users won’t be able to sign up on your blog or website if you don’t have a subscription form on your blog or website. You can choose from floating, fixed, pop-up, and embedded forms. Look at the pop-up form that appears on the Expo Yoga page after you have spent a few seconds on their page.  The form features a captivating image to catch the eye, and once it has done so, all it takes are three fields to sign up. Nothing too complicated.

Similarly, make sure that sign-up forms are at a conspicuous location so that both mobile and desktop users can find them easily. You could potentially lose people who couldn’t subscribe just because they lost the subscription form. The design of the form also comes in to play, just as the need to make the form fit the width. Test your website on different devices and across multiple browsers to make sure your subscription form fits the width.

2. Buying Email Lists

It beats me why someone would even think about purchasing an email list, unless they are some low-life spammer or a Nigerian Yahoo boy. That’s just way too below the belt. Think ‘consent here’. Which is why you should build your email list from scratch. It never helps to buy an email list, even though it is effortless and timesaving. Buying it will only blow up in your face; ask anyone with a Ph.D. in explosives.

For starters, how prone do you think a recipient is to open your email when they didn’t sign up for it in the first place? They get the same vibes from it as an “this video reveals how you can lose 30 pounds in a month” email. Even my grandmother knows not to open these kinds of spammy emails, and they almost always end up in the junk folder.

Second, consider email buying the death of your brand. If you are running your own business and looking to establish a strong brand presence, steer clear of buying email lists. That, plus if you are discovered, your email marketing provider can ban you from sending emails to people within your list.

Thirdly, somebody could rip you off by giving you a list of fake email addresses. Your flush your money down the drain just in hopes of a few real contacts, who in turn might not even give a hoot about you. So much time and money wasted.

Fourth (and most importantly), email buying and selling is illegal. The CAN-SPAM act strictly prohibits the transfer or sale of email addresses, in addition to a number of email compliance rules, such as hassle-free opt out options and the use of clear and unambiguous titles.

3. Ignoring Lead Generation

You get an email list when people sign up. One of the things that can compel them to sign up is stellar content. UX stands stand, followed by a clap-worthy lead generation strategy. When combined, you can grow your email list exponentially. Let’s say you have aced the user experience and published the most riveting content, but your sign-up form is not noticeable, all your email marketing efforts will down the drain. People need to see your sign-up form for them to believe in them. This is one of the worst email marketing mistakes that still leaves me baffled.

4. Sending from a no reply email

While most subscribers are aware of the fact that the seemingly ‘personalized’ email that they are receiving is actually automized, they don’t want to be reminded of it again and again. Emails sent from ‘no reply addresses’ and ‘admins’ taint your brand with images of impersonality, and only dissuade people from believing your message. You can’t really expect engagement from your subscribers if they feel like you don’t want to talk to them. You have to sound warm and inviting, perhaps start off your email with something along the lines of “hello (name), I am…” and reel clients in with party favors and punches.

Anonymity never helps anyone. If you truly want to show your human side, why not provide a contact number, an email address, a twitter handle, or the picture of your director of marketing per say, Not to mention, you have to encourage your subscribers not to hesitate reaching out to you. Ensuring a transparent flow of communication would help you land more loyal customers.

5. Getting Off on the Wrong Foot

Let’s say, someone signed up for your email list. What’s your next step? Unless you send them a welcome email within the next few minutes, you are missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime to turn them to your side. The first email you send to your subscribers will have the highest chance of being seen, since it sent at a time when your subscriber is most engaged with you. Strike when the iron is hot. They have just subscribed, and willingly, and you are fresh in their minds. Now is the time to make it permanent.

As soon as a person signs up for your email campaign, they expect to receive an email, briefing what they can expect from you or who you are. Introduce yourself. Welcome them to your email list. Give them a path to follow. Tell them what’s next.

