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How to solve common email problems

Introduction

Email marketing can be one of the most effective ways to reach out to your customers and build interest in the goods and services that your company offers, thereby generating higher sales and building a loyal customer base. Unfortunately, if done poorly email marketing can have the opposite effect. It is likely that you are exceptionally eager to start generating interest and growing your business through your email marketing campaign. If you are too zealous in developing your campaign you may end up sending out emails that are poorly written and inappropriately worded. You may even start sending out emails to customers that have not signed up to receive your emails or are no longer interested in your company. This can actually alienate your potential customers and push away your current customers. Even more serious than this your company could end up being blacklisted. Being characterized as spam will keep your messages out of your customers’ inboxes and could even result in your company being fined or otherwise penalized.

By understanding some of the most common problems in email marketing you can improve your marketing efforts and develop email campaigns that are effective and generate a high conversion rate.

Problem 1: Costs of the Campaign Aren’t Justified by the Results

As with any other element of marketing for your company it is important that you closely evaluate the costs of your email marketing campaign. It may seem as though email marketing does not incur costs, but you must consider the costs associated with the development of the email copy, generating lists of leads, sending the emails and evaluating the results. One of the biggest problems that rookie email marketers experience is results that are not commensurate with the financial and labor costs of the campaign. Some tips for improving results while also lowering costs include:

1. Trim your lists of leads down so that each email campaign is sent out only to those that have shown the greatest interest in those particular goods or services. This will target the leads that are most likely to convert, thereby generating income as you reduce costs associated with wider mailing lists.

2. Chance the approach of your copy. If you are currently relying on email copy that is hard-sell, change your approach to soft-sell copy, and the reverse. Evaluate how the results adapt according to the changes in your copy.

3. Increase the customer engagement of the copy. Make the copy more social and approachable and evaluate how the results change accordingly.

Problem 2: Lack of Permission

Spam is not minor. Not having permission to send email marketing campaigns to certain recipients not only reduces your integrity and can harm your online reputation, it can get your company into trouble. It is absolutely critical that you have express permission from your leads to send marketing materials. Generally this means that the lead has requested to be a part of your marketing campaigns. Before you have done anything else in the development of your email campaign, you should focus on the collecting of permission from your targeted leads. Getting permission means that your recipients won’t submit spam complaints, your legal liability will be decreased and your campaign will have improved conversion rates, which are the most important part of any email campaign.

Problem 3: Unresponsive Recipients

When a large percentage of your leads are unresponsive even after providing you permission to include them in your email marketing campaign, it is essential that you reevaluate your campaign materials and redesign them in order to generate greater interest. It can be highly effective to seek feedback and suggestions from these leads by sending a very simple email that asks for feedback. Take any responses that you get seriously and implement modifications to your copy that will make it more appealing to a wider customer scope. You can also change your website to attract more interest for your email list from leads that are more targeted for your marketing goals.

Problem 4: Blending Email Marketing with Transaction Emailing

There is a major difference between emails that are sent from your company for the purpose of completing a transaction and those that are devised specifically for marketing purposes. Customers that have made purchases from your website will expect certain transactional emails during the course of the transaction. These can include purchase confirmations, receipts, confirmation of shipping and potentially one follow-up for feedback. These emails, however, do not give you permission to include this customer in your email marketing campaigns. Just because a customer made a purchase does not mean that you can now start sending promotional emails, coupons or regular newsletters to that customer. These are marketing emails and require permission. By automatically including a customer in your marketing campaigns you are not only risking getting reported to the FTC for spam violations, you could aggravate your customers and lose potential repeat business.

Problem 5: You are Not Getting Enough Sales

The end goal of email marketing is not building lists of interested leads. Your goal is to achieve sales that will generate income. If you notice that your sales are not increasing despite a more aggressive email marketing campaign you may be missing key opportunities to direct your customers toward more purchases. These calls-to-action can be integrated in a variety of other communications such as adding promotional links to normal service emails or offering a one-time additional coupon code on confirmations or thank you pages. It is important to take every opportunity that presents itself to you to generate greater interest in your company without smothering your customers. Subtle calls-to-action are often much more impactful and effective than those that are perceived as annoying or aggressive to your customers. Unsatisfying sales rates are also a great opportunity for you to reevaluate your permission-gathering activities. A customer that has made one purchase is a prime lead for a repeat customer. Give this consumer the opportunity to opt in to your email newsletter or to receive special promotional materials. Simply being reminded of your existence through the occasional email can encourage customers to return to your company for future purchases.

Problem 6: Insufficient Planning

Many rookie email marketers fall into the trap of feeling as though they are losing time and need to get their email marketing campaigns out as soon as possible. This results in them rushing through the development of their campaign and their copy. Rather than taking the time to design effective visuals and develop impactful, persuasive content, they throw together their emails and ignore the most important element of convincing recipients to open the email: the subject line. These marketers will then gather up all of the email contact that they can find, whether they have opted in or not or are even relevant to the campaign or not. This results in unprofessional, ineffective emails showing up in the inboxes of people who have no idea who the company is or why they are receiving the emails. In up to 30 percent of these recipients the first reaction will be to report the email as being spam. Rather than finding yourself blacklisted, take the time to plan out your campaign. Slowing down and generating copy that is polished, properly coded and sent to the right recipients will get you the results that you desire without the negative backlash.

When reviewing your emails to ensure that they are the best shape to be sent out consider:

1. Is the color scheme appealing or is the copy unpleasant to look at due to clashing colors or contrast that makes it difficult to read the text?

2. Is the subject line compelling to someone who is just reading through their inbox? Would this subject line inspire leads to open the email or just send it to the trash folder?

3. Is the content well-written and effective? Your email copy should be brief and organized in such a way that a reader who is in a hurry can scan through it quickly while still getting the important message behind the email. This content should be developed around specific keywords and concepts, but not in a cluttered or “keyword stuffed” manner. Ideally, your customers will not be able to pull out the keywords but the link to your particular goods and services will be obvious.

4. Are the links visible and do they work? It is important that your leads notice the links that have been placed in the email and that when they click on these links that they are actually directed where they expect to be directed.

5. Is the email valuable to your customers? Does it contain information that is not just a push for sales?

Problem 7: Difficulty Building an Email List

While a strong base of loyal customers is important to success in your business, if you aspire toward growth you will need to continuously build your email list. If your list is not building as quickly as you would like, try implementing the following strategies:

1. Include mentions of your email newsletter or email promotions in other marketing campaigns such as print, television, radio or web ad spots.

2. Network with other companies that are relevant to your products or services and create a cooperative marketing campaign in which each company provides referrals and recommendations for the other companies. Consider running special cooperative promotions or giveaways.

3. Ask for referrals from your active recipients. Offer a special discount or other incentive for recommendations that turn into genuine leads

Problem 8: Purchasing Contact Lists

This is a concept that is confusing to many rookie email marketers who believe that anything they can do to save time and effort will allow them to focus more on other elements of their campaign such as developing content. It is absolutely vital for any company wanting to develop an effective email campaign that they never purchase a contact list of any kind. Even if the list is claimed to be populated with only “opt in” recipients, there is no way for any person on that list to have opted in to every company to which the list is sold. This means that even if those people opted in to receiving emails from “related” companies or “partners” of another company, they did not actually opt in to your email newsletters. This means that you are spending money on a list of recipients who may actually have no interest in your products or services. Though it takes longer, it is a much wiser decision to build your own contact lists of recipients that are genuinely interested in receiving your marketing communication.

Problem 9: Blasting Emails

Nothing makes customers feel more like a number than receiving an email that is designed to look like it is personalized only to see that it has been sent to hundreds of people. While the core of email marketing is copy that is designed to be sent to your entire contact list, you should put effort into sending some genuinely personalized messages occasionally. Letting your customers know that you acknowledge them as individual customers will help to build loyalty and generate greater interest. This is also the only exception to the rule of sending email only to those that give you explicit permission. Should you gather referrals from your current subscribers, send individual emails to each recommended contact. These personalized emails should not only reference the referral by name, but it should mention the person that recommended him and what about your company may interest that person. This should be your only unsolicited email to these contacts. Provide clear links to your company site, blog and product pages as well as an opt-in link that will allow the recommended contact to subscribe to the email newsletter. Only after you have gained this permission should you include the referral in your email marketing campaigns.

Solving the common problems of email marketing can help you to bring your marketing efforts to a greater level of success. Take the time to carefully evaluate each of your campaigns to ensure you are making the wisest, and most ethical, decisions regarding your content, your presentation and your contact lists.

 

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