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5 Email marketing mistakes… and how to fix them!

Email marketing has the highest ROI of any digital marketing channel. If you are a small business owner, it is a cheap or free way to connect with your existing customers, nurture prospects and provide genuine value to your fans.

Email marketing is effective when done well, but it can be a headache if you can’t figure out what you’re doing wrong. If your list has stagnated or decreased or no one is buying, you might be making one of these email marketing mistakes.

1. You don’t email often enough

If you are prone to quiet spells, you need to switch to writing your content in advance. Try to build up a buffer of 1-3 months of content. Every audience is different, so play with your email frequency to find the sweet spot for your business. As a rule, anything from once a week to once a month works well. Any less than this can lead your audience to disengage, forget who you are, or forget why they subscribed in the first place. Then your emails become reminders, not nurturers.

2. You email too often

The other side of the frequency problem is emailing too often. Again, this will depend on your business and your audience, but if you cross that threshold, people will quickly become irritated and unsubscribe. Even if you offer genuine value, people tire of seeing you in their inbox again, and you will outstay your welcome. Some businesses swear their audience loves a daily email, but unless you are running a specific challenge or lead magnet series (i.e., 10-days to Sort your Finances), we don’t recommend this approach. Once a week is a safe and inoffensive strategy to start with if you have a tendency to over-email.

3. You don’t include a clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

There are two common mistakes with clear CTAs. You could be forgetting to add one in – a common issue for small businesses who don’t want to seem pushy or too salesy – or you could be adding in too many. Either way, you are dramatically decreasing your chance of a conversion. People who have read your content want a clear indication of what they should do next, or it can feel anticlimactic. Including too many CTAs can make people feel overwhelmed or lost, leading to analysis paralysis. Find the one action that fits your email content best and nudge people to do it at the end of the email. This could be a purchase nudge, but it could also be to follow on social media, download a resource, attend a webinar etc.

4. You send overcrowded or noisy emails

Your audience preferences and your brand guidelines will dictate how your email could look, but again, it is up to you to find your sweet spot. A plain email works well in some sectors, but most email marketers will include some branded graphics, buttons, or other eye-catching content. If you go overboard on the colours or use more than one animated gif, you will make the content less easy to absorb. Here are two examples of emails we have sent. You will see the branding is clear, there is plenty of space for the content to breathe, and in the left image, we have used a button to make the CTA unmissable.

4. You don’t tailor your messages

Depending on your skill level, you may have heard of segmentation. Segmenting your audience means you group people by an attribute or group of attributes and send them content tailored to their needs. The most common mistake in this field is sending people emails asking them to buy products they have already purchased – a sure-fire way to show that you don’t know them as well as they would like. You can tailor your content by sending different versions of the same email to various segments, but most email marketing systems now let you use dynamic content. Dynamic content can show or hide specific sections depending on how people have been tagged. For example, you could show those who haven’t purchased your latest course reasons they should buy, but those who have already purchased see a plug for related content.

Once you’ve got the hang of segmentation you can send emails at different frequencies based on engagement, target parents and non-parents differently, send out tailored offers.

Need a hand?

Email marketing can feel like an uphill struggle without a roadmap. If you would like to know what you’re doing right (and what you’re doing wrong!), check out our email marketing audit. We will review your latest email marketing campaigns and give you a comprehensive yet easy-to-understand report with insights and recommended actions. Click here to find out more.

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