9 Email Marketing Strategies You Should Stop Using Right Now
1. Email marketing without permission
Seth Godin’s idea of Permission Marketing is a really important one. It states that if you didn’t get some form of permission to market to (or in this case email) someone, you shouldn’t. If you’re using email marketing to contact someone without their permission, you’re essentially sending SPAM. Getting permission is so easy, this should be a no-brainer. It’s as simple as adding an Opt-In on any and all forms you use to collect user email addresses.
So all those business cards you collected at meetings or at trade shows, unless you specifically asked for permission, should never make it to your email list. How do you get their permission? Put up a sign near your business card bowl that explains they’ll be added to your list.
2. Sending emails to new subscribers without a permission reminder
So you’ve got their permission and you’ve added a user to your email list. We all get a lot of email these days, so you’ll do yourself a huge favor by reminding your subscribers how they got on your list in the first place. This will help prevent them from marking your emails as SPAM if you don’t email them for a while or if they’ve just forgotten how they got on the list.
3. Burying your unsubscribe link
It’s just shady. Users that want your content will keep it, and users that don’t shouldn’t have to hunt for a way to stop it. It should be as simple as a single click. It’s also against CANN-SPAM laws.
4. Confusing gift buyers with interested consumers
This happened recently with a friend of ours – he purchased a gift subscription to Birchbox for Christmas last year. He did not opt-in, and yet in the span of 18 days, he received 24 emails from the company. For a gift purchase. Less than 24 hours after he received a notification that the first box had shipped, he got an email asking if he wanted to upgrade to their next subscription level. Weeks before the first box arrived.
Make sure you’re keeping track of those that are purchasing your product or service as a gift for another consumer versus those that are meaningfully signing up for your list.
Additionally, 24 emails in 18 days is just way too many emails.
5. Ignoring email content preferences
We’re looking at you, Groupon and Twitter. Did you know there’s no way to stop those “Popular in Your Network” emails from Twitter without unsubscribing from all Twitter emails? Including those that give you relevant information about your account? Groupon has a similar issue where you will receive additional daily “Deals” emails related to national deals (often completely unrelated to your preferences). Don’t want them? You have to unsubscribe from all Reminders, including those that remind you to use a Groupon that’s about to expire. Not cool, guys.
6. Making subscribe forms complicated
Don’t do this to your users or to yourself. For the vast majority of companies using email marketing, you should not need more than a Name, Email and Birthdate (if you send birthday-related communications) from your user. If you have a good user database and a good email marketing team, there are plenty of ways to collect relevant, additional information. But as far as signing up to receive your newsletters and promos? That should be all you need. Not to mention making it complicated prevents potential customers from signing up for your list in the first place.
While I’m on the subject, only collect data you’ll use. If you’re not going to send emails to men versus women, for example, there’s no point in collecting a user’s gender. Don’t overdo it.
7. Newsletter Popups for Subscribers
This is a personal pet peeve of mine. Picture this: you’ve signed up for a really great newsletter chock-full of information you want to read. With each newsletter you find yourself opening multiple tabs to read the articles from within. And as you click through to each, there’s a pop up that blocks the content asking you to sign up for their newsletter. Where you just came from. This is a pretty easy fix, but a lot of companies aren’t bothering. So, please do. It’s seriously annoying.
8. Using a Do Not Reply or No Reply email address to send blasts
Emails to a consumer you want to acquire or keep as a loyal, brand-loving customer should never come from a do-not-reply or no-reply email address. This instantly tells users that not only are you not interested in anything they have to say, but even if they say it, you won’t bother listening. This is a simple and common way for users to offer valuable feedback and even praise. Who would want to miss out on that? Additionally, using these cold, unfeeling email addresses makes you more likely to hit SPAM filters and miss users asking to unsubscribe for your list, which can cause future legal issues.
9. Not testing your emails on the most common platforms
You’re doing yourself a disservice by not signing up for and setting up all of the freely available email platforms to test your email communications, especially if you have a large list. Your images might not show up on one service and your text might run off the screen on another. Always, always test your sends.
Here are the most common places to check: Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook (web and desktop app), Apple mail, Android mail, iPad mail. Don’t have the funds to purchase an iPhone, Android, or iPad to test on? Chances are pretty good you know someone (possibly even someone at your company) that has one, and, if you ask, they’ll test for you.