2023 / 9 February

Avoiding Email Marketing Pitfalls: How to Boost Your Earnings

This is a hot topic, given the current global events. With the economy in a precarious state due to inflation, war, and rising interest rates, not to mention other external factors, I thought it would be beneficial to examine how other marketers are adapting to these changes. Businesses are often looking for ways to maximize their return on investment (ROI) with email marketing. With careful planning and implementation, businesses can benefit significantly from email marketing campaigns, we know this. Utilizing strategies such as personalization, segmentation, and automation can help to increase ROI, as well as ensure that emails are tailored to the target audience. Additionally, tracking metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions can be a great way to measure the success of an email campaign.

So why does any of this really matter? While many people discuss what you should be doing, I’m going to cover the common mistakes I’ve seen brands make when it comes to email marketing, as well as what they should avoid doing.

The Dangers of Bias: How to Make Objective Decisions

I’d like to offer a tip that may be difficult to hear but is essential to have the right mindset. I frequently encounter this sentiment from many people:

  • Email marketing lacks engagement as emails often go unopened.
  • Pop-ups are a major turn-off and I immediately leave the website.
  • Emails are becoming obsolete in today’s digital landscape.
  • Email campaigns are often perceived as unwanted and intrusive spam.

These are just a few of the common criticisms I hear about email marketing and pop-ups. While it’s true that some emails and pop-ups can be annoying and unwanted, the data suggests that email marketing is still an effective strategy. Instead of relying on personal anecdotes, I’ll be using industry data to support the argument that email marketing is worth using.

  • Email marketing boasts an average return on investment of $40 for every dollar spent, according to [Omnisend’s 2022 report].
  • Welcome Emails tend to have an open rate of 68.6%, significantly higher than the general email open rate of [19.7% reported by GetResponse in 2022].
  • [Statista’s 2017] survey found that 49% of consumers prefer to receive promotional emails from their favorite brands on a weekly basis.

Keep in mind that these statistics may not be fully accurate as the data and methodologies behind these studies are subject to change. Nonetheless, even if you take these numbers with a grain of salt, the potential of email marketing is still significant. I encourage you to conduct your own research to fully grasp its power. If you have concerns about the perceived spamminess of email marketing, try crafting high-quality emails that deliver value to your audience. Experiment with simple flows and manual campaigns, analyze the results, and then make an informed decision about the worth of email marketing.

Absence of a Lead Capture Form/Ineffective Form Optimization

An optimized lead capture form is crucial to the success of email marketing. Without it, there is no way to collect email addresses and build your email list.

I often come across websites that have a standard form in the footer, asking visitors to “Sign up for our mailing list” or something similar. This type of form rarely results in email sign-ups.

Some brands may have great offers, but their lead capture form is placed at the bottom of the site where it goes unnoticed.

Others display pop-up forms, but the incentive for giving an email address is weak. Simply asking someone to “stay up to date” with your brand is not enough value for someone who has just landed on your website. In this case, the pop-up form can come across as intrusive and annoying.

An often-made mistake is the immediate display of pop-ups. As previously noted, the perception that email marketing is spammy is widespread and a low-quality pop-up appearing instantly only perpetuates this view. To overcome this, set your pop-ups to trigger based on specific conditions, which tend to be most effective:

For Desktop: Display the pop-up when the user indicates a desire to leave the site (you can also test it with the time spent on the page).

For Mobile: Show the pop-up after 8 seconds spent on the site or after the user has scrolled 60% of the page.

By following these less intrusive triggers, your pop-up appears less spammy and is only shown to users who have expressed some level of interest in your site.

Boosting Email Engagement: Overcoming a Weak Offer

This point connects to what I mentioned earlier. I’m constantly bombarded with pop-ups that provide no value whatsoever to the viewer. It’s incredibly frustrating and detracts from the overall user experience. Your lead capture form’s success depends on various elements, including text, design, and triggers. However, the most crucial aspect is the offer. A popular and effective offer is a percentage discount. It’s simple, clear, and encourages people to take action.

