Email marketing is still incredibly important for businesses. According to statistics, 95% of online consumers have an email address. This means that email marketing can be a cheap and effective effective method for reaching a large percentage of our consumers. It’s not just the wide reach of email marketing that makes it a worthwhile marketing method, but it’s also the potential return that it offers.
The conversion rates for email marketing are three times higher than they are for social media marketing. Statistics also show that for every $1 that a business spends on an email campaign, they get an average return of $44.25. In order to nurture leads, build your brand and increase your conversion rates, you need to be implementing an email marketing campaign. To make your email marketing campaign successful, avoid these ten email marketing fails.
Avoiding Responsiveness Optimisation
With emails being viewed from multiple devices, responsiveness optimisation is essential. Statistics show that 48% of emails are opened on a mobile device. If your consumers view an email from your company on their smartphone, and they have to scroll across the page, or scale the page to be able to read it, they are likely to just skip over it. The example below shows a lack of responsiveness optimisation by the sender.
The Email Address makes your Emails Look Like Spam
If your email address looks unprofessional, then your emails will probably be marked as spam. If you take your business seriously, get a professional sounding email address and ensure that the recipients stand the best chance of recognising your brand.
There’s No Clear Call to Action
Your emails talk about your products or services and maybe all of the generous promotional offers your site is offering. What’s missing is a clear call to action. A CTA is important. It tells your reader what you want them to do. Without it you will get minimal return on your investment, and you definitely won’t increase your conversion rate.
This email from The Whisky Exchange looks highly professional, but it includes no call to action. If there’s no call to action, the company’s customers won’t know what action to take next, and their email was essentially a waste of time.
Too Many CTAs
On the opposite end of the spectrum, many emails use too many CTAs. Putting a “shop now” link several times throughout your email is a bad idea. You don’t want your emails to be too cluttered or too unfocused. Emails containing dozens of CTAs end up looking like junk mail too. If the reader is presented with too many links, they will likely skip over the email. For example, this Macy’s email, which advertises the store’s Super Saturday promotion, contains far too many links. There’s the $10 off deal the 20% of deal and literally a dozen links to the store’s products. This simply leaves the reader confused and wondering where to click.
Too Many Graphics
A busy looking email that’s full of images, banners and flashing graphics is very distracting. These graphics will take away from the copy and the call to action, and you won’t get your customers to take the action you desire. Don’t use too many images, and make sure the ones that you do use don’t take away from what your email is trying to achieve.
No Valuable Content
If you keep sending out emails that simply promote your products, services or offers and deals that your site is currently running, then people will simply stop reading your emails, or they will unsubscribe. Your emails need to offer value to customers. So if you sell fitness supplements for example, don’t just promote your products. Instead, send out how-to fitness emails. Creating email content that is valuable, informative, and solves an issue or meets a need for your customers is essential. Good content also give you more opportunity to use a clickbait subject line.
Good copy engages and connects with your customers on a personal level. It looks professional and it’s written in a way that prompts the customers to take action. There are 247 billion emails sent per day, much of which is spam. If you want your customers to take your emails seriously, then you need to take the time to make your copy effective. Copy that’s poorly written or littered with spelling errors looks highly unprofessional, and simply screams spam.
This copy from Facebook is ineffective for a number of reasons. It’s not compelling, engaging or particularly interesting either. Also, the first line is missing a question mark.
The biggest email marketing fail is not personalising your emails. Starting your email with “Hi”, “Dear Subscriber”, or the dreaded “Dear Sir/Madam” is sure fire way to get your emails marked as junk. Your copy must use the terms “you”, “me” and “us” when addressing the customer too. This email from Polldaddy is a personalisation fail. It doesn’t even use the usual “Dear Sir/Madam”. Instead it begins with “Hi Unknown”. When the reader sees that, they will immediately cross of the email, and mark future correspondence as spam.
Email marketing campaigns often use truly abysmal subject lines. 69% of people report an email as spam as a result of the subject line. Subject lines that are overly sales-orientated or impersonal are usually marked as spam. Dull subject lines that don’t entice the customer or even intrigue the customer will also cause your emails to be ignored.
This email boasts the subject line “Marketing List”, which is a truly a marketing fail.
