By Will Schnabel, Vice President and General Manager of International Markets, Silverpop
Making a mistake is not the worst thing that can happen. The real problem is not learning from it. Unfortunately, not all email marketing mistakes are obvious and easy to address—yet they can still severely damage your programme if left unaddressed.
There are six common email marketing mistakes that can affect a programme’s ability to attract and retain subscribers, boost loyalty and increase revenues and return on investment. This article will advise you on how to fix these, and, as a result, you’ll achieve much better results.
1. No Preference Centre
A preference centre offering subscriber options boosts engagement and helps retain subscribers, thus reducing list churn. It will also help you learn more about why subscribers leave.
Once you have developed a preference page, to optimise it for the best results you should promote it, link to it in every message you send, include descriptive language and confirm all changes via confirmation email or confirmation page.
2. Not Managing Expectations
It’s important to let subscribers know exactly what they can expect from your program even before they opt in to it and then meet or exceed those expectations. This leads to engaged subscribers who will anticipate your messages and act on them.
Subscribers expect you to provide content and value in ways that meet their individual needs. Offer multiple communication channels, different message frequencies, customisable interests and a choice of formats (HTML, text or mobile-friendly). Then, honour subscribers’ choices and actually use the information they provide.
3. Mailing Too Frequently - or Too Infrequently
There is fine line between not enough and too much when it comes to email marketing. While moving to a higher frequency can deliver increased revenue in the short term, it may actually end up costing you money over the longer term if you are required to replace lost subscribers.
To ensure you are not over mailing, monitor subscriber comments and track “process” metrics like click-through, bounce, unsubscribe and spam complaint rates and also “output” metrics such as total revenue per campaign, average revenue per email and average revenue per order.
Remember that sending too little email can also be a mistake. Mailing too infrequently can cause subscribers to forget about you and cripple your marketing program.
Build your program around your subscribers, and let their preferences and behaviours drive the optimum frequency and your program success.
4. Ignoring Subscriber Feedback
The failure to respond to subscriber feedback is a serious mistake. If you fail to solicit feedback or ignore it when you get it, you miss the chance to improve your program and risk encouraging unhappy subscribers to be vocal about their displeasure.
On a daily basis, monitor your public inbox and what people are saying about your company on social networks, community bulletin boards and industry blogs and through customer reviews. You should also promote a feedback email address in all your email programs and instruct customer-service personnel to let you know what kinds of comments they have been receiving.
5. Relying on Process Metrics to Measure and Communicate Email Performance
Remember that your email program is designed to support your company’s business objectives. Ultimately, the C-suite doesn’t care about open or deliverability rates. So, your primary focus should be on delivering against “metrics that matter” for your business such as revenue, leads, downloads, and cost savings. To get the resources you need, you must use the language of the CEO and CFO.
6. Getting the Timing Wrong
Using an urgent call to action can backfire if you don’t allow enough time for subscribers to open your messages. A “Today Only” special encourages many recipients to open the message right away, but those who fail to do so will be disappointed.
Remember that not every email user goes into his or her inbox every day, especially during the holiday season. Additionally, some people might originally see your email on their mobile devices, but not act until they get in front of their PCs many hours or even days later. Finally, delivery delays can keep messages out of the inbox during the offer period.
Trying to hit a specific time can be tricky, but you can reduce exposure to bad timing by providing more advance notice; including the day of the week, actual date and time zone of the time-specific event; tracking the actual time it typically takes your emails to reach the inbox; and sending reminders to those who haven’t opened or clicked.
Smart Marketers Learn from Mistakes
Email delivers the highest ROI of all marketing efforts, but you must work at it and learn from your mistakes.
Be willing to experiment, assess results honestly, and create an environment that encourages people to suggest improvements.
By doing so, you can make huge strides in your email marketing program that generate substantial improvements in subscriber engagement, revenue and ROI.
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