What do marketing emails have in common with Halloween candy? Both will be immediately trashed if they are remotely suspicious, messy or creepy, or offered by strangers.
You carefully inspect your children’s trick-or-treat goodies, throwing out anything that is the least bit questionable. Your subscribers will do exactly the same thing to your emails. But your recipients aren’t just judging your message’s appearance (is it all jumbled together or shabby and worn like a torn candy wrapper?), they are also performing a split-second review of the relevance, content, and readability. Those fast-as-lightning verdicts determine whether or not your marketing emails will be deleted – or worse – unsubscribed from.
Don’t subject your email campaigns to the same grim fate as tainted Halloween candy. Avoid these 4 terrifyingly common email marketing blunders to ensure that your messages are received as blissfully as a bag full of name-brand goodies.
- Cadaverous Content & Roguish Irrelevance
No one wants to read articles that bore them to death. Your content must be engaging and interesting, not stale and musty. What you include in your marketing emails should inspire further inquiry by your recipients. Stale sales pitches and putrid product promotions are not likely to spark prospects’ interest unless you dress them up in a fabulous literary costume, such as a case study, story, testimonial or editorial. Additionally, subscribers will shriek in horror if you send them content that is not relevant to their needs, wants, or location. Know your audience. Target your emails. Dissect and segment your email lists by demographics, topics of interest, service needs, and other data points that will ensure your marketing messages are relevant and meaningful. Make sure that you don’t disgust your audience with impish irrelevance or spiritless emails that make your readers snore.
- Dastardly Design and Pallid Pictures
What can instantly scare away even the bravest of subscribers? Dreadful email design and layout pallid, putrid photos. Visual elements can add to your credibility or bury it in a shallow grave. Not only will a poorly-designed email make a terrible impression on your prospects, it will also practically guarantee more sickening unsubscribe requests. Make sure that your layout and design is visually appealing and readable on all devices. Don’t haunt your campaigns with sallow stock photos or obsolete imagery. Bring your emails to life with pictures of you and your staff, your products, your environment, and your clients. Have no fear of the camera. Candid photos are immeasurably more relatable than out-of-date headshots or generic stock images. Encourage your staff to participate in your marketing by posing for spellbinding pictures that will help take your brand from lifeless to breathtaking. Your email marketing messages should be as tempting and luscious as Halloween candy is to a child.
- Eerie Inconsistency or Fiendish Frequency
Befuddling your prospects with a bizarre schedule of email communications will not earn you any favors. Subscribers should know when to expect your messages, and those emails should be instantly recognizable as being from you and your brand. Strange detours from your normal routine or brand are unsettling to your readers, resulting in your emails being cursed to the recycle bin. Make sure that you set up an editorial calendar to stay organized and on-schedule as well as lay out your brand guidelines so you don’t have a reputation nightmare. Just as too much candy in one sitting will upset your stomach, too many emails in a short period of time will make your subscribers sick. Don’t haunt your subscribers with fiendish frequency or eerie inconsistency. Give them something to look forward to with anticipation.
- Screaming Subject Lines & Horrifying Headlines
There are a number of subject line mistakes that will make your subscribers scream, from using all capital letters (which is akin to shouting) to crying wolf in an attempt to convey a sense of urgency in every message you send. Make sure that your subject line reflects the killer content in your email message. Similarly, headlines have the power to repel and repulse or enchant and captivate your readers as they skim your message. Creative, insightful and conversational headlines and sub-headings can have a mesmerizing effect on your subscribers, spawning more intense interest in your message – and more leads as they read through your email with hypnotic fascination. Make sure that you break your messages up with bewitching headlines that won’t send your prospects scurrying away frantically.
Moving Past Monstrous Marketing Mistakes
Your email marketing campaign can either conjure value for your prospects or make it disappear before their eyes. Avoid vanishing value tricks. As readers engage with your messages, they should be enthralled and enchanted by the relevance of your content, the beguiling imagery you use, the sword-like sharpness of your point and the credibility of your brand. Make sure that you invoke value and intrigue your readers with “what’s in it for me” benefits throughout your message.
What should you do if you are unwittingly perpetuating these monstrous marketing mistakes? Sometimes it can be frightfully difficult to identify errors, and even more challenging to toss ineffective marketing tactics in the trash. Consider tackling your campaigns one at a time and building a Frankenstein team of colleagues and associates from multiple departments to solicit their feverish input. Everyone has something to say about marketing – from the sales team to the customer support department, no souls will willingly hold their tongues when asked for their opinions. Strategize and move on with new and improved messaging for better prospecting and lead generation.
Becca Fieler is an Online Marketing Specialist for BizActions | PDI Global, a division of Thomson Reuters. She provides strategic planning and oversight for online marketing and email marketing initiatives. Becca also works with clients, developing comprehensive marketing and lead generation programs for professional service providers, including attorneys, accountants, banks and credit unions, payroll service bureaus, human resource companies and others. A prolific writer when she has time, Becca also enjoys graphic design, illustration and developing marketing strategies.
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