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How not to do email marketing

See also: How not to use Twitter / How not to use LinkedIn /

How not to do content marketing How not to use Facebook 
How not to use Google+/ How not to blog

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Email is easy to churn out, that's why there's so much dross clogging up your inbox. Don't be part of the problem, be part of the solution...

Email is easy
Email is relatively cheap to fire out, good data is readily obtainable and it’s a quick win; none of that is true, though you will definitely have heard each of them churned out with regard to ‘why email marketing is still top dog in B2B.’ Email is no longer the quick win it once was supposed to be; spray and pray is obsolete and you need to work much harder than you in the past to be successful. That doesn’t mean email has nothing to offer, it just means lazy marketers should be prepared to fail. 
 

Ignore the data challenge
Once you’ve purchased your data from a cheap and/or disreputable data company, you’re set to go. Again, this isn’t true. Data is the most important element of making email work for you. You’re going nowhere if you don’t ensure your data is comprised of relevant, up-to-date and opted-in contact information. Firing out weekly emails to Mickey.Mouse@xyz.com is pointless if Mickey has moved on to pastures new.

Spam Attack!
Amazingly, the actual content of marketing emails is often overlooked. The best thing you can do before deciding whether you should send any email is think ‘is this useful?’ We’re all familiar with the annoying experience of receiving pointless emails, so don’t send them out. Make sure your emails are likely to be of interest to your recipients. This should be obvious, really...

Dear John X {Surname}
Personalisation is one of the best ways a brand can overcome the dangers of inbox overload. The subtle tailoring of messages can foster a pleasant ‘we’re already mates’ kind of vibe. But get it wrong and personalisation attempts can quickly sever would-be friendships. Emails from my internet provider always come addressed: ‘Hello Daniel...’ I’m looking forward to dropping them when my contract is up. (Orange, since you ask). And I don’t get wifi signal in the kitchen.

Analyse this
Another misconception about email marketing is that once you’ve pressed ‘send,’ you can get straight back to arranging where you’re meeting your friends after work. The days immediately after the email is sent is when you should be analysing how well the email worked. There are all sorts of insights you can look for, from subject line success through to how well certain calls to action worked. You could even go crazy and do an A/B test. Don’t be lazy. And don’t (re)repeat the mistakes you’ve made before.

*There are, in fact, a great many other ways to do email marketing badly; it’s perhaps the easiest form of marketing to do badly. These are just a few of the common errors that irritate me most when I’m on the receiving end of them. If you’d like to add to the list, please let me know via the comments box below.