Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach customers and increase sales. It allows merchants and service providers to easily send out deals, promotions and announcements, as well as drive new business by reaching out to prospects and warming up cold leads. Launching an effective email marketing campaign, however, is an art form. Using ineffective email marketing techniques and strategies won't just fail to deliver desired results, but it may even harm your brand.
"There are many elements that go into a great email campaign," said Amit Khanna, president of small and medium businesses at Salesgenie, an email marketing lead generation tool. Two important components are the offer and messaging, which includes everything from creating a compelling subject line to crafting a strong closing call to action. "But it takes much more than an attractive product or service offer and effective copy to create a winning campaign."
Other than the actual email itself, email design, mode of delivery, mailing list data and how information is targeted are all essential to email marketing, Khanna said. "In sales, it's all about getting the right message to the right person at the right time. This principle holds true in email marketing as well," he added. [10 Email Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses]
To help small businesses launch more effective email marketing campaigns, Khanna shared these five critical mistakes email marketers make — and how to avoid them.
1. Not targeting customers.
Email marketing solutions make it easy to send emails to all your customers with just a few clicks, but sending the same email to all customers is an ineffective strategy. Make sure you send the right message to the right recipients by segmenting customers based on the offer, target demographic or context of your emails. The extra work in targeting customers will ultimately yield much better results and is the key to email marketing success.
2. Failing to use responsive design.
With 50 percent of emails now being opened on mobile devices, it's critical that your emails use responsive design to optimize content on your customers' tablets and smartphones. Responsive design will ensure your email is seen the way it's meant to be seen. Without responsive design, customers will be faced with the inconvenience of zooming or scrolling from side-to-side just to read your email, a nuance that could send your message to the trash bin.
3. Violating email marketing platforms' terms of service.
Don't use customer communication platforms like MailChimp or ConstantContact for lead-based email campaigns. These services don't allow businesses to use purchased or other third-party mailing lists they didn't compile themselves, but marketers often buy lists and load them on these platforms — by violating their terms of service, these companies can shut down your account or, worse, blacklist your domain.
[For a side-by-side comparison of the best email marketing services, visit our sister site Top Ten Reviews.]
4. Purchasing mailing lists without vetting the seller.
If the price for a mailing list seems too good to be true, don't buy it. You get what you pay for, so make sure you buy email lists from reputable source. For instance, you could purchase a DVD full of email addresses for $100, but it will likely be filled with dead email addresses that can land your email in spam folders or get your domain blacklisted by email providers.
5. Using an out-of-date email address list.
Email mailing lists can either be purchased or collected internally — such as when customers sign up in person or through your website — but neither process guarantees that all email addresses on your list are valid. Email providers have anti-spam programs that block or junk inactive email addresses, so having many outdated email addresses on your list could raise a red flag. Avoid getting your emails caught in the spam folder by making sure your email address list is up-to-date.
Originally published on Business News Daily