Have you ever wondered why your email marketing strategies are not working? As a small business owner or entrepreneur, it is important to avoid making a common mistake in your email marketing strategy that could cost you, subscribers, lower the consumer opinion of your brand, or creating a major marketing faux pas such as lacking consistency in email delivery which impacts CTR, Open Rate and other key metrics. Learning about the 7 common mistakes that small or mid-sized businesses make in their email marketing strategies will help you avoid those brand-busting errors in email campaigns.
7 Common Mistakes Small Businesses Make in Email Marketing
1. Not Welcome New Subscribers to your Email List and Making Them Feel Special
As a digital consumer in today’s world, signing up to receive emails from a business or brand is a serious deal. Sure consumers know they can always unsubscribe, but it’s still a semi-commitment to get content via email from a company even if it is just the following day. One of the simplest mistakes that small businesses make is not creating and setting auto-email welcoming new subscribers to their list.
Think about it; that new subscriber had to likely bounce around the internet or a search results page, find a page of your website, see something that made them see value in exchanging their email to obtain, and fill out one or more forms to sign up for emails from you. They put in the effort to become a new subscriber, shouldn’t you at least take a moment to welcome them?
2. Not Making Email Subscribers Feel Special or not Providing Ongoing Special Offers
Many small businesses place all their focus on growing their email list and getting those subscribers to open their emails. However, if you really want to create a loyal email subscriber, you can launch what marketers call a “surprise and delight” strategy for new subscribers or existing subscribers that make a purchase. This type of strategy offers an exciting surprise that will help turn a casual email subscriber into a repeat customer and a potential brand advocate that will attract others to your company’s offerings and your email list. Reward them with an exclusive offer, a discount code or an add-on item to their next order if you want to truly “surprise and delight” your new subscriber.
3. Using a Call-To-Action (CTA) to Subscribe to your Email List with No Value Proposition or Forgetting it Completely
Many business owners or entrepreneurs forget how inundated today’s digital consumer is with call-to-action buttons asking them to sign up for something, buy something, or do something. This dilutes the chance they will take the step that your call-to-action button is encouraging them to take. Therefore, businesses need to include something of value, called a value proposition, that gives a tangible reward to that site visitor, even if it is something as simple as the reward of gaining information.
A similar common mistake regarding CTA’s is forgetting to include a CTA button altogether. This mistake speaks for itself and, while it may seem like such a simple task, you would be surprised at how many companies and brands make the mistake of leaving out the call-to-action (CTA) button within their email content. A simple hyperlink directing subscribers to click will no longer cut it, as it likely even won’t catch the reader’s eye.
4. Not Optimizing Emails for All Mobile Views and Closely Reviewing It Before Sending
Mobile optimization is essential in today’s world of email marketing. No matter who is conducting the research, the average number of emails opened on mobile devices hovers around 50%. That’s a chunk of your audience you can’t afford to alienate with a non-mobile version of your emails.
Fortunately, most email marketing platforms already auto-format your email for mobile optimization as well as provide you a separate preview of how your email content will appear when opened on mobile. You should also not make the common mistake of only reviewing and editing the initial view that the email platform provides as a preview.
5. Using a Subject Line that is Boring, Too Pushy/Sales-y, or Irrelevant to your Audience
While you can’t make sure a large percentage of an email list will open your email, you can guarantee that a large percentage of that list will NOT open that same email if you send it out with a boring subject line. According to the email marketing leadership at Constant Contact, a subject line should promote information of interest in a manner that showcases how digestible or beneficial the article will be.
For example, a women’s boutique that sells high-end beauty products could send out an email announcing its new skin line of products with a boring subject line such as, “Check Out Our New Spring Beauty Products!” This sales overly-promotional by starting with the term “check out,” and it has no sense of timeliness or value for the recipient to open it, leaving it to likely get pushed down in their inbox as more emails come through.
That same beauty boutique could send out an email campaign with the same exact email and change the subject line to something along the lines of, “Take 10 Years Off Your Age by Summer with Our New Unbelievable Spring Beauty Products.” This type of subject line offers a direct value proposition to encourage a high open-rate. That company could also use an offer-based subject line such as, “This Week Only! 15% Discount on Our Unbelievable New Spring Beauty Products! This “added value” style of the subject line creates a sense of urgency and offers something to the recipients.
The biggest takeaway here is to not make the mistake of using a boring, generic, overly-promotional, or irrelevant subject line. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your subject lines and give the users a reason to open your email.
6. Not Utilizing the Power of A/B Testing
When you are running an email marketing campaign, one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business owner or entrepreneur is to forgo A/B testing as part of your strategy. Simply put, A/B testing is the process of sending out an email campaign with certain variations to improve open rates, clicks or conversions.
Some of the thing you might consider A/B testing with your audience can include:
- Subject lines
- Number of calls-to-action
- Value propositions and offers (ex: “BOGO” vs. “15% Off Discount Code” vs. “Free Shipping Today Only!”)
- Email design and layout
- Whether or not to use personal element such as a name or inquiry as to how they liked their last purchase of a specific item
- Closing text
7. No Tracking or Monitoring of Analytics Data
One of the most common mistakes the small to mid-sized businesses make in their email marketing is not doing thorough monitoring and tracking of the analytics and specific data related to each email sent as well as their overall email campaign analytics. Any business using email campaigns as part of their marketing strategy needs to be utilizing analytics. These days, most email platforms such as Constant Contact and Mail Chimp, provide highly-graphic, easy-to-understand, trackable analytics and email metrics.
Monitoring email analytics will help you and your marketing team to curate your ongoing email strategy to provide more of what is working well. It will also help you spot potential pain points for recipients of your email campaign so that they can be altered before you lose subscribers because of that issue.
Conclusion: Be a Pro at Email Marketing and Grow your Business
As covered above, email marketing is a long-term strategy that requires consistency in email delivery, a commitment to high-quality content and an ongoing push to be creative with your email’s varying elements. Putting in the effort to have a high-quality email campaign that subscribers enjoy seeing in their inbox will grow your revenue streams and increase your brand’s reputation a powerful degree.