So, you’ve heard the news. Email is among the most worthwhile marketing techniques, generating a whopping $42 for every $1 spent.
If you’ve ever taken a digital marketing program, you’re probably already acquaintances. After all, when paired with other marketing methods like SEO or influencer strategies, you’ve got a solid internet marketing strategy.
Whether you’re completely new to email marketing or you already have a few subscribers, the first thing you need to do is grow your email list.
But this can be more challenging than necessary. You might think it takes years to grow an audience big enough to reap the benefits of email marketing’s ROI, but that isn’t further from the truth.
By avoiding these 9 email marketing mistakes, you can start growing your list immediately and building a better email marketing strategy. Not only to increase sales, but also to save money on other, more expensive marketing techniques.
Mistake #1: Failing to Welcome New Subscribers
One of the biggest mistakes newbie email marketers make is forsaking a welcome email. This is the first email your new subscribers receive after joining your list and is your best opportunity to show how much you appreciate them signing up.
If they signed up for an opt-in offer (also known as “content offer”), then the welcome email can also be where you include their free download. (More on content offers later!) Or, you can send two separate emails: one with the content offer and the other just to say “welcome.”
You might be wondering though: why are welcome emails that important?
The answer is simple: your email subscribers have just upgraded themselves from regular website visitors to qualified leads.
They also willingly handed you their contact information, meaning they trust you with it. All because they genuinely want to hear from you or want what you have to offer.
There’s no reason why it would be acceptable to not pop in and say “thanks, welcome to the club!”
Some email marketers even create entire welcome sequences–a chain of multiple emails sent out over several days or weeks that they only send to new subscribers.
Mistake #2: Being Too Promotional in Your Emails
Of course, you want to build your email list for a reason: to generate leads and make money online. But just because your subscribers voluntarily gave you their email addresses doesn’t mean they won’t ever take it back (in other words, unsubscribe).
When your emails start to become reminiscent of the telemarketer that calls on a nearly daily basis, their interest in what arrives from you in their inbox will plummet…fast.
This can happen through the wording of your subject lines, how often you send emails, your CTAs (calls-to-action), and the topics you cover in your email’s body.
Not every email you send should be for the sole purpose of selling.
Some should prioritize educating your audience, some entertaining them, and others trying to promote your products and/or services. If you want your email list to become a powerhouse for increasing revenue, you absolutely must achieve a healthy balance of the three.
This will ensure you’re meeting the needs of all your customers, regardless of which customer journey phase they’re on.
Mistake #3: Not Promoting Yourself Enough
Some email marketers need to scale back on the number of promotional emails they send, as we just discussed. Others need to step up their game.
Again, the emails you send should be well-rounded and contain a healthy balance of educational, entertaining, and promotional content. However, some email marketers fear unsubscribes and appearing spammy so much that they almost completely abandon self-promotion in their own email list!
Your email should be more than just a newsletter. It’s a marketing tool.
And even in the emails that you design for purposes other than promotion–such as those about industry news, teaching a topic, or an entertaining story–you can (and should) still include links to your own content.
You can sprinkle in links to your blog posts when the anchor text naturally flows with the main email body (which, if you haven’t already, you should definitely start a blog). You can also include notes at the bottom of your emails reminding subscribers that you offer “product/service XYZ” that they might want to check out.
Mistake #4: Writing Boring, Unclickworthy Subject Lines
No matter how many subscribers you get, your email marketing analytics will suck so long as no one opens your emails.
And if nobody is opening them, that also means no sales.
It goes without saying that your subject line is one of the most crucial parts of your email marketing efforts. Poor subject lines will leave subscribers uninterested, or even make them lose trust in you, whereas excellent subject lines will have them ready to read and then eagerly waiting for the next.
However, don’t let the importance of subject lines stress you out or give you “analysis paralysis.”
Well-performing subject lines take time, trial, and error to perfect, as there’s no secret formula all email marketers can adhere to.