Misaligned text and poorly placed graphics can make a well-written email look very unprofessional. An email with a poor layout will reflect badly on your business. If your call to action gets lost between poorly aligned text and images, your emails definitely won’t increase your conversion rates.
Overall, email marketing can be a highly profitable marketing method. In fact, statistics show that customers who receive marketing offers via email spend 138% more than consumers who don’t. They are also the most effective way to increase repeat purchases and to develop brand loyalty. So when you create your email marketing campaign, make sure you avoid these marketing fails.
August 23rd, 2013.
Spend enough time wading through spam emails and you’ll be amazed at what you find. From dodgy salutations to cringe-worthy formatting, on a very slow day this makes for a good few minutes of entertainment.
Here are some of the most ‘creepy’ elements of bad email-ship:
Why it’s done & why it sucks:
This is usually an attempt at making a company look uber-friendly, since the emails they send you are formatted like a buddy would send them.
The downside is that sometimes we sign up with nick-names, tags or misspellings which can quickly turn a harmless greeting into a spammy annoyance. Seeing “Happy Birthday JaneDoe101!” or “JaneDoe101 we miss you!” littering up your mailbox is usually the first step on the way to an unsubscribe!
Why it’s done & why it sucks:
“Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom this may concern” are clear-cut indicators of cold calling (or cold mailing) – sure they’re gender neutral but boy are they impersonal. They scream “Someone, anyone – please read me!” rather than seeming relevant to the recipient.
Too many imperatives
Why it’s done & why it sucks:
It’s true that the call-to action is a huge part of the science behind a smooth conversion, so putting in punchy phrases like “click here!” and “buy now!” seem standard procedure, but there is such a thing of over-doing it.
Ultimately, I don’t want bossy emails, and legally anything being sold is an ‘invitation to treat’ so in your next sales email, try the passive approach with an A/B test to see what gains a better reaction.
Why it’s done & why it sucks:
It’s been a while and there’s a lot to say, but how long do you think I’ve got? People are time conscious, say less!
If you need to explain something a nifty way of doing so is by linking back to a blog post published on your website. Not only is this considerate of your customers, it’s also potential for indirect conversions; they may just browse other parts of your website…
And in taking my own advice, I’ll keep this short and sweet – but feel free to add any other examples you can think of in our vowel to make electronic mail, sustainable! ;-)
June 21st, 2011.
At the beginning of the June, our email marketing platform went through some enhancements in features and functionality, including mobile/SMS features (available July, 2011), Facebook and Twitter integrations, and the new workflow automation canvas.
Send Time Optimisation
For each contact, send time optimisation automatically schedules email messages to send at the time of day, and optionally the day of the week, the contact is most likely to open emails from you. You should avoid using send time optimization for time sensitive deliveries where you want control over when the email is sent. If a contact is new or we don’t have sufficient open time data for a contact, the delivery will be made using the time you choose using the Send message now or Send at this time radio buttons.
NOTE: send time optimisation option is only enabled in advanced options when sending your email campaign.
Workflows (available end of June, 2011)
With workflows you can specify combinations of triggers, filters, and actions that determine how to handle contact data, and what marketing communications to send them.
By integrating your email account with a Facebook account you’ll be able to add a Like button to email messages and webforms, schedule & post Facebook messages, let contacts sign-up using their Facebook information, and map Facebook data to contact fields. You can also trigger workflows based on if someone liked a status, liked a page, commented on a status, or posted to a page.
As with Facebook integration, integrating your account with your Twitter account allows you to post to Twitter and track the posts made via the application. You can also trigger workflows based on whether a contact mentions or retweets a Twitter username you have setup in your account.
Support For QR Codes
QR codes allow you to encode a URL into an image that you can add to email messages. If a contact prints out the email, they can take a picture of the QR code with their smart phone and they will be redirected to the URL you specified for the QR code. Read more about What’s a QR code.
Redesigned Message Overview Page
Redesigned message overview page now includes more information about metrics associated with email messages, as well as the delivery groups which an email message has been added to.
Auto-Saving of Messages
This new feature will auto-save your messages automatically to the Drafts folder every minute. That way, if you forget to save a message or your computer crashes, you will still be able to access the version of the message you were working on. The Drafts folder is automatically created for you when this feature is enabled.
