Email marketing isn’t dying. In fact, the number of email users surpassed 4 billion globally in 2020 and this number is expected to grow to 4.48 billion by 2024, according to data compiled by FinancesOnline.
Beyond the sheer magnitude of users, Josh Turner, a Wall Street Journal best-selling author and founder of LinkedSelling, a lead generation and sales development agency, says emails are particularly useful in a business-to-business (B2B) context. He points out:
- Emails are 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter as a marketing and sales tool
- Companies see revenues jump 760 percent after implementing successful B2B email campaigns
- Nearly 60 percent of B2B buyers say email influences their purchase decisions
- Eight out of 10 decision-makers are willing to meet or interact even after receiving an unsolicited email
When it comes to tools small and medium businesses (SMB) need from marketing agencies for growth, 91 percent of consumers open their email each day. It’s no wonder then that the majority of small businesses believe that an email marketing plan is critical for growth.
“This is proof that email marketing outreach is not going anywhere, anytime soon, and can be used in tandem with both traditional and emerging methods. Email marketing is tried and true and it works and will continue to do so for years to come,” Turner says.
In the first of our three-part The Building Blocks of Email Campaign Marketing series, we help agencies understand how to launch a best practice email marketing campaign to generate leads and win over prospective clients. This blog focuses on the common mistakes to avoid when planning your email strategy.
The four common mistakes
Email marketing undoubtedly gets a bad rap sometimes. “I get too much spam” is a common complaint from professionals and business leaders. But there is a nuance to this grievance – what actually frustrates recipients is that messages are too generic in nature and often fail to cut through the noise.
For agencies to become successful at email campaigns, it’s useful for them to first understand the common mistakes marketers make in their email campaigns, says Vendasta’s Director of Content Marketing Dan McLean.
Common Mistake #1 - Failing to understand your audience
Not taking the time to thoroughly understand your underlying prospects and clients is a trap that marketers universally fall into when designing their email campaigns.
“Know your audience, be clear on your offer, be relevant, and be customer-first,” McLean says. For example, there’s no point emailing your subscribers about website building services if your research indicates that clients and prospects on your mailing list already have an excellent webpage.
Importantly, if your emails aren’t relevant not only will they go unread but your unsubscribe rates will soar and your messages may be marked as spam, a double-whammy that could see your campaigns end up in the ‘promotional’ or ‘junk’ mail folders.
“Remember that unsubscribes are like death in a marketing context. There is a huge cost – upwards of $100 to $200 – when it comes to generating leads, and if one email isn’t relevant to your audience, then you have thrown money down the drain,” he says.
Common Mistake #2 - Don’t ‘carpet bomb’ your subscribers
Another blunder that marketers make is becoming a victim of their own success by succumbing to the temptation of sending more emails once their initial campaigns generate solid results.
Often, agencies turn what were once well-targeted and insightful monthly emails into bi-weekly and then weekly spam, leading to unsubscribes.
It’s important to respect your email recipients by not overcrowding their inboxes. “Don’t carpet-bomb your customers – emails are not a volume game,” McLean says.
Statistics from Campaign Monitor show that being emailed too often is the most cited reason for nearly half of all recipients flagging messages as spam, followed by not purposefully subscribing (36 percent) and receiving irrelevant content (31 percent).
Common Mistake #3 - Poorly constructed emails
Poorly constructed emails are a nuisance that many of us come across all too often. McLean says bad emails are defined by factors such as:
- Lacking a conversational tone
- Unclear subject lines
- Having far too much copy
- Too many images or pictures that are poorly laid out
Too many agencies frame their messages as sales pitches by “telling” rather than “showing”. Marketers should instead contextualize their emails around the issues they are trying to solve for SMBs.
“Don't ‘tell’ your clients how great your product is with marketing buzzwords and empty claims. Show them your value by highlighting business outcomes achieved by others who you have helped.
“The worst thing you can do with an email marketing program is to not be purposeful. You’ll do yourself more damage than good if you don’t send content which is customer-first,” he says
Take for example the following case study identified by Hubspot in their 7 Worst Marketing Emails You’ve Ever Seen blog. It’s long, text-heavy, braggish, and contains a significant amount of grammatical errors.
Common Mistake #4 - Not testing emails before sending
The most common mistake among smaller agencies – and also at larger companies where deficiencies in process and teamwork exist – is failing to test and review emails thoroughly before sending. This leads to:
- Embarrassing grammatical errors
- Missing or incorrect links within the copy and images. As such, hard work and time is potentially wasted if a subscriber is not able to access the call-to-action provided in the message
- Potential non-compliance with email marketing laws and regulations (for example, if the unsubscribe link is broken or wasn’t included)
Where possible, emails should be reviewed by several people before the campaign is executed; but if this is not possible, individual operators should send it themselves to check for errors and correctness, McLean says.
Further, it’s important to understand that more than half of all emails today are read on mobile devices. So when you test it, make sure it’s optimized for mobile.
Email campaign marketing is here to stay and data suggests that there will only be millions more users and accounts created in coming years. While it’s true that emails are sometimes perceived as “spammy”, the reality is that too many agencies don’t put enough effort into their email strategy.
- Take the time to understand to your audience
- Don’t send too many emails
- Build your messaging around how you can help your subscribers
- Make sure you test emails on desktop and mobile before sending them
By understanding and avoiding the common mistakes marketers make in their email strategy, you will have a solid basis for creating an email strategy that achieves cut-through.
Stay tuned for more
This article was the first in our three-part The Building Blocks of Email Campaign Marketing series. Click on the image below so that you don't miss out on part two, where we will explore the key steps in planning your email marketing strategy and the different types of emails to consider. You can also check out Vendasta’s email marketing solutions here.