Instead, you need to patiently figure out what hooks your audience and generates the highest open rates. An easy way to do this is through A/B testing, which brings me to my next point…
Mistake #5: Not Running A/B Tests
One of the best ways to optimize KPIs (like open rates) is to implement A/B testing.
Also known as “split testing,” A/B tests involve taking two or more versions of the same element (such as a subject line, CTA, or landing page) and comparing their results to see which one performs better.
In terms of email marketing, some of the best elements to A/B test are subject lines, CTA buttons, and sign-up form placement (i.e. where you embed sign-up forms on your website or blog posts).
After giving each version a few weeks (or even months), you’ll start to clearly see which one has better performance rates. Then, you can rotate out the poorest performing versions and instead focus all your effort onto the highest ones.
If you’re unsure of how to calculate and see all of your email KPIs, never fear. Most email marketing services–even the cheapest ones out there–offer insights like open rate, click through rate, and more.
Mistake #6: Poorly Designing Your Emails
Like blog posts, your emails need to be easy to read and attractive. This means including tons of whitespace, images, headings, and text styles like boldface, underline, and italics.
If your subscribers feel like they’re reading an essay every time they open your emails, it won’t take long for them to stop.
However, it’s important that you stay consistent with how you stylize your emails. Look at it as part of your branding (because it is). If you color your headings pink, then every heading should be pink. If you use all caps to emphasize important points, you should do so in most of your emails.
The format and design of your emails will be one of the ways your audience remembers you. And if you don’t know where to start, look at your current webpage copy and blog posts. Since you want to stay consistent with your branding, try to write your emails in a similar style.
Mistake #7: Asking People to Subscribe Without a Content Offer
Sure, it’s more than okay to include a sign-up form on your website without a content offer. But don’t expect to generate as many leads (read: new subscribers) without one.
A content offer, also known as an opt-in offer, is any form of content you promise to deliver to viewers when they join your email list.
Popular examples include:
- PDF downloads
- Cheat sheets
- MP3 or audio files (i.e. bonus podcast episode, a guided meditation, etc.)
- Free email course
- PDF version of a blog post
- Discount codes
The options are infinite, so don’t limit yourself to these ideas. The point is, you need to incentivize your readers/viewers to join your email list. Odds are, they’re already being flooded with emails from brands they’ve shopped with or bloggers they follow. You need to give them a good reason to invite you into their inbox.
Mistake #8: Sending Emails Inconsistently
When you send emails is just as important as the emails themselves. Keeping a consistent schedule lets your audience know when to expect content from you, which then turns into a time they look forward to.
Plus, establishing an email schedule prevents you from coming off as spammy and overly promotional. Or, in the case that you aren’t emailing enough, it prevents your audience from forgetting about you.
Like crafting the perfect subject lines, figuring out your ideal email schedule will take time, trial, and error. However, here’s an overview of what most email marketers are doing:
Seventh Sense and Databox surveyed email marketers to find out the most common sending frequency. There were five reported frequencies: daily, weekly, multiple times per week, monthly, and multiple times per month.
Their research found that 33.3% of email marketers send emails weekly, making it the most popular frequency. “Multiple times per month” came in second place at 26.7%.
Mistake #9: Not Engaging with Subscribers
Email is a form of direct communication, even when it comes to building your email list. Don’t let your subscribers feel like your newsletter is a one-way street–encourage them to reply!
When they do reply, take the time to engage with them. And not through an autoresponder. Your interactions with subscribers should be genuine, and if they aren’t, they’ll know.
The only time I’d recommend using an autoresponder is to let subscribers know if you’re currently out of office or to warn them it might take a certain period of time (such as 24-48 hours) for you to reply.
And there you have it–9 rookie email marketing mistakes to avoid in 2022 for the best results and shining KPIs.
Author: Freya Laskowski
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Freya is a personal finance expert and founder of the CollectingCents website that teaches readers how to grow their passive income, save money, improve their credit score, and manage debt. She has been featured in publications like Business Insider, Fox Business, the Huffington Post, and GoBankingRates.