Message Approval Prior to Sending
When enabled, all newly created messages will require approval before they can be send. To enable go to: Home > Settings > General >
2 minutes tour
30 minutes webinar
December 16th, 2010.
This week I visited an email workshop “Email Best Practices from Sign-up to Delivery” in London presented by Dr. Philip Rhodes, Ph.D. from One to One. Dr. Rhodes reviewed email newsletters and sign up process from the top 20 UK online retailers, which I believe many of you who are looking to improve your email marketing will find very useful.
I hope this study will help you to look at your own email marketing program through fresh eyes and that by applying some of these email marketing best practises outlined here and using top 20 UK retailers as your benchmark, you will be able to gain a significant improvement.
List of the UK retailers included in this study:
Sign up process findings:
• 18/20 sites had a link to sign-up on the homepage
• 2/20 had links on deeper pages
• 12 sites sent immediate email confirmation
• No newsletters received within 24 hours
• Only 8/20 newsletters received (within 3 weeks of sign-up)
• River Island & Next performed the best
• Play was the worst
Best practices – sign up process:
1. Include Sign-up on the homepage
2. Sign up should be located towards the top of the page (at least above the fold)
3. Should be accompanied by an image or icon e.g. an envelope to draw attention
4. Ensure sign-up requires minimal data entry e.g. name and email address
5. Include a short sentence stating the benefits of signing up e.g. promotions, stay up to date with news and events etc
6. Do not require any unnecessary information to be entered (such as postal address, income, etc.)
7. Do not require users to ‘create an account’ or ‘become a member’ of the site
8. Consider including a short second step/page allowing users to customise the newsletter by selecting specific areas of interest
9. Provide a ‘select all’ tick box or ‘general newsletter’ opt in
10. Provide a link to the latest newsletter so that users know what to expect before subscribing
11. Do not require users to re-enter information e.g. do not request name / email address a second time
12. Include a clear indication on the website that the subscription process is complete and has been successful
13. Ideally include a clear, separate confirmation page with different content
14. Include a clear thank you message on this page
15. Provide an indication of what the user can expect next i.e. email confirmation
16. Send email confirmation immediately
17. User should not need to ‘reconfirm’ the subscription
18. Ensure consistency with site i.e. branding and logo, etc.
19. Include information about newsletters e.g. frequency and type of content
20. Include a link back to the website
21. Include a link to unsubscribe
22. Include contact details
Best practices – newsletter:
1. Include a clear and catchy subject line so that the user immediately recognises the email
2. Ensure consistency with the site in terms of branding e.g. logo, layout, etc.
3. Include links to the site and ensure that they are clear e.g. logo and url address
4. Do not include hidden links e.g. decorative images or plain text
5. Include links to social networking sites and to share the newsletter
6. Links to the social network site e.g. Facebook page
7. Ensure that the e-mail is personalised – use of first name, etc.
8. There must be a clear option to ‘unsubscribe’. This must not be hidden within text
9. Do not use terms such as ‘remove’ or ‘opt out’. Instead use ‘unsubscribe’
10. Provide a real address, phone number or other similar contact details about the sender
11. Do not include excessive amount of text
12. Limit the length of the e-newsletter, do not cause the user to vertically scroll excessively. Test this to find what works the best for you.
Don’t forget about your landing pages!
Another very important part of your email marketing is the landing pages on your site. If you say in your email for example ‘20% off’ or ‘free delivery’, make sure the same message is carried through and shown on your website or at least on a landing page so you meet the set expectation.
In this example below you can see a screenshot from one newsletter promising me 25% off and showing me some bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings. The subject line was: Twenty-five reasons to give (and get) jewelry.
July 21st, 2009.
Recently a lot of companies are looking to old clients, offline customers or otherwise ‘cold’ contacts to drum up new business. This is a great idea, but can seriously harm your company’s reputation if not done well. Here are some guidelines from our recent experiences.
DO: Put yourself in their shoes
This is the key to all of the items that follow – always spend some time trying to put yourself in your contact’s mindset. Consider how you react when you get an email from a company you don’t instantly remember.
DO: Introduce yourself
People are not likely to instantly remember that they bought something off you 1 ½ years ago, especially if it was offline and you’re contacting them online. A big part of reminding them of who you are is the look & feel of the email template itself. Make sure that your template is on-brand and carries over consistent elements such as your logo that they may remember.
