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Email marketing dos and don’ts

< Back to all posts Published August 24, 2015

If you are not email marketing yet, you need to be. Using email marketing as one of your many advertising and marketing tools will help draw more bidders and buyers on a consistent basis. Your dedicated attendees will appreciate the reminder and they will be interested in the items you place in your email.

Here are a few does and don’ts (in no particular order) as per: http://optinmonster.com/email-marketing-campaign/

DO Tailor Your Email To Different Segments

If you think one blanket email will do the trick, you are mistaken. Segment your data into targeted groups and you can create custom emails, making sure the content is relevant and appropriate for each target group. You’ll notice the difference almost immediately, with a higher conversion rate and a lower “unsubscribe” rate.

DO Personalize The Email For Better Open Rates

The “open rate” is the percentage of recipients who open your email and (hopefully) read it. In a perfect world, your open rate would be 100 percent, but you don’t live in a perfect world, you live in a virtual world, where including your reader’s first name in the subject line increases your open rate by an average of 23 percent. What’s in a name? Everything!

DO Include Multiple Avenues to Contact

This provides flexibility to the reader and encourages engagement from your customers. The standard email support contact is helpful, but you can also link to your Twitter or Facebook page. Also, if your business has a dedicated call center, providing a toll-free number is a great way to provide additional support and therefore gain trust from your subscribers.

DON’T Send Any Marketing Emails Without Testing Them

At the very least, you must first send out a test email to make sure it looks good across all platforms from desktops to smart phones. This can save you needless embarrassment after it’s sent to your whole database. Also advisable is a simple A/B test where you compare the results from two different layouts or subject lines, before launching your email marketing campaign.

DON’T Include Offensive Or Hateful Content

There are a lot of people on the World Wide Web, and not all of them share the same sense of humor or the same sensibilities as you, so watch out. A little humor is fine in its place, but remember you are running a business, and a business must always be professional.

DON’T Use All Caps In Your Emails

Using all caps in your emails is so 1990s, and it’s considered shouting. Do you really want someone shouting in your face as soon as you open an email? Do your subscribers? The same is true of exclamation points – one at a time, please!

DON’T Send Emails Too Frequently

You want your subscribers to look forward to opening your informative and entertaining emails, not roll their eyes. People will get tired of your emails if they pop up everywhere and have no apparent purpose. We love to watch America’s Got Talent on TV, but not every day.

Here are a few common rookie mistakes when sending out emails as per our friends at Mailchimp.com:

Mistake: Not having permission

When you create a MailChimp account, you agree to comply with all anti-spam regulations and MailChimp’s Terms Of Use. These terms require that all lists be permission-based, consisting of subscribers who have signed up through a mailing list signup form or have given their explicit permission to be added to the list. You must have tangible, confirmable proof that the subscriber wants you to communicate with them, and your intent must be clearly identified.

There are two very important things to keep in mind:

Make sure you have received permission from all of your recipients before you send your first email. Permission ensures that your recipients want to receive email marketing content from you. Before investing your time and money in an email marketing program, start getting permission from your customers. It’s easier than you may think, and some of the benefits might surprise you. Not only will it result in fewer spam complaints and decreased legal liability, but you’ll also experience improved deliverability and increased open and click rates.
All recipients should understand what they’re signing up for and why they’re receiving email from you. Your signup form should be very clear about your intent. It should also properly manage the expectations of your subscribers. Be sure to explain not only that your subscribers will be receiving email from you, but also what type of emails they will be receiving. Your permission reminder, which you’ll create as you set up a new list in MailChimp, should remind your subscribers where they originally opted-in and why they are receiving the email.

Mistake: Sending to a stale list

When someone opts in to your MailChimp list, they're giving permission to receive your email marketing campaigns. That permission can go stale pretty quickly though, so you only have a brief amount of time to reach out to your new subscribers before they forget having signed up for your list. Generally speaking, you've got about six months from the initial point of subscription before a subscriber's permission goes stale. If your subscribers haven't heard from you within that timeframe, you'll need to reconfirm your list.

Mistake: Being in a rush

One of the most common mistakes that people make with email marketing is hasty sending. Take the time to make sure your list is clean and all subscribers have properly opted-in. Asking the sales team for their contact lists and "blasting" out an email may seem like the best solution if you’re on a strict deadline, but it can result in unanticipated headaches. Those contacts could have gone stale. Worse, they may have never given permission at all.

Let’s say that you do send an email to a purchased or stale list. If those people don’t know why they’re receiving the email or never signed up in the first place, they might click the “Mark as spam” or “This is junk” button in their email program. Studies have shown that 10-30% of recipients have done this—even to emails they requested—thinking it was the only effective way to unsubscribe from a list. When that happens, alerts get sent to their ISPs, which may blacklist the sender for spamming. So slow down, take a breath, and make sure your list is in pristine condition before you push it out the door.

Rushing through the campaign creation process and not taking the time to consider the design, content, and subject lines of your email can prove problematic, too. You could find yourself faced with a decrease in your open and click rates and increase in your spam and unsubscribe rates. In the next few sections, we’ll cover some of the most common content-related mistakes made by email marketing rookies.

Mistake: Not understanding how spam filters think

Spam filters look at a long list of criteria to decide whether or not an email is junk. In fact, the list of spammy criteria is constantly growing and adapting, because spam filters learn more about what junk looks like every time someone clicks the "This is junk" or "Mark as spam" buttons in their email client. Spam filters even sync up with each other to share what they’ve learned. There’s no magic formula, but these tips will help you avoid common mistakes that often send email marketing to junk folders.

Subject line: Avoid the overuse of punctuation, special characters, and phrases like “free,” “act now,” or “open immediately”
Formatting: ALL CAPS, crazy colors, and extra exclamation points!!!!
Content: Anything about getting money, paying less money, or money-back guarantees
Code: Sloppy code, extra tags, code pulled in from Microsoft Word
Images: Too many images, or one single image and no text to balance it out

Looking for more information on this topic? Check out our How to Avoid Spam Filtersguide and the About Spam Filters article in our Knowledge Base.

Mistake: Not testing a campaign before sending

Before you send a campaign to your entire list, make sure that you look at it in MailChimp’s Preview Mode and send yourself several test copies of the email, utilizing as many email clients (Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, etc) as you can. Check to make sure your images and links are behaving correctly and that everything looks just right. Once you hit send, there’s no “undo” button, so it’s very important to test as thoroughly as possible before sending to your entire list.

MailChimp's Inbox Inspector can be a valuable resource as well. It will help automate the testing process so you can quickly and easily see how your email will appear across various email clients. It can even run your campaign through several spam filters to help you identify any content that might get the email flagged as spam upon sending.

All monthly paid accounts include 25 inspections per week. Pay as you go and free plans can purchase single Inbox Inspections for $3.

Mistake: Ignoring your campaign reports

Using a stable email platform has its benefits. You or your marketing person should pay attention to the email results and track them. A/B testing is also a good practice to take advantage of the best creative.

If a marketer isn’t checking their reports regularly, they might not notice when their open rates drop significantly or that their list size is steadily shrinking after every campaign. They may not realize that emails they send on Thursday have the highest open rate, while emails sent on Monday tend to have much lower engagement.

A big thank you to netatlantic, marketingland, custora, enterprisemonkey, mailchimp, and optinmonster for details. Hopefully, these tips will help you with your next and future email campaigns.  Here are a few links to more dos and don’ts for email marketing:





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