Email Marketing: What Not to Do

Email Marketing What Not to Do

In our last post, we covered some basic tips for email marketing. When it comes to developing a successful email marketing strategy, it’s just as important to know what pitfalls to avoid. Knowing best practices is great (and crucial), but it’s also good to keep a running list of things not to do when you’re getting started with your email marketing and marketing automation efforts.

You guessed it…We’re here to help. Check out this list of what not to do when it comes to email marketing. Drumroll, please!

Don’t skip post-email and post-campaign analysis

We discussed post-email and post-campaign analysis in our first email marketing post, but it’s so important to the success of a marketing automation strategy, we just had to bring it up again. Marketing automation platforms like Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot and Constant Contact have built-in analytics and reporting capabilities, making it super simple to check back in on the success of your email marketing campaign once you’ve deployed it. As a marketer, knowing what percentage of your distribution list opened your email, what calls-to-action they engaged with and how much time they spent with your email content is crucial to future success.

We cannot stress this enough: Don’t skip your post-email analysis. Reviewing the reports available to you can help you draw important conclusions and assist you in improving your email marketing tactics and content with each and every email you send out. Post-email analysis can reveal important insights. Should you switch up your email template? Should you experiment with different subject lines? Are you surprised with the open rate of your emails? You wouldn’t skip tasting a dish you’ve just prepared using a new recipe, so don’t skip reviewing the analytics associated with your emails after you’ve sent them. It’s the only way to know if your email marketing efforts have been successful (and if your dinner is delicious).

Don’t ignore what the analytics are telling you

Sure, it’s important to review your email marketing reports and draw conclusions, but it’s even more important to take action and make changes to your strategy as a result of reviewing your email marketing analytics. For example, if your first email shows a seriously disappointing open rate, it’s time to learn from that and try something new.

Ignoring what your analytics and reports are telling you can be detrimental to the success of your overall email marketing strategy. You should strive to avoid making the same mistake twice. Your audiences will notice that you are making changes in your email content, format and distribution methods based on their behavior and interactions with past emails. They’ll love you for sending them content tailored specifically to their interests and habits. We promise.

Analytics paint a clear picture of what is and is not working with your email marketing efforts. Continue to leverage tactics and content that your analytics are telling you are working well, and strive to improve, fine-tune and tweak the aspects that might not be working so well. The growth and evolution of your email marketing strategy should be directly based on your analytics and audiences’ behaviors. Don’t stop at simply reviewing your reports. Allow them to enable you to be a more successful email marketer by proactively adjusting your approach, where applicable.

Don’t re-send identical email content to identical distribution list(s)

This is not a drill. This one of the quickest ways to get your contacts to unsubscribe from receiving future email communications from your organization.

Sure, it’s OK to try again if an email with an important message for your customers doesn’t perform as well as you expected the first time around. However, re-sending an identical email to an identical distribution list and hoping for a different result is not the best approach. Instead, use analytics and your knowledge of your target audience(s) to brainstorm changes you can make to ensure the message is received the second time around. Can you shorten your email content? Re-word it slightly? Adjust the subject lines? Use different imagery or calls-to-action? Can you send it to a sub-set of your original distribution list? Will you be more successful if you send it at a different time of day or a different day of the week?

Ask yourself these questions when considering re-sending an email or re-running a campaign. Your audience is more likely to hit “unsubscribe” or “delete” on an email they have already received than they are on fresh, new email content they haven’t interacted with yet. Try something new with take two and take note of the results.

Don’t over-saturate your contact lists with too many touchpoints

It might be tempting to send your customers an email about every announcement, new product release and event your organization is involved with–especially once you become a pro at developing and sending emails–but this is another practice to avoid. Over-saturation of your contact and distribution lists should be a real concern. There’s a thin line between keeping your customers engaged and informed and clogging up their inboxes with unnecessary emails.

First, determine criteria for what warrants an email or full-blown marketing automation campaign. If it’s a smaller announcement or recurring event, there might be other channels you can leverage to get your message out. Second, be mindful of the frequency with which you are emailing your contacts and customers. Multiple emails a day–or even one email a day every single day–might not be the right email cadence for your audience. Being mindful of what lists you are emailing, what messaging you are hitting them with and how often you are contacting them via email will be helpful. We’ve all hit the “unsubscribe” button after being irritated by receiving too many emails (Ahem, Old Navy).

Don’t rely solely on email marketing to meet your overarching digital goals

As a modern digital (and badass) marketer, you’re already aware that a cohesive and effective digital marketing campaign likely involves multiple tools and tactics. Among these are social media, digital advertising, a compelling and engaging online presence, SEO, email marketing and a wide range of other activities. The world of marketing automation and email marketing–when executed correctly–can deliver results with endless possibilities. However, that doesn’t mean you should rely solely on email marketing to reach your overarching goals.

Leverage email marketing as a tactic that’s part of your larger digital marketing strategy. Relying on email marketing as your only method for reaching your customers in the digital space is like taking a large yacht out on a long voyage without a full crew: You might make some progress towards where you want to go, but you won’t make it successfully to your destination alone. Integrate email marketing into your existing strategy and develop an understanding of where it fits in with your other digital marketing activities.

Don’t send emails that require your contacts to scroll endlessly

This is another point we hit on in our first post focused on email marketing. We want to emphasize this one: Don’t send your customers overly-long, overly-complicated emails that require them to scroll forever to read your full message. Be concise and lead with the most important information first. If your contacts have to scroll and search for the key points of your message, they may lose patience and interest and close the email before they’ve received all the information you intended them to receive. Avoid this by crafting brief, effective and pointed email content that gets right to the main message.

Don’t go at it alone

Knowing what to do (and what not to do) to ensure email marketing success can be tricky. At D. Cohn Communications, we have the knowledge and expertise to help. Whether your challenge is email marketing or mastering another tactic in your digital marketing tool belt, we would love to assist you in meeting your goals. Please let us know how we can help.