Avoid 8 of The Worst Small Business Email Marketing Mistakes

Posted by Monica Romeri

Jun 28, 2012 10:40:00 AM

Email is one of the most useful though most often misused channels for inbound marketing. Effective email marketing can help your small business make great strides in client loyalty and satisfaction and business lead generation.  Through email, you can unlock the potential of targeted online marketing.  This sounds great, right?  However, there are numerous pitfalls you need to avoid in email marketing communication with clients and prospective leads.  Not committing these commonsmall business email marketing mistakes faux pas will help you present your company as engaging, informative and helpful.  Sidestep these eight mistakes to take your inbound marketing to a higher level and attain greater business lead generation. Check out our summary checklist below or download our authoritative ebook on best practices for email marketing that deliver!

Critical Email Marketing Mistakes

1. Don’t Email Without Permission.

Receiving an email newsletter that you did not sign up for feels like an invasion of privacy. Although it is ill-advised, many small businesses build their initial email marketing campaigns by buying a list and then blasting emails at everyone on the list.  Unsolicited email marketing is seen as spam.  If you start off on the wrong foot, recipients will expect to receive spam from you, which will result in your email content getting deleted or ending up in their spam folders.  Build your list organically by having an opt-in form on your website.

2. Don’t Create One-Size-Fits-All Emails.

Do not assume that everyone on your email list has similar interests.  This will make your content come across as less interesting and less relevant than it could, if you took the time to tailor your email content to the various interests of your subscribers.  Ask users what they like and who they are, when they sign up, then use this information to segment your email lists.  Using your segmentation target your message and send different emails based on gender, age, geographic region, interests and other relevant topics. 

3.  Don’t Send Emails with an Unclear “From:” Field.

A great email experience begins before your recipient even opens the message; it all starts with the “from:” field.  With prolific spamming, people nowadays are extremely protective of their email inboxes.  When violated, recipients are likely to unsubscribe.  Therefore, it is crucial that you establish some level of familiarity right away and make it easy for your recipient to recognize who you are and why you are in their inbox.

Some marketers have found they have better open and click-through rates when they use their company name as the sender.  Others, however, have found more success using the name of an employee, such as the recipient’s account manager or the business owner.  Finally, some companies actually see the best results combining the two: a personal name and a company name.  Experiment to find out which method works best for your business.  Also, include an actual email address, which the recipient can reply to reaffirm that you are, in fact, a real person.

4.  Don’t Send Emails With Partially Displayed Subject Lines.

The subject line can make or break a recipient’s email experience.  Your email subject line needs to be relevant, concise and engaging.  Considering how long your subject line looks in an inbox is vital; you do not want your recipient’s inbox to cut off even the last few words.  Without the full subject line, your intended meaning may be totally lost, which will certainly hamper the percentage of people who open your email.  Be straightforward and frontload any words that are critical to the meaning of your email.  Keep the subject line under 50 characters.  If you have a large mobile reader audience, aim for 20 characters or less.

5. Don’t Ask Too Much of Your Readers.

If your email has more than one simple call to action, it is one too many.   Although tempting, you absolutely should not pile multiple calls to action into one email.  Serving up too many options will make your recipient stop and think, instead of just taking immediate action.  Pick only one targeted action for each email.  You can vary your goals; just keep them simple. 

It is crucial not to be overwhelming; people are deluged daily with more information and images than they can process.  So, make sure images are few and properly optimized.  Richer text elements like images are not supported across all email services, and not all of your recipients allow images to display in their inboxes. 

6. Don’t Ignore Getting Dumped.

You may see unsubscriptions as business breakups, which are not uncommon.  If you are diligent and responsive, you learn a lot by inquiring why subscribers are leaving.  The insights you gain from this correspondence can lead to potential improvements in the way you do business.  Unsubscribers are often candid—letting you know what is not working for them. 

7. Don’t Become a Pest.

If your email marketing is successful, then with every additional email you send, you will see a net increase in sales and actions in the short run.  Use caution though; adding the occasional extra email is fine.  However, add new emails too frequently, and sales increases will stop, decrease or even become negative over the long run.  Recipients will fatigue quickly—putting less value on the emails you send or unsubscribe completely.

8. Don’t Overlook Mobile Capability.

Mobile capability is penetrating every walk of life.  Over 75% of smartphone users are reading emails on their phones regularly.  Use analytic tools to determine how many mobile subscribers you have, and always consider mobile devices when crafting your emails.  For example, keep in mind that people click with their fingers—not a mouse—on mobile devices, so make clickable calls to action big and accessible.  Also, do not crowd your email with lots of tiny links.  Frustrate your users with a poor mobile email experience, and they might not only ignore your email, they may start thinking poorly of your entire brand. 

Innovative Marketing Resources offers first-rate email marketing solutions with expert services to help you unlock the full potential of targeted online marketing.

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Topics: Email Marketing, Small Business Marketing, lead generation, Direct Marketing

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