Everyone has something to confess – including marketers. To put it mildly, some of their improper everyday techniques can really confuse their audience.
No wonder that unaware subscribers stopped believing in online marketing, treating emails as an unwanted spam. They drown in their inboxes full of pushy advertisements, which are coming literally out of nowhere. Unfortunately, the list of such bad practices is extensively long.
In this article you will find only a few, but the most common examples of online marketers biggest sins. It’s time to say “thanks for nothing” and cross them off from you everyday to-do list. Don’t let them hurt both your business and your subscribers anymore.
1. Wow, this list is so long, I should totally buy it!
No, you shouldn’t! This is probably the biggest and the most common mistake that beginner email marketers make. Unfair database providers tempt us with a vision of 10k subscribers gained in less than 3 minutes. However, is it really worth every single penny you spend on it?
The brutal truth is, you pay for useless data, letters with no meaning. In most of the cases those lists are stolen and they are full of the invalid addresses. Nothing good will come from sending emails to people, who don’t want to open your messages and don’t even know who you are. For your business’ sake, concentrate rather on creating a long-term relationship with the audience. In order to do this, you have to gain their trust – and building a long list of unknown names will not help you at all.
If you want to create a single promo campaign, the best solution is to ask a friendly website from the same branch if they could send your message to their database. If you buy a mailing list, you have absolutely no idea what the preferences of these people are. For example, cat owners won’t be interested even in the biggest sale ever, if the only product you want to sell is a dog chow. Buying a mailing list is a waste of money (are your rich enough to afford throwing your savings away?), time, and energy. A database is important, but what counts more is conversion – and a list which does not convert won’t being in an income for you. The GetResponse blog provides a lot of tricks how to create a high quality list without using unfair methods – check it!
2. “Unsubscribe”? What does that even mean?
It means that you take care of your subscribers. If you respect your audience – let them go. Preparing a misleading, blurred footer does not ensure that your recipients won’t find another way to runaway from your list. What’s more, hiding the unsubscribe option is against the CAN-SPAM Act.
Try to look at look at the bright of life – if the unsubscribe rate suddenly gets too high, it means that something wrong is going on with your emails. It is a great opportunity to conduct a detailed research and check if your content is good enough. And talking about research…
3. I’m the Excel master, so I don’t need analytics
Yeah, MS Excel is a great tool – if you’re an accountant. But can it also check the open and click rates of your messages?
Analytics is as much important of a part of marketers job as preparing high quality content. Thanks to regular research, you will be able to create mailings that people are eager to open. Sending 1,000,000 emails will not improve your business sales if only 0,5% of receivers would open your message and no one clics the link.
Most marketing platforms offer advanced analytics tools. Make good use of them – prepare A/B tests to find out, which elements of your messages are the most (or the least) attractive for your audience. Thanks to similar research you will also find out what’s the best time during the day to send an email. Not all of your subscribers live in the same time zone, do they? Even this piece of information can bring your ROI to the next level and demonstrate your market value. Measure everything you do – such a solution will help you optimize your efforts.
4. I’m not lying, I just try to keep subscribers engaged
Lies catch up with everyone. And the fact that you don’t lie to your clients faces, doesn’t change anything. Respect your audience and remember – they are not blind and eventually they will realize that your promises were just empty words. If your business goal is attracting loyal fans, writing the misleading information about your offers, with many strings attached, is the worst idea ever. Even a misleading subject is a lie (and also a crime conflicting with CAN-SPAM), not to mention false testimonials.
How many times did you feel excited when you saw an ad for a -90% sale? Then it turned out that you can get -90% if you are a member of their loyalty program for 15 years, buy 3 other specific products (which of course you don’t need), and the sale is available only between 3:00-3:15 am? Sounds disappointing, doesn’t it? Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. After a few instances like that, your subscribers will lose all their trust and mark your messages as spam. This will eventually ruin your business. Building trust takes years, but you can destroy it in few minutes. Be patient and 100% honest – if your service is good, it will eventually stand up for itself.
5. Hello, it is ME you’re looking for…
This is piece of advice will be mostly useful for the content marketers. Keep in mind that your subscribers are not waiting for an email from YOU. They are waiting for a message with your brand’s offer, so don’t be too self-centred. However, don’t write them only three times a year… when a great sale in your online store starts.
Help the audience get familiar with your brand. It’s similar to making friends in real life – write them from time to time, but also not to0 often (one a week or twice a month sounds great!) Ask them how they are doing and how are they feeling about your service – send them online surveys. Prepare little birthday surprises for them, just like their best buddies would do – maybe some unique promo code? Let them feel special – they are the one’s who matters.
6. Internet is the biggest ad billboard
Don’t pollute the web with more low quality advertising content. There’s too much trash there already 😉 At some point, email marketers tend to forget that marketing is not about advertising and selling, but rather building a strong relationships and creating a strong personal brand online. When you have your subscribers trust, the sales rates will improve. Besides, Google algorithms will find your bad content anyway.
Creating a strong brand online is a difficult and slow process. It takes time, so be patient and focused on your goal. The fact, that you created Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and 20 other social media accounts, does not mean your online job is done. Of course, everything depends on your business market, but creating a Facebook account just for (never updated) fan page’s sake is not a way to become successful. If you don’t respond to your followers tweets or update Snapchat stories, all of your profiles will die out quite fast. Quality is always before quantity – so remember to diversify you efforts, but be sure that you can handle all of your duties. Firstly, create content that will make your audience read with pleasure, and then make sure they will find it easily across the web.
7. Fancy shmancy automation
To tell you the truth, it’s possible to lead a successful campaign without Marketing Automation. Just don’t treat is as an unnecessary luxury, reserved only for big companies. Automation can make your efforts much easer and successful – so don’t underestimate its power! You can find a lot of myths and misconception about automation across the web, but don’t follow them blindly. Marketing Automation is a great tool, which will help you avoid many mistakes, not just typos or misspellings.
To make a long story short, automation can totally personalize your messages (and no, “hello,” is not a catchy welcome phrase!), support a social media campaign, and save you time and money. It’s an investment in the success of your business. On the other hand, don’t get too excited and don’t automate literally everything and then let it just be – it will lead you to another online marketing sin, which is not taking enough care of your mailings.
And it’s just the beginning!
Don’t let yourself fall into a trap full of trashy emails. Online marketing is a great tool, but unfortunately, practicing unfair techniques as those mentioned above, make too many subscribers underestimate email. Put into unaware hands, your messages can turn into a subscribers (and other, honest marketers’!) hell. Don’t mislead marketing projects with weak, advertising activities. Not testing messages before sending, attaching too many images, or focusing on products over subscribers needs. It’s our job to ruin all those urban legends about how spammy email marketing messages are.
Can you think of any other unforgivable online marketers sins? Which one do you think is the worst? We can’t wait to read your comments!