4 Email Marketing Mistakes You Might Be Making, and How to Avoid Them

businessman in shirt and tie behind glass wall draws email symbol envelopes with a dry erase pen.

Although modern marketing tactics like social media excel in terms of reach and influence, good old fashioned email marketing is still king.

Studies show that email is a top distribution channel for both B2B and B2C marketers. In the last 12 months, 87% of B2B and 79% of B2C marketers have turned to email to share content, nurture leads, and convert leads to sales. Email has also evolved into an important multi-generational channel. Perhaps surprisingly, millennials spend 6.4 hours a day checking email, and are 63% more likely to be swayed by promotional email.

What are the benefits of email marketing? Here are a few reasons to maintain an active email marketing strategy:

  1. Your audience has opted in. They want to see you in their inbox (rather than take the chance of catching you on social media’s busy newsfeeds).
  2. You can personalize your message with a high degree of specificity based on demographics, purchase history, interests, and more.
  3. Unlike social media, email is easily measurable. Open rates, click through rates, unsubscribes, etc. are all a great way to gauge whether your email marketing is a success
  4. It’s cost-effective. The ROI for email is as high as 4400%, or $44 for every dollar spent on an email campaign.

However, as email volumes grow open rates are on the decline.). In 2020, the average open rate dropped to 21% compared to a steady 24% between 2015 and 2018. This means that standing out from the crowd is getting harder than ever.

If you’re struggling to turn your prospects into email subscribers or your email just isn’t performing as you’d like, read on to discover four common email mistakes you might be making and how they can be avoided.

1. You don’t have a welcome email

How many times have you signed up to receive email updates or a newsletter from a company and felt like your subscription doesn’t matter to them? According to Campaign Monitor, a staggering 50% of brands don’t automatically send a welcome email to new customers or prospects. This is a huge email marketing mistake because subscribers are the most engaged brands within the first 48 hours of signing-up.

A welcome email is your first opportunity to form a relationship with your subscriber. It also sets the tone for what they can expect from future communications from your company. And, it’s a great opportunity to make a sale.

As you craft your welcome email, keep your messaging simple and conversational. Thank the subscriber for making you a part of their lives and welcome them to your community. Communicate what they can expect for being a subscriber such as access to the latest news, product releases, special offers, ways to get involved, etc. Offer them a discount in exchange for more information, such as registering with your company or completing a profile (you’ll need this so that you can get to know them better and tailor future emails). Finally, make that call to action clear. Don’t bury it in a ton of copy and use graphics to guide the eye towards it.

Most email platforms like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Emma include ready-to-use email campaign templates to simplify the process.

2. You’re not personalizing your emails

As humans we crave personalized experiences. It helps us separate one brand experience from another and drives a deeper connection. According to HubSpot, personalized emails have a 26% higher open rate and an improved click-through rate compared to others. But if your email marketing personalization only extends to including your customer’s first name in the communications you send them, you’re missing out.

True personalization is about getting to know your customers likes, needs, and wants and adding that personal touch to each email. There are many ways to personalize your emails. You can use demographic data such as birth dates, location, interests, and gender to tailor your subject lines, body copy, and offers. As you build a relationship with the customer, you can further personalize content based on browsing and purchase history. For instance, you might recommend products or services that are complimentary to an item they’ve purchased in the past. You can also use personalization to send content that is relevant to where your leads are in the sales funnel.

Whatever your approach, find ways to drive consistent personalization across the customer journey. The more data you accumulate about each customer, the more opportunities you’ll find to engage with them in a thoughtful way–while driving greater conversions.

3. You’re not testing which content work best

If you’re not testing which emails perform the best, it’s hard to know which of your email campaigns is the most successful and why. Tracking clicks, open rates, and conversions is important, but you also need to figure out what your audience likes and responds to–before you launch a full-blown campaign.

This is where A/B testing comes into play. A/B testing compares the performance of two or more unique versions of the same email among a sample audience. With A/B testing you can test any number of variables. For instance, which subject line performs better? Does an offer or call to action receive more clicks if it’s positioned at the top of the email versus at the bottom? Is one time of the day better for delivery?

Most email providers have platforms that offer some form of testing built in. During a test you’ll set up several versions of the same email–A, B and even C–and send then the system will send them to random, small subsets of your email list. All this happens well before you send out your main blast. Once the results are in, review the metrics for your test.

When you’ve determined the best performing content/format/timing, or whatever, you can run with that version of your email.

4. You’re not automating your email campaigns

Email automation has come a long way since its early days when we used it to personalize emails and plan drip email campaigns. Today’s email marketing platforms make it easy to create an email sequence that is highly automated, triggering a series of emails based on the customer’s actions. This automation can be used to start a conversation, nurture customers, and even win customers back.

For example, Fundbox customer, digital marketing consultant, and founder of Geek Powered Studios, Guillermo Ortiz, uses email automation to get customer feedback.

The company uses a review tool that automatically sends a customer an email when they are added to the business’ email list. The email asks them to rate their experience. Anything rated seven or above triggers an email to the client asking them to leave a review online. Any poor ratings go straight to the business owner, so that they can address the issue right away, before an upset customer leaves a negative review online.

The email had a significant impact. Now approximately 10% of customers leave a review. Considering that Google ranks businesses based on the number of reviews they have it can have a big effect. Positive reviews also make a good impression on prospective customers.

Ortiz’s blog post–Earn More Sales with Email Marketing Automation–explains how to build a simple email automation sequence.

For more small business marketing and sales tips, strategies, tactics, and best practices check out these Fundbox blogs.

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