- Not getting permission. Email sent through your regular ISP (Internet Service Provider, ie. Charter, Yahoo, Hotmail, G-mail, etc. is meant to be a "one-to-one" communication. Sending commercial messages to several recipients using the "BCC" feature is against the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. This law outlines several regulations, including: recipients need to have a method to "safely unsubscribe" at any time; your business name and address appear on the footer of every email and that you clearly identify who you are. Recipients should never see other recipients email addresses, nor should they be "undisclosed recipients" using the BCC feature. An ESP (Email Service Provider, ie. Constant Contact, iContact, aWeber, MailChimp, etc. works with your ISP to maintain permission based marketing. Before you upload your contact list or names received at a networking event or trade show, understand your responsibility in using permission-based marketing.
- Ineffective use of sign up tools. Can someone sign up for your mailing list on your website? How about from Facebook or a link on your regular email signature. Can subscribers text to join your newsletter? Is the sign visible in your store, office, at your event? Try it - just open a new text to the number 22828 and in the message type MASSMARKETING. You will be asked for your email address and you're now on my mailing list! (BTW- This is an exclusive feature of Constant Contact)
- Not segmenting your audience. You wouldn't talk to your spouse the same way you talk to your children any more than you'd talk to your vendors the same way you talk to your customers, right? Email marketing is a one-to-many tool. Always speak as if you're talking to an individual, not a group. If you find this difficult, it is probably because you have not segmented your lists effectively.
- Not delivering. When someone joins your mailing list, there is an expectation that you will communicate how you said you would. If months go by with no outreach, you are falling off the radar and are hurting your relationship with your subscribers. If you over-communicate, you also run a risk. Be consistent and focus on one main topic.
- Being romanced by open rates, not click-throughs. You aren't marketing unless you ask someone to DO something - read this, register here, buy the book now, like us on Facebook (yes, you can do that through email marketing, too!) Read your reports after every campaign and check to see if your efforts were effective. If you're doing it right, your list should be steadily growing. If it's not headed in the right direction or climbing quickly enough, it may be time to ask for help. Sometimes, just a few tweaks in your process can make a world of difference in the results.
Email marketing is the #1 way to keep people engaged with your products and services. It is an extremely cost-effective method to build relationships and keep your business "top of the mind" with prospective customers. How do you know if you're doing it right? Here are some common ways where you may be hurting your efforts:
Liz Provo, Mass Marketing Resources.