What’s the most valuable marketing asset you have at your small business? Your e-mail marketing list is, at the very least, high on the list. With your e-mail marketing list you have a database of captured leads—which is not quite the same as having a captive audience. You’ve still got to work and be strategic to get those marketing e-mails opened, read, and acted upon—a tough job, but highly advantageous if you can pull it off.
Sadly, we see a lot of small business owners who don’t pull it off, despite significant investments in e-mail marketing. They approach e-mail marketing with enthusiasm, but not necessarily with proven strategies—and this can lead to some fatal errors.
Don’t Believe the Hype
For instance: Most small business owners know that the headline is all-important. If you want your marketing e-mails to have any effect, you need them to get read, which means including an attention-grabbing headline.
But there is such a thing as overhyping it. Ridiculous, Buzzfeed-style headlines are too readily associated with spammy marketing techniques; when you include a headline that promises earth-shattering results, that calls the integrity of the product into question.
Good headlines are short, snappy, and focused on value, but they’re also honest and not overblown.
Make it Personal
Another common problem: Small business owners get so carried away in e-mail automation that they forget to include a personal touch.
For example: Do your marketing e-mails arrive from “admin” or “noreply”—or do you have an actual name in the Sender field?
And do they conclude with a personal signoff from your owner, marketing director, or CEO?
Remember that people like to interact with other people; an e-mail from “noreply” is hardly an invitation for further engagement.
Give Something Away
Another sign of e-mail marketing overzealousness: Marketing e-mails that announce company news or promote products but don’t actually offer something of value. Remember to ask yourself this about any e-mail you send: What’s in it for your customers?
We had a client recently who wanted to send an e-mail announcing his company’s new website. If your only hook is hey, we have a new website, don’t be surprised if nobody particularly cares. But if you can position that website as an invaluable resource for your customers—now you’ve got something.
The bottom line: E-mail marketing isn’t just a matter of passion. It’s a matter of careful thought.