An underutilized strategy is testing a percentage discount offer against its dollar equivalent. For instance, if you’re offering a 20% discount, and your average order value is $100, the customer gets $20 off on average. Instead of the percentage discount, try offering $20 off. Although it’s a similar offer, the results may vary, and visitors may respond better to one over the other.

Gift With Purchase (GWP) is a powerful offer that often proves more effective than discounts. If possible, it’s worth considering for your brand. A GWP may even be more cost effective for you compared to a discount offer. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate gift, something simple that adds value to the purchase is enough. For example, if you sell natural toothpaste, including a complimentary bamboo toothbrush with the first purchase can be an attractive incentive. This small addition shouldn’t cost more than $1 and could be more appealing to customers than a discount code.

For digital products or services, a discount code may not be the best fit. Instead, consider offering valuable resources such as industry-specific eBooks or PDFs that address a problem for your audience. Local services can offer free consultations, quotes, or sessions. Whatever offer you choose, ensure that it provides value to your audience.

The Mobile Email Mishap: Avoiding Non-Optimized Emails

Surprisingly, many brands create their email campaigns on desktop/laptop without checking for mobile compatibility. This is a problem as 45-55% of emails are opened on mobile devices. If your emails are not optimized for mobile, they may appear unattractive to recipients and increase the likelihood of being marked as spam. With 55% of emails now opened on mobile devices, it’s crucial for businesses to have the skills to create effective campaigns that display and operate well on these devices. As desktop email opens decline, mobile-friendly email marketing is the key to boosting engagement and acquiring new customers. Ensure that your emails are optimized for both mobile and desktop before sending them. This simple step can help avoid a common problem.

Overloading Emails with Multiple Objectives

Every email you send should have a clear, singular purpose. This purpose may not always be to make a sale. In fact, it’s important to send emails that don’t even attempt to sell. Make sure that all elements of your email align with your objective. If your goal is to sell, focus on promoting only one product or service at a time and have a clear call-to-action (CTA). It’s important to note that there should only be one CTA per email. This doesn’t mean you can only have one button or link. Just make sure all buttons and links support the same goal.

I frequently come across welcome emails that feature a complete header menu from the website at the top. This practice is widespread among big brands, but it doesn’t make sense in an email. Why have a menu? To keep your email clear and focused, minimize clutter and only showcase multiple products if they follow a common theme, such as best-sellers or a new line. Avoid showcasing your latest collection in an email discussing your brand values.

Lackluster Email Delivery and Inefficient List Maintenance

This is a question that I get asked quite frequently. Deliverability is an essential part of any successful email campaign, but unfortunately, it is also one of the easiest things to ruin and the hardest to repair. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that all of your email campaigns are properly set up and managed in order to ensure maximum deliverability.

I could write an entire book about this topic, but for now, here are a few tips to consider implementing.

To maintain a healthy email deliverability, it’s essential to first authenticate your email domain. This involves setting up SPF and DKIM correctly. Although it may seem technical, taking the time to properly authenticate your domain before sending emails is crucial. To build a trustworthy email list, ensure that the opt-in process is clear and based on genuine consent. Avoid using shady tactics to capture email addresses. Instead, offer value and make sure users understand what they are signing up for.

It’s also important to provide a clear opt-out option in every email you send. Don’t make the process complicated, as this not only reduces the quality of your email list but also hurts your deliverability. Additionally, ensure that unsubscribes are global, so users who opt out from one list are removed from all lists.

Most of your emails should be sent to engaged and interested users, as these are the people who are most likely to respond positively to your messages. Avoid sending more than 3 emails a week to unengaged users, as this is likely to have a negative impact on your reputation.

