Email is one of the most effective, affordable marketing tools.
If you use it wisely, you can gain more customers and boost your open, click and conversion rates. There are plenty of obstacles to avoid, however.
Here are seven common challenges, as well as tips to rise above them:
Sin 1: Blindly engaging in email marketing without developing an email marketing strategy.
Blind email campaigns are doomed to fail. You must have a clear strategy, defined goals and predetermined KPIs.
- Setting goals. First, determine what you hope to achieve through email marketing. Do you want to increase your social media subscribers? Do you want to boost your sales figures? Tell your customers about a new product, or maybe strengthen relationships with your customers? The clearer your goals, the more likely it is you’ll be successful.
- Developing a strategy. Once your aims are clearly defined, develop an email marketing strategy to help you achieve your goals. For instance, to cultivate relationships with your customers, send a batch of emails asking for their opinions or rewarding them for their loyalty, or send them a personalized thank-you email.
- Defining key performance indicators. To analyze and assess your goals and achievements, this is essential. They reflect the effectiveness of your email marketing. KPIs provide an overview of your strengths and weaknesses and indicate whether your goals have been achieved so that you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
Sin 2: Promoting too much or too little.
If you send too few newsletters, your subscribers might forget you and you’ll struggle to gain traction in sales or relationships. Send too many, however, and your customers will quickly get irritated. This leads to newsletter de-registrations, getting blocked or—worst of all—getting marked as spam. Your sender reputation will be damaged, and your sales figures may take a hit.
Consider carrying out A/B tests to determine the ideal day, time and frequency for sending out your marketing materials. Send your campaigns at different times and on different days, and increase and decrease your sending frequency. Compare the various results of all campaigns, and analyze the time and frequency that’s best for your customers and newsletter subscribers. Apply these results to the sending schedule, and you’ll find the right amount of promotion.
Sin 3: Ending email communication abruptly.
Welcome emails can create customer loyalty, but many companies often follow up with a cold shoulder. You must strike while the iron’s hot. Keep your momentum going by sending new prospects personalized, high-quality emails after your welcome email.
For starters, it’s important to leave a positive first impression with the welcome email. Avoid robotic phrases such as, “You have registered successfully,” and, “Welcome, you have registered to our newsletter.” Give your customers a chance to try your products and services, and pique their interest with a new-customer discount code. Offer genuine value.
Be sure to customize the email at the time of registration. This creates the impression that you put the email together just for them, which can foster instant loyalty.
After an initial purchase, it’s worth sending a feedback questionnaire so that your customer can rate your products and services. It shows that you’re interested in your customers’ opinions; it’s also a smart way to receive constructive feedback. Emails that can follow a welcome email are:
- Emails where you offer your assistance if the customer has not reached out for a while
- Reminder emails that refer to products in their basket or to the new customer discount that has not yet been redeemed
- Emails with product recommendations, based on the customer’s buying behavior
Below is an example of a reminder email. It nudges the customer about the products waiting in their shopping basket. By adding a promo code or special offers, you motivate your customers to complete the order.
Sin 4: Sending emails with too many images and too much information.
Bombarding your recipients with information can put them off. Emails should have a balanced proportion of text and images. Structure your emails, dividing them into header, footer and main body. Use related links, and work with short texts that provide an incentive to read on.
The following example shows you what constitutes a great email layout. The header, main body and footer are bordered with different colors for more clarity.
Sin 5: Putting off your subscribers with boring content and designs.
Even clearly structured emails can bore customers. Don’t be afraid to spice up your design. Use eye-catching icons, fonts and images, and be judicious about text.
Also, make use of segmentation and personalization to breathe new life into your campaigns. Analyze your customer’s buying behavior, use their demographic and geographic data and create personalized emails that you only send to specific segments. Design your emails with specific people in mind.
Use data to time emails. Try sending special-offer emails that coincide with birthdays, anniversaries or holidays.
Sin 6: Not having responsive design.
Emails are increasingly being read (or at least opened) on mobile devices. Not using a responsive design is a fatal email marketing mistake; delayed texts, broken images and tiny calls to action are extremely annoying for smartphone users.
Make sure your emails—and all your website content—are optimized for mobile.
Sin 7: Panicking when subscribers unsubscribe.
No one likes rejection, but email marketers must grow thick skin. Don’t give up—even when people unsubscribe. There will always be people who unsubscribe.
Make the unsubscribing process seamless, and always ask for the reason. Use the responses to optimize your email marketing and uncover potential weaknesses.
It’s all part of shaping, developing and fine-tuning your strategy.
A version of this post first appeared on the Mailjet blog.