Email marketing is supposed to be easy, right? You slap up a form, collect a bunch of names and email addresses, and then mail them everything under the sun. I mean, how hard could it be?
Ha! It’s not like that at all, and if you believe it is, well… I’m sure I’ve got something somewhere to sell you (that has nothing to do with content marketing)!
Okay, let’s get serious here. Email marketing takes work. But the payoff can be amazing if you do it right. And the truth is, there are a lot of ways you can get tripped up if you’re not careful. It’s not just about building a list. It’s about building a relationship with the people on your list.
In this installment of the Friday Five, I want to share with you five pitfalls to avoid so that you don’t unintentionally sabotage your own email marketing efforts.
Are you ready?
Pitfall #1 – You’re not delivering valuable content
People sign up for your list because they want to get to know you. You have offered them something they’re interested in and were willing to give up a little slice of their privacy to let you into their inbox.
Don’t mess it up by sending them crappy content!
It’s tempting, especially in the beginning, to hammer your list with promotion after promotion. That’s the last thing you want to do. You might make a buck or two in the beginning, but you’ll also lose your subscribers as fast as you gain them. (Or faster, in some cases.)
Instead, you want to send them valuable content that’s related to the topic they signed up to learn more about.
You want to send them content that lets them get to know, like, and trust you just as you are getting to know, like and trust them in return.
Pitfall #2 – You don’t mail them regularly
It’s no secret that the most successful email marketers are the ones who mail their subscribers on a schedule. Whether it’s once a day or once a week doesn’t really matter as long as you set a schedule you can stick to.
If you email every day for several months, and then suddenly take six months off and never mail them, you’ll lose your list. People get so much mail these days that if you’re not in their inbox when they expect you to be, they’ll forget about you. So when you do get around to mailing again, you pretty much have to start over from scratch because that list you work so hard to build has forgotten all about you.
Pitfall #3 – You don’t make it easy for people to unsubscribe
This isn’t as much of a pitfall as it was in the early days when people would hide the link to unsubscribe, or make you email them and ask to be taken off the list. Granted that was partly due to the fact that there were no such things as autoresponders back then. When Aweber was created, we all thought we’d died and went to Heaven, it was so nice to have an automated email system!
Now there’s always a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of every email sent out by an autoresponder, and you can’t hide it. But really, why would you want to. Keeping people on your list who don’t want to be there is just another form of sabotage. You’re not going to get the results you want if your list is full of people who aren’t interested in what you’re selling.
Pitfall #4 – Your messages are hard to read on a mobile device
If your messages are hard to read on a smartphone or tablet, they’re probably not going to get read. Regardless of what autoresponder you use, make sure you use a font that’s big enough to read clearly on a mobile device.
I can tell you from my own experience, I pretty much only read email on my phone these days. The only time I really open an email on my laptop is when there’s a download link included. But if I have to squint or play around with the font to get it big enough to read, then sorry about your luck, your email is not getting read.
The good news is, most autoresponders know what works and have mobile-responsive templates set up for you already. Just make sure you use a big enough font to read on small screens, keep your formatting to a minimum, and don’t include huge images in your messages.
Pitfall #5 – You don’t check your stats so you don’t know what’s working
If you don’t check your stats, you’ll never know what works for you. I know I’m probably starting to sound like a broken record on this, but to me not knowing what’s working and not working is like the ultimate form of business sabotage.
Your autoresponder will have stats for you, such as open rates, clickthrough rates, and unsubscribe rates that you really need to have a good handle on in order to be a successful email marketer. For example, Aweber has something called Quick Stats where within about 20 minutes of your message being sent you’ll have preliminary stats to look at.
Sending out that valuable content we talked about in pitfall #1 is really as simple as looking at your open and click rates. If something gets a lot of opens and clickthroughs, give them more of that!
Finally, always remember that email marketing is a two-way street. You are building a relationship with your readers and just as you want access to them and their inbox, you have to be available to them as well. (Some email marketers I know conveniently forget that part.) Know, like, and trust goes both ways but if you avoid these pitfalls and share valuable, relevant content with your readers, you’ll be well on your way to success as an email marketer.