If your email deliverability is already low and you’re concerned that many of your messages are being sent to spam, here is what you can do:

  1. Follow all previous steps
  2. Create a customer segment of highly engaged users (interacted in the last 7 days)
  3. Only send to highly-engaged segment for the next 30 days
  4. Only turn on flows with high engagement
  5. Ensure all emails provide value and are well-optimized
  6. Avoid spammy language in subject lines (e.g. “FREE”)
  7. Use less spammy words instead of trigger words like “FREE” and “INSTANT”
  8. Avoid using large images in emails, as they slow load time and are not favored by email providers
  9. Use multiple smaller elements instead of one large image block

The key to maintaining email deliverability and lead health is to regularly clean your list. This should be done every month without fail.

To maintain list hygiene, it’s crucial to address bounced emails promptly and remove them from your list. Additionally, every month, remove subscribers who have not engaged with your emails. Reengagement campaigns should be a one-time effort and if they are unsuccessful, the subscribers should be removed from the list.

Insufficient Length of Email Flows

Email flows require more than just a single welcome email. To build stronger relationships with your audience, your welcome flow should consist of a minimum of 5 emails, and can even be extended to 10 or more. Longer email flows provide more opportunities to establish rapport, showcase social proof, increase authority, earn trust, and ultimately drive sales. Just ensure that the emails are of high quality and offer value to your audience. Contrary to popular belief, longer email flows do not necessarily come across as spammy as long as they provide valuable content. In fact, they tend to result in better outcomes. Continuously analyze your results and end the flow when performance starts to drop significantly.The key to success here is to focus on creating high-quality content and delivering maximum value to your audience.

Missed the Mark: Lack of Segmentation

It may seem obvious, yet many business owners still do it: sending an email blast to their entire email list. But, proper segmentation is crucial to achieving high open rates, conversion rates, deliverability, and overall email health. After all, why would you send the same email to someone who recently made a purchase as someone who hasn’t interacted with your brand in two months? people, increasing the relevance and impact of your emails. When an email feels personalized and relevant to the recipient, they are more likely to engage with it, leading to higher open rates, click-through rates, and ultimately conversions.

Additionally, by only sending emails to those who have recently engaged with your brand, you can reduce the risk of your emails being marked as spam. Spam complaints hurt your sender reputation and can damage your ability to effectively reach your audience in the future. By segmenting your list, you can also ensure that you are sending the right message to the right person at the right time. For example, you might send a re-engagement campaign to a segment of your list that hasn’t opened an email in several weeks, or send a special offer to those who recently made a purchase.

My must-have segmentation for every brand

Engaged Subscribers
Unengaged Subscribers

Missing Out on Easy Opportunities

In email marketing, there are a number of low-hanging fruit opportunities that are easy to capitalize on. But two campaigns, in particular, stand out as being incredibly effective and yet underutilized by many brands: ‘Back in Stock’ and ‘Product Launch’.

Sending an email to your subscribers when a popular product is restocked is a simple but powerful way to drive sales. If the product was sold out, it shows demand and restocking it only adds to that demand. Your back-in-stock campaign should create excitement around the restock and reinforce the trust and social proof of your brand.”

Product launch campaigns are a key aspect of email marketing that offer a unique opportunity to build excitement and anticipation for a new product. To maximize their effectiveness, it is important to coordinate these campaigns with a simultaneous social media campaign to create buzz. Your lead capture form should be specifically tailored to the new product drop, with the aim of attracting a large amount of new traffic to your website.

Lastly, to further drive engagement, consider starting your email campaign about a week before the product launch and maintain a steady flow of emails throughout the week leading up to the launch. Additionally, offer early access to your most valued customers such as your VIP list and previous purchasers to create a sense of scarcity and exclusivity, emphasizing that only a limited number of early access products are available.

In conclusion, effective email marketing requires careful planning and execution. From segmenting your email list to creating personalized campaigns, there are many elements to consider. The two campaigns discussed, “Back in Stock” and “Product Launch”, are proven to be effective and should not be overlooked. The key to success with these campaigns is to strike a balance between building hype and establishing urgency and scarcity. Remember, your ultimate goal is to provide valuable content to your subscribers and keep them engaged. Happy email marketing!

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