Eight steps to stop sabotaging your email marketing efforts

Eight steps to stop sabotaging your email marketing efforts

Over the past week, much airtime has been given over to radio discussions about the correct etiquette for wishing people Happy New Year – when is the latest you can politely do so, etc.

Here at Encore Communications, we’re firm believers that any time you see someone for the first time during January is fair game and, in that spirit, we’re going to talk about New Year marketing resolutions in this, our first blog of 2018.

Many businesses will have vowed to get their marketing house in order during 2018 including, in many cases, organising or updating their current enewsletter schedules.

Since our office re-opened on 3 January, we’ve received a flurry of email marketing and newsletter updates from different companies and individuals so thought we’d share some learnings from these so you don’t make the same mistakes!

 

  1. Make sure you de-dupe your email lists

We all gather data for our mailing list from a variety of sources, be they contacts met at networking events, current or previous customers, suppliers or so on. As a result, it’s highly likely that some contacts will appear on your database more than once. Make sure you ‘dedupe’ (de duplicate) your lists regularly to avoid spamming those contacts. During the first week of January, one member of our team received the same promotional email ten times over two days. Not the best first impression!

 

  1. Research your recipients before sending

As mentioned in point one above, we all get our data from a variety of sources but is that data up to date and do you understand what that person or company actually does? During the past week, we’ve received emails from marketing companies telling us they can tell us how to do our own marketing / PR and bulletins from journalists turned comms professionals we’ve never heard of extolling the virtues of not spamming press contacts.

 

  1. Check the name fields after a mailmerge

Most of us use an email programme such as Mailchimp to run our emarketing campaigns but always check the mailmerge before you hit send. We’ve received emails saying ‘Dear [name]’ and ‘Dear [blank]’ several times already this month. Not the most professional. If people have signed up to your list via an information form and haven’t given their full name, you need an alternative salutation that can be used in such cases, otherwise it just looks odd!

 

  1. Proof read your ebulletin / communication before hitting send

We know time is tight, and by mentioning this we’re almost certain to have some typos in this blog. Seriously though, if you’re pitching for business – particularly as communications experts – sloppy spelling, punctuation or grammar is never going to help your cause (or convince people you can be trusted to look after their brand).

 

  1. Be sure you have something interesting to say

Are you contacting your database because you have something genuinely interesting to say or because your ‘to do’ list says: Write monthly ebulletin? If the latter, stop and think. Yes, regular communication is valuable but we’re all inundated with emails and even the ones from people we’re interested in don’t always get read. Send too many without relevant content and even those who are potentially interested in your work are going to unsubscribe.

 

  1. Make sure your links work

Much like point 4 above, this is important. We’ve received a number of emails over the past two weeks that clearly are meant to link to external content but the hyperlinks either don’t show at all or direct you to the wrong website page. Tracking clicks can be an invaluable way of monitoring who is engaging with your marketing. If they don’t work, you can’t do this and even people who are interested in finding out more won’t spend time chasing down information from broken links.

 

  1. Know your audience

In a world of Artificial Intelligence, more and more digital communications are being automated. Keeping the human element and bringing personality to your communications is still important – after all people do business with people – but do keep half an eye on whether or not that tone is appropriate. One email we received, aimed at ‘entrepreneurs’ suggested that anyone serious about business would be working through the Christmas holidays. Well, at Encore, we’re serious about business, but Christmas is also the only chance we have to take a proper break. You might think you’re appealing to the hard work ethic by making ‘jokes’ about keeping your nose to the grindstone but are you actually getting your readers’ backs up instead?

 

  1. Know where your data has come from

Finally, are you sure you have permission to send electronic marketing materials to everyone on your database? We’re seeing increasing volumes of ebulletins coming through from people or organisations we’ve never met and certainly haven’t signed up to receive. Do you ‘scrape’ your linkedin contacts and add them all to your database? Stop! It’s bad practice (particularly where people have specifically advised on their profiles that they are not happy to be contacted in this way) and could very well see you fall foul of the new data privacy laws – GDPR – that come into force in May. Yes, GDPR is a headache for many companies but it’s also a great motivator to get your house in order.

 

Email marketing and ebulletins are a great way to keep in touch with key contacts but it’s also a risky affair. Get these eight steps right and you’ll be half way towards successfully using email marketing and ebulletins to build your network. Don’t sabotage all your hard work! #unsubscribe

For advice on running successful email marketing campaigns, contact us for further information.

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