6 email marketing mistakes and how to fix them

publication date: Aug 6, 2013
author/source: Tea Kurpalo

With 56% of organizations saying that they plan to increase their use of email marketing this year, this channel is becoming more critical than ever before. If done correctly and tastefully, your emails can generate the highest ROI out of all your marketing methods – so make sure to include email in your multi-channel marketing plan. Before you get rolling, be aware of the following common mistakes marketers are making today and learn why they’re turning their readers away:Tea Kurpalo photo

You’re not grabbing my attention

64% of people say that they open an email because of the subject line. This is your first opportunity to give your readers an incentive to open. In (ideally) 50 characters or less, tell them what benefit you are delivering and persuade them to do so (creatively, of course). But make sure…

You’re not making me feel special

…to always make me feel like I’m one of a kind. If you’re nurturing leads effectively, you should know something about your prospects and donors, such as their gift record, website activity and download history. Use this treasure trove of information and incorporate elements of personalization to speak to readers and resonate with them. Segment your list and consider adding their name in the greeting.

You’re not telling me what you want from me

Your call to action should be near the top, above the fold – meaning, I don’t even have to scroll. I open your email and bam! – there’s the purpose of your whole spiel. Your readers aren’t going to dissect your email to find out why you sent it to begin with. Make sure you tell them up front and make it easy for them to respond by using callout boxes for important links or instructions.

You sound like a used car salesman

Email is an excellent channel to deliver value to your audience. By losing the salesy talk and focusing on educating your readers, you’ll earn credibility and appreciation – solving someone’s biggest pain point goes a long way. Focus on the benefit to the reader and you’ll reap the rewards later. Promise them something worthwhile – the chance to transform someone’s life – and then deliver.

You’re not even giving me the option to share

I loved your content so much that I want to tell the world about it immediately, but I quickly noticed you’ve neglected to include social sharing buttons. Emails containing social sharing buttons generate 30% higher click-through rates than emails without social sharing links. Expand the reach of your content and drive more traffic to your social networking sites by including these links in your emails. The more access email subscribers, fans and followers have to your content, the more likely they are to visit your website, refer others to it and support your mission.

You’re holding me captive

You’ve made the previous five mistakes and now I’m just begging for an exit – but there’s no escape in sight. Now I’m really unhappy. You only want recipients on your list who want your emails – better yet, enjoy receiving your emails – so don’t get all sneaky and hide that unsubscribe button. Plus, you want to adhere to anti-spam legislation.

By spending some time auditing your email campaigns and finding areas where your organization could improve, you’re more likely to have your emails opened and your readers begging for more.

Tea Kurpalo is the marketing coordinator for advisory services at Sikich. She regularly blogs and produces interactive content about emerging trends in marketing. Find more of her work at www.sikich.com/blog.  

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