Your welcome email sets the tone for any subsequent communication; as such, it has a key role to play in future conversions. As for the right way to send a welcome message, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Some are professional and straight-forward, others are humorous and light-hearted. But regardless of how you compose yours, make sure to include these 3 elements:

·         Set the stage for what comes next

·         Should introduce the viewer to the business or product

·         Welcome the reader personally

6. Not Optimizing For Your Mobile Users

Want to flush your email conversion rate down the drain? Don’t optimize for your mobile users. Just kidding. Why would you want that? Afterall, since over 70% of your subscribers will be checking your email on their mobile devices, it only makes sense to ensure a seamless user experiencer across multiple devices. If your audience cannot read your emails on their mobile devices without being annoyed, you’re making a very expensive mistake that could cost you a fortune down the road.

Formatting for mobile devices needs to be clean and simple, with text and images that are easily readable across even the smallest of screens. With such a limited real estate, you don’t want images blurring up, or users having to squint or scroll endlessly from side to side to be able to read. Single columns are nice, as are images that are not wider than 600 px.

Instead of taking blind shots, Test your emails across mobile devices to see if their aesthetics and functionality are preserved and coming across the way they should. If you are pressed for resources or don’t have the time to create mobile-optimized emails, hire a company to do it for you. Make sure you don’t skip it, because it could make or break your email campaign.

Here’s a look at how the welcome email from The Krazy Coupon Lady looks on mobile devices. See how the text is a nice, readable size, and the page is interspersed with plenty of white spaces and clear images. This is what we call a mobile-friendly email, ripe for conversions.

7. Segmenting, Or Lack Thereof

Nope, run away, say no to it. The worst email marketing mistake you can make is to send mass emails, unless it is some important update that all users can benefit from. Your work doesn’t just end when you compile a huge list, you also have to segment your list based on parameters such as past purchases, gender, income, and location.

One way to collect this data is to give your users a not-so-short form and try to squeeze as much information from them as possible but do this and you will surely scare them off. Afterall, your goal at the beginning is to get their email address to sign them up on your list. You will have plenty of time later to collect data via on-site forms and surveys.

When it comes to segmenting, it helps to get as much data about your end users as possible to better send them customized content. Once you have separated your list by different demographic and interests, you can send them laser targeted messages. I mean, why would you send the same email to both your customer and non-customer.

8. Relying Too Heavily on Images

It’s natural to want to load your emails with professional, eye-grabbing and relevant images to excite your readers and keep them riveted. Afterall, we are told time and time how our readers don’t bother perusing through long blocks of text. While the tactic ca work to an extent, remember that some of your readers may read your emails with the image downloading turned off. In this case, if your email is just image based, they will have nothing to see.

This doesn’t mean that your email should be devoid of images. It just translates into the fact that you should be tactful about how you use them. What you can is to work on how you write the alt text for those images. They should be pretty explanatory of what the email is all about even if the images don’t load.

In case you are unaware of what an alt text is, it is text that replaces an image if the image is blocked or fails to load. To include alt text for an image, place it inside the “alt=” tag inside HTML code for the image. However, some email marketing services allow you to add the alt text without diving into the HTML code.

However, even with the alt text complementing the images, we advise you to go easy on the images, since imagine a reader opening an email only to see big square blanks with a few lines of text. You are not going to leave a very nice impression.  Make sure to put all the important information in text, and only supplement it with relevant images.

9. Sending emails at the wrong time

Data from HubSpot reveals that emails that have the highest open rates are those that are sent at 11 in the morning. While all businesses are different, and this may not be the best time for your business, it sure helps to experiment and play around with different send times to see which time suits your brand the best for engagement.

You would do best to schedule all your emails for a time slot that makes sense for your business and target audience. For instance, if you look at the email pattern of ‘Morning Brew’, all their emails overviewing the latest happenings in the world of business, go out at around 6 a.m. The reason for such early posting is that their audience are more likely to read their newsletter upon arrival at work or even during the commute. Not to mention, such early publication ensures that they are the first to dish out the latest news.

Even if your business isn’t about sending time-sensitive information via email, it would still do your business good to find a time that works best with your audience and stick to it. Gather enough data to decipher at what time your audience is likely to read your email.  Sending emails at odds hours of the day could bury your email under piles for when your audience does open their email inbox. With all email campaigns, time is of the essence.

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