I recently wrote a blog post that offered healthy marketing advice about Email Newsletter Best Practices. This follow up post will address common email newsletter mistakes and how to avoid or correct them.
Using a newsletter to represent your business can be one of the most effective ways to get a customer, keep a current customer, or influence a future customer. Unfortunately, the power of the newsletter is no secret in the business world. Newsletter marketing is used daily by thousands of companies. So, how do you get your newsletter to standout above the rest? The answer seems simple: get it out to the right people with the right message. Sometimes that is easier said than done! Here is a little secret: Feng shui-ing your newsletter begins before you even write it.
In the following sections, I will address common mistakes that are made in marketing email newsletters and offer best practices to remedy the blunder.
Email Marketing Mistake #1: NOT HAVING PERMISSION
If you are sending a newsletter out, your list of recipients must be permission-based. This means that they have opted-in and you have proof that the subscriber wants to hear from you. Furthermore, your recipients have an understanding about what they are signing up for. If your sign up was for “Last Minute Deals,” than that is what your email newsletter(s) should be about.
Email Marketing Best Practice Tip: Do not purchase, rent, or borrow email lists from anyone – friends or family! It is better to build your own list with people who are actually interested than to spam thousands of people who could care less. Quality over quantity!
Email Marketing Mistake #2: NOT HAVING SEGMENTED LISTS
A reputable email marketing software program is easy to use and most likely offers you the option of segmenting your recipient lists. Not all customers are the same. Some may be interested in your “Deal of the Day” while others are interested in your company’s “New Products”.
Email Marketing Best Practice Tip: Segment your email subscriber lists. This is akin to targeting. Send out your newsworthy information to those who are interested and you will see a higher open rate!
Email Marketing Mistake #3: HAVING A MISLEADING EMAIL SUBJECT
The email subject should accurately reflect what is inside the newsletter. When an email has a misleading or overhyped subject it will only lead to disappointment when the email is opened. The subscriber may feel duped or scammed and you may end up losing a past or future customer altogether.
Email Marketing Best Practice Tip: Be transparent with your email subject. Let it honestly reflect what your newsletter is about. One of the goals of a marketing newsletter is to build a connection with the reader that will lead to trust and, hopefully, their business and loyalty. Don’t take the risk of losing customers and brand integrity just to get a higher open rate.
Email Marketing Mistake #4: NOT HAVING A BRANDED NEWSLETTER
As mentioned before, email marketing is done by many companies. Most likely, your newsletter will not be the only newsletter in a recipient’s inbox. When the person opens your newsletter, marketing studies say that a person spends between 15 to 20 seconds scanning the letter. In those seconds, you need to capture the reader. One way to do this is to be consistent with your branding. When a person can immediately recognize your business, they will most likely take more time to review the newsletter. Plus it makes your business look professional when everything is on brand.
Email Marketing Best Practice Tip: Use a newsletter template that has your logo at the top of the page along with your branded colors (and font, if you want to get very detailed). This template can be used over and over again. If you need help getting the design done so your newsletter looks and functions the best way possible, pay a professional to do it for you. Your investment will help to build your brand recognition. If you choose to use images to represent your business, keep them “real”. Avoid using stock images that look like employees, products, or place of business. See #5 for more information about using pictures. And please, don’t use images unless you have permission or if they are royalty-free!!!
Email Marketing Mistake #5: HAVING PIXELATED OR TOO MANY IMAGES
Images can look different from one email browser to another. Their size or clarity may become skewed. This can make your business look unprofessional and unattractive to the viewer. Images are powerful, to a certain degree. If the newsletter is overloaded with images – especially stock images that don’t really relate to your company – your email will lose its overall value.
Email Marketing Best Practice Tip: Always preview your email newsletter. Send yourself a draft and open it in different email providers such as Gmail and Yahoo. While images do help sell products and services, too many images can also send your email to the spam folder. Two to four images is optimal and try to avoid having one image that is overbearing to the content and other images.
Email Marketing Mistake #6: HAVING INCORRECT GRAMMAR
The incorrect use of “your” and “you’re” and “there”, “their”, and “they’re” is like nails on a chalkboard and looks unprofessional.
Email Marketing Best Practice Tip: Take the time to proofread your newsletter for typos, grammatical errors, and accidental omissions (sometimes little words such as “is” or “in” get omitted when typing fast!). Since often times we overlook our own mistakes, it helps to have a second person comb through your letter.
Final Email Marketing Best Practice Tip:
Remember that your email newsletter is a representation of your business. Care for it as much as you care for your business and you may be surprised to find that this marketing effort will pay off in the long run.