DO: Remind them of how you have their details
Here you want to answer the question “Why are they sending me an email?!” and build up the legitimacy of your message. The more detail you can put into your reminder the better. Including a reminder of how you got their details significantly improves how well the email is recieved.
You ordered some V-Pure from us in September 2008. We are getting in touch again to let you know that now have a brand new website for the world’s highest quality Vegetarian Omega 3. We look forward to seeing you soon!”
You registered with us in April 2008. We are getting in touch to show you our new format newsletters and 15% off to our loyal customers.”
DO: Thank them by giving a special offer
Say thank you for their time and patience by giving a special offer code or discount.
“We want to offer you 10% off to say thank you for being a loyal subscriber! Just enter the code DATJN15 at the checkout to claim 10% off.”
DO: Allow them to leave your contact list easily
For messages to cold contacts, one of the biggest issues you have to overcome is people hitting the Junk button when they don’t recognise you. Overcome this by allowing them to unsubscribe easily – and you’ll actually be surprised by how few unsubscribe when you allow them to do so in such an easy way.
DON’T: Sell, sell, sell
Selling in your email is okay if balanced by all of the above, but certainly do not launch straight into your products without it. If possible, don’t sell at all in your first introduction email, and instead look for the long tail result of converting a cold contact into an interested one.
June 9th, 2008.
I’ve just recently joined the Datadial team, and one of my key responsibilities will be to manage the ever-growing need for email marketing. But often it can be hard to think about where to start, so here are my 3 points for growing your email newsletter.
How often will I need to send?
You should be realistic with the frequency, and make sure you stick to it. If you know you’re busy then try to fit the newsletter around your other business routines:
- If you are a service company, like Datadial, then around 4 newsletters a year is sufficient for gently keeping your clients up to date.
- If you are selling products, then seasonal emails for a new collection release, and emails when you are holding a sale or special promotions is appropriate.
- For news and information services, the frequency could even be as often as once a week.
Subscribers should know how often they expect to hear from you before they sign up. This wording can often be incorporated to the sign up form itself, e.g. “Sign up to our weekly newsletter here”.
The most important success factor of your emails will be your contacts list. This is definitely a case of quality over quantity. To get the most from your newsletters, your contacts should be a concise list of interested people – the more targeted your list is, the more effective it will be.
As a guideline, you can get an effective contact list by including anyone who has…
- bought a product or service from you in the last 2 years â€“ they may just need that one reminder to buy again.
- opted-in to receive your email newsletter by signing up from your website.
- signed up to your membership, either online or on a paper-based form, and opted-in to receive your newsletter.
We definitely advise against buying contacts lists from marketing agencies or scrambling around to get as many contacts as possible. This will only lead to people being annoyed at your company for sending them emails they havenâ€™t asked for. Sending newsletters to those who have not opted-in also risks our position as a whitelisted email provider, so we monitor for unusually high bounce or unsubscribe rates to ensure that you are not compromising our permission to send bulk emails.
Once your contacts have signed up, make sure that you do actually live up to your promise of sending a regular newsletter. This may sound very obvious, but when someone has given their explicit permission then they do actually want to hear from you, and it can be damaging to your reputation to only send twice a year when you have told them youâ€™ll send once a month.
Make it look pretty
Donâ€™t underestimate the graphic design of your email. With professional services, you can send attractive graphical emails to your contacts which builds trust with your brand, and makes your email less likely to be interpreted as junk mail. We can also setup your account so that anyone who cannot see the graphics will still get a useful email from you. All of our templates are tested in the main popular email clients (Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) to make sure that it will look great for all of your contacts.
A small, but very important, factor of your email template is the footer. This is the area that should always include your company details, including a physical address, to show that it is a genuine email. There should also be a friendly unsubscribe link for those that no longer want to receive your email. It does you no favours to hide this link, as it will only make those who have already decided to leave your emails more frustrated at your company. We often word these links something similar to:
“If you no longer wish to receive our emails you may unsubscribe here, but weâ€™ll be sorry to see you go. You can always sign up again from our website if you change your mind.”
Adding the method for signing up again shows that they are in control and that they are always welcome to join the list again.