Email marketing still works, even when social media marketing and SEO seem to be grabbing all the headlines in the digital marketing world. But if that is the case why aren’t your campaigns performing up to the lofty expectations you set for them at the start of the year? Why is it that the year is drawing to close and all of your efforts in the email marketing department haven’t even begun to offer the ROI you expected from them?
Email marketing fails for many different reasons, but some are more common than others. Here is a look at six of them, and if any ring a bell for you, quite simply put, something has to change in the new year ahead.
- You’re Failing to Validate Email Addresses
- You’re Failing to Segment Your Email List
- You’re Failing to Offer Real Value
- You’re Alienating Mobile Users
- You’re Not Building Brand Recognition
- You Don’t Know What You are Trying to Achieve
You’re Failing to Validate Email Addresses.
You have a huge email list that you spent both time and money building up. The right calls to action, a simple contact form and a lot of persistence has gone into building it. But how much time has gone into making sure that those email addresses are valid? If yours is like many companies, possibly not a lot.
Validating the email addresses on your list is crucial. If you have followed standard wisdom and offered a good reason for people to share their email with you – a freebie, a white paper, a discount – you do have to face the fact that in order to get their hands on the goodies people may have used a false email.
A growing number of people may have instead provided a burner email address that they never actually use but have specifically for the purpose of signing up for special offers and promotions without having ongoing marketing promotions clutter up their ‘real’ inbox.
Emails sent to these addresses are rarely going to be of any use to you, which is where the importance of email validation comes in. Once these invalid and low quality addresses are removed from the equation, and you are left with just those that do offer real ROI, yours lists are likely to be smaller but they will also be more valuable.
Once your list is validated each message you send will now have a far better chance of reaching the right people. In addition, your bounce rate will decrease and your open rate increase, leading to an improved Sender Score, resulting in more emails making it to primary inboxes rather than ending up in spam.
An easy and effective way to check your email lists for this bogus addresses that are probably cluttering it up is to make use of Find That Lead’s Email Address Verifier.
You’re Failing to Segment Your Email List
Personalization is a big deal in marketing. Consumers simply respond better, across the board, to messages that are personalized. Any email marketing campaign can’t simply be blasted out to everyone with the expectation that every recipient is going to find it appealing enough to open, let alone actually read.
Creating an individual message for everyone on your list is not an option – unless it’s very small or you have a lot of extra time on your hands – but taking a segmented approach is the next best thing.
Email segmentation involves taking your now fully validated email list and dividing it into different groups. That can be done across gender, location, age or a combination of these demographics. This done, you will be able to tailor and send different messages to different consumers that better suit their needs and interests, not those of someone else.
Not sure undertaking this extra work will be worth it? Consider these statistics from MailChimp’s 2016 Email Statistics Report:
- Opens: 14.31% higher than non-segmented campaigns
- Unique Opens : 10.64% higher than non-segmented campaigns
- Clicks: 100.95% higher than non-segmented campaigns
- Bounces: 4.65% lower than non-segmented campaigns
- Abuse Reports: 3.90% lower than non-segmented campaigns
- Unsubs: 9.37% lower than non-segmented campaigns
You’re Failing to Offer Real Value
People signed up for your email list to get something of value in return, and that is exactly what each email you send has to, in some way, provide. There has to be a good reason for your recipients to heed your calls to action, whatever they may be, or they will be searching for that unsubscribe link without too much hesitation.
Email segmentation is once again useful here as different people will have different notions about just what value is, and to emphasize this you may need to tweak both the visual design and copy between different missives. You may even need to offer several different ‘pitches’ to the various groups you have identified in order to get the end results you are hoping for.
All of this will, no doubt, involve extra effort and possibly extra expense, but if you are serious about email marketing it may be the best way to get the results you need.
You’re Alienating Mobile Users
By now, most people know that checking their email on their phone, on the go, is something that the majority of those who own such devices (which at this point is practically everybody) do.
Checking email on a mobile device is a rather different experience though. If people simply scan rather than read when they are browsing on their desktop, which is, again, what most do now, then a mobile inbox is scan city.
Offering emails that are mobile friendly is, therefore, a must. But do you just choose an email template that is touted as both desktop and mobile friendly and leave it at that? Chances are that you do, as it says ‘mobile-friendly’ after all. There is more to making an email message appealing enough for a mobile user to read than though.
In terms of design, there is a lot more you can do. Make sure the information that is most important stands out on a smaller screen, make it bold, italic, underline it or use a combination of all three. Keep font sizes smaller as that displays better on the average mobile screen.
When it comes to visuals, don’t overload your message with hi-res images that will take lots of time – and in the mobile world time is data and data is money – to load. And test your message before it’s sent, not just in the standard preview screen but in one specifically designed for mobile instead.
You’re Not Building Brand Recognition
There are some emails that simply stand out in an inbox because people recognise a trusted, or interesting, brand has sent it. The subject line is familiar and then the layout and the branding within the message is familiar as well. This is achieved by consistent branding, both in terms of copy and design.
As people are becoming more and more wary of email fraud and its ongoing dangers, if they think an email looks ‘weird’ if they open it all they are not likely to click any links ‘just in case’. So, if each email message you send looks significantly different to the last it may trigger these fears. Yes, it’s great that you have someone who likes to get creative and try different things, but to build a trusted brand there has to be consistency as well.
You Don’t Know What You are Trying to Achieve
It’s hard to get ROI from any email marketing campaign if you don’t really know what you are hoping to achieve in the first place. Every message sent should have a clear objective. Maybe it’s to increase your website traffic. Maybe it’s to sell more product. It may even simply be to enhance customer loyalty.
Whatever you hope to achieve from your email marketing campaigns it is should be defined beforehand as the key objective and then all results can be measured against that stated metric so you can see how it truly performed.