If statistics are to be believed, there are currently 3.6 billion email accounts open throughout the world. By 2016, experts are suggesting that number will rise to 4.3 billion. That relates closely to another big number: ninety-five percent of online consumers use email (the 5% who don’t are perhaps more of a surprise, admittedly), and most of them check their email every day.
Email is a kingdom, no doubt about it, and it is one that can be highly profitable, such is the low investment required for email marketing. With 82% of consumers happy to open and read emails from businesses they trust, it is a marketing platform which can, literally, strike gold.
A recent study discovered that, of all the adults online, eighty-eight percent use email. But what about its younger cousin, social media? Well, just 67% of adults use the likes of Facebook and Twitter. It is clear, therefore, that email is still the best way to connect with your consumers.
A question we must all ask ourselves, however, is whether or not we are using this channel of communication effectively. Yes, it’s time for another ‘common mistakes’ blog, but these are certainly among the most important I write. I’ve got five more ‘don’t try this at home’ tips for you today.
1) Forgetting the ‘T’ word
This is so important. Testing. You’re unlikely to send an advert to print without ensuring it is 100% correct and it is crucial you treat your emails the same. Because software such as mailingmanager is so easy to use, it is easy to fall into the trap of producing email campaigns quickly and in a very mechanical fashion. Doing so will likely result in errors, and there are so many things you can get wrong with emails. Poor formatting, spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, incorrect images, dead links. The list is endless.
Aside from ensuring such problems are eradicated, testing the campaigns themselves should certainly be part of your plan. A/B testing (for example, trying out two different subject lines, or two different times to send) will enable you to review the results from each – for example, which one produced the most click-throughs – and tailor your future campaigns based on whichever was the most successful.
2) Avoid the ‘quick sale’ tactic
You have something to sell – all businesses d0 – but in order to be successful at doing so, you need to build relationships with your customers. Including promotions in your emails is always a good idea, but try to ensure they provide real value and answer the questions your customers want answering. Remember that stat – 82% of consumers will happily open emails from businesses they trust, not from the ones who simple want to make a quick sale.
3) How long have you been using your template?
You had it custom designed two years ago. Perhaps it was a stock template which you amended yourself. Whichever way you look at it, your template could possibly do with a refresh. Staying true to your branding is of course very important, don’t be afraid to use different email templates for different campaigns. A good example is a quick announcement you want to make about a product update. You won’t need to use your newsletter template for this – doing so might result in wasted space and something which is entirely un-engaging. Make sure your templates benefit each email, not hamper them.
You’ll have been in this situation yourself: an email drops into your inbox, you take one look at it and decide it’ll be best to read it later. Inevitably, that won’t happen. It was too long to even contemplate reading initially and with such busy inboxes these days, the thought of coming back to emails (even if you flag them) is a fairly futile one. Concentrate on sending bite-sized chunks of information. Start the story on your email, and continue it on your website. Those receiving your mailings on mobile devices will be especially grateful.
5) Oops, where’s the call-to-action?
The purpose of your email campaigns is to illicit a response from your subscribers. You want them to do something. Typically, we refer to this as the ‘call-to-action’, or CTA. It might be a link to a page further detailing the product or service you are advertising, or it might enable them to download the white paper you’ve provided an introduction to. Whatever it is, it needs to be present if your email is to be worth sending. It’s surprising just how many marketing emails land in my inbox without any obvious call-to-action. Don’t let yours be among them.
Image courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul / freedigitalphotos.net