My email was taking forever to download the other day, and then a newbie business owner’s 9MB email marketing newsletter – the equivalent of 215 typical email messages – slogged its way into my Inbox.
I hit the “delete” key on that email faster than you could say “SPAM.”
If you own a small business or run a professional service firm, and you’re using email as part of your marketing strategy – get it right. Or else you risk annoying prospective customers and having your email blacklisted – which means Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will block every email you send.
Here are the 5 major traps you must avoid in email marketing:
1. Sending without permission. Just because I met you at a networking event or we connect on LinkedIn, doesn’t mean I want your email newsletter showing up in my Inbox. You must ask permission to send it. And this isn’t just me being picky. Legitimate email service providers such as AWeber require that you ask specific permission to send, or that individuals sign up for your newsletter – on your website, for example. This is so that they – and you – stay on the right side of Anti-SPAM laws and in the ISPs’ good graces.
2. Using Outlook to send email newsletters. Anti-SPAM laws also say that your emails must allow people to opt out of receiving your marketing communications. Outlook does not provide this capability. Forcing the recipient to send you a separate email with “unsubscribe” in the subject line just annoys them – you’re creating extra work for them. Also, if your marketing communication contains photos and graphics, you’ll create a bloated monster, because Outlook is not designed for this purpose. This is the trap the newbie business owner fell into with her 9MB newsletter.
3. Boring your reader. I may be mildly interested in what you did on your summer vacation, but I don’t need 1,000 words about it. I’d much rather read how your company is going to help me solve a problem, or what your views are on the latest business or legal trend. Like most others, I skim content, so write simply and well. Use bullet points and some bolding, so I can process your message quickly. For more about writing well, read 15 Tips for Writing Engaging Content.
4. Bombarding your reader. Like most business owners, I already get too many emails. Unless you have some amazing news – a big sale or you’ve just won a major industry award – don’t send me your marketing communications more than once a month. Even if I like your product or service, I’ll unsubscribe from your emails, just to keep the time I spend weeding my Inbox to manageable levels.
5. Burying your interesting content. I recently received an email with the subject line, “Practical Tips on X,” which I eagerly opened, because I really did need help with “X.” I learned how hot the weather was; what the business owner’s son was doing; and what the owner and her husband were doing. I’m not quite sure where those tips were. Maybe they were buried way down on the right side panel? Or below the weather report? Impatient and frustrated, I deleted the email.
Email marketing can work, IF you know what your doing. For more help with your email marketing, register for a complementary marketing assessment by the experts at Advantage Marketing.
Tell us! What are the other traps business owners need to avoid in email marketing?