“You’ve got mail!” Who remembers the iconic AOL sound bite from the 90s? Email has become an inescapable part of our daily lives, and for business owners, can be an effective marketing tool. However, there are a few pitfalls to avoid when sending out your message to the masses. In today’s post, we’ll go over some email marketing dos and don’ts, and how to avoid the don’ts!

3-2-1-Blastoff! In order to build an effective email marketing campaign with a high click-through rate, don’t blast the same email to your entire list. Instead, segment your list. This can be done in a number of ways, including (but not limited to) age, gender, geography, industry segment, etc. We’ll dive further into list segmentation in an upcoming post, but this should give you a start. If not, we’re available to help!

The Importance of Consent.When designing our landing page or email sign-up form, subscribers need to be clear that they are opting-in to receive email from you. This means that they are granting you access to their email inboxes. Remember to use this power wisely. Don’t inundate them with email messages multiple times per week, and make the unsubscribe process clear, easy, and unambiguous.

Testing, Testing 1-2-3. Before you send your email message out to the masses, remember to test it! Send your message to friends and family, who can then tell you how the message appears in their email client and in their browser. Some mail clients offer testing within their email program, but if yours doesn’t, there are free tools like Litmus.

It’s As Easy As A-B-C. When segmenting your email list, there’s an easy way to test your copy on your audience. It’s called A/B testing, and the premise behind it is that you send out two versions of your email with slight differences in the design, colors, text, etc. Once it goes out, track which version of your copy gets more click-throughs, opens, and shares.

Avoid Snake-Oil Salesmen. You’ve probably seen the sketchy ads promising “1,000 names and email addresses for only $19.99!” While this may seem like a great deal, don’t give in to the temptation. Most of the time, these lists are woefully out of date, and many email service providers prohibit sending messages to purchased lists.

SPAM: More Than Just Canned Meat. While most email marketing providers ensure that they comply with the CAN-SPAM act, spam filters are always evolving. In order to make sure you don’t get caught in the net (and that your email makes it to your contact’s inbox), follow these guidelines:

  • Proper Punctuation. Avoid the overuse of quotation marks, exclamation points, and “urgent” phrases such as” free” or “ACT NOW!!”
  • A Fool & His Money. Don’t use phrases like “money-back guarantee” or “guaranteed savings.”
  • A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words. Ensure that there’s a balance between your images and text, and make sure that your email isn’t one giant image. Some email providers still block the automatic download of images, so part of your message may be lost if it’s too picture-heavy.

Playing the Numbers Game. After you’ve hit send and gotten all of the results back, take a look at the numbers! All of the major email marketing service providers offer reporting functions, which are essential to tracking your marketing efforts. How was your click-through rate? Which version of your copy did better? A or B? How many people clicked on the links in your email? How many bounces and/or unsubscribes were there? These are all questions that need to be asked and answered in order to determine your email marketing ROI.

Have your own email marketing gaffes to share? Let us know in the comments!

GTECH Designs is a Baltimore-based web marketing firm that is committed to helping impact-makers spend more time