If you are sending emails out to your mailing list and not attracting the open rates or responses that you expect, you could be making one of the five common email marketing mistakes below. Don’t worry, I’ve got some advice to steer your future campaigns in the right direction.

1. Your emails are not targeted enough

When did you last review your audience and what makes them tick? Is your mailing list segmented to reflect the different sections of your audience or the different stages that they might be at in the client journey?

I think the biggest mistake most businesses make is sending out email marketing campaigns that are too generic.

Your first step to improving your open rates and responses should be to look at your mailing list and identify whether the list can be segmented. For example, you might want to send different content to existing or past clients compared to those who’ve never used your training services.

Alternatively, you might work with different sectors or people at different levels within their organisation. In each case, think about what content/message the different segments of your audience would find valuable and adapt what you send out to reflect their needs.

2. You’re sending emails too frequently or not often enough

The ideal frequency to send out marketing emails is a hotly debated topic. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic number because it will depend on your audience. That being said, 73% of people say that their main reason for opting out of a mailing list is receiving too many emails, so it is clearly important to strike the right balance.

My advice is to keep an eye on the all-important data in your email marketing software – one indicator that you’re sending out too many emails is a sharp decrease in open rates or a spike in unsubscribe rates.

3. You’re not using personalisation

Marketing is more and more focused on personalisation and how we can create tailored, individual experiences for potential clients.

Data from Experian shows that brands that use personalised subject lines experience 27% higher unique click rates and 11% higher click-to-open rates, and more than double the amount of revenue gained per email compared with non-personalised mailings.

It’s a good idea to personalise the emails you send out, even if it’s by addressing the recipient by name. Email marketing software has tools that enable you to integrate and automate personalisation.

4. There’s no value in reading them

If your presence doesn't add value, your absence won't make a difference. Quote by Zero Dean.

A key part of your email marketing strategy needs to be understanding who you are reaching and why you want to reach them.

What do you want people to do after reading your emails?

What is the benefit for them?

Our inboxes are all so crowded these days that people want to feel that you’ve contacted them with a purpose rather than for the sake of it. Before you send out an email, take a moment to ask what value it will have to your audience? If you don’t have anything to say right now, it might be better not to send an email out.

5. There’s no call to action

Every email you send out should have a clear call to action, whether that’s to make an enquiry, book an initial consultation about your services, download your free lead magnet or purchase a webinar from you.

The call to action should be clear and related to the content of your email. I think it’s better to have just one or two strong calls to action than multiple options because people may not respond if there’s too much choice.

A button that says ‘Make me a VIP’, ‘Book a training consultation’ or even ‘Read the full story here’ can be effective – in each case, the wording shows the benefits of clicking and should take people through to your website where you will be able to track their activity.

Bonus tip: Avoid email marketing mistakes by split testing!

Email marketing software (e.g. Mailchimp, EmailOctopus, Kajabi, Constant Contact, Drip, and many others) gives you the ability to split test your marketing emails. This means sending out different versions of your emails to test segments of your audience to see which works best.

You can use split testing to test things like the:

  • Email subject line
  • Best time/date to send
  • Headline
  • Pictures
  • Calls to action

Ideally, you should only change one element of the email from version A to version B so that you can measure the difference this one change makes to your open rates or clickthrough rates.

Successful email marketing is a process of trial and error and keeping an eye on the available data. Avoiding the common email marketing mistakes above should help set you on the right path, which you can refine and adapt to your audience moving forward.

Need more marketing advice? You can download my free report – Marketing strategies that work for today’s environment – straightaway for more easy-to-action hints and tips.

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