In a race to get more clicks and conversions, as marketers we often forget a very fundamental truth – that just like old-school touch-and-feel mail (remember the morning paper, anyone?) a person’s email inbox is a highly intimate space and, it goes without saying, it should be treated as such.
And just as mail finds its way to the recipient via a postman kicking about town in a van, it is an email marketer’s job to deliver a brand’s communications from the comfort of their desk, and do so in a sensitive, non-intrusive manner.
But what usually happens is just the opposite – one’s personal virtual mailbox gets bombarded with unsolicited and/or irrelevant messages. You certainly don’t want to be the one whose emails go straight into the Junk Mail folder, especially after all the effort. You want to be the one whose emails are welcome and eagerly anticipated, right? Then stop doing these things…
1. Emailing a cold list
There’s no point in trying to sneak an email through to someone who has no idea that you even exist. No matter how compelling or irresistible your content may be, you are likely to suffer atrocious unsubscribe rates and excruciatingly poor deliverability. Also think about the negative impact unsolicited mail might have on your image. So stop wasting money on cold lists. Why not try to grow your database organically, through opt-in communication, instead?
2. Sharing dull content lacking in relevance
Try to put yourself in your recipient’s shoes – how do they react to a new email notification? First thing, their curiosity is aroused. Secondly, they see the sender and the subject line. And third (there are three options here) – they either click through (if they find the subject line relevant and worthy of their attention), “bin” it (if your communication is not relevant to the recipient or is like hundreds of other emails they receive), or worse still – the recipient is so aggravated that they choose to unsubscribe. The lesson here is – even if you’re using an automated email process; try to keep the communication relevant, timely and engaging!
3. Not getting the email cadence right
One of my personal email marketing pet peeves is receiving marketing emails once too often. Even if those are relevant and useful industry-specific updates I’ve willingly and eagerly subscribed for, being blasted with emails from the same sender three times a day is overwhelming and annoying, to put it mildly. I have, as a result, opted out of many a top-notch brand marketing communication simply because of the frequency of their emails. So you need to figure out how often is too often and how much is too much. The flip side of the coin, of course, is that sending marketing emails too infrequently or at irregular intervals of time can result in people forgetting about you. Remember that people’s relationship with brands runs on the principle “out of sight, out of mind” and get the cadence of your email communications right.
4. Forgetting about mobile optimisation
Big mistake! Busy people read their personal emails on the train, the bus or the subway home so ensuring your email is designed to read well on any handheld device is a must. There’s nothing more annoying than having to pinch the tiny screen of a mobile phone, zoom in or out to get the font to the right size or scroll left to right to read a piece of content. A nicely mobile-optimised email, on the other hand, will leave a good taste in a recipient’s mouth and will make your communications stand out from the abundance of non-optimised emails out there.
5. Typos, bad grammar and broken links
Omitting a preposition, misspelling a homophone, misplacing an apostrophe – it can happen to the most painstaking writers among us. And sometimes, focused on the content rather than the form and with looming deadlines ahead, we forget to proof our copy. But one tiny, seemingly insignificant typo can ruin the whole experience for the reader – it makes the sender look unprofessional at best and negligent at worst. So why not ask another pair of eyes to give your email a once-over before hitting the “Send” button?
They can immediately identify any factual mistakes, typos or broken links and ensure that you’ve not wasted your precious time… and nor will your recipients.
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Opening image credit: RambergMediaImages via Flickr/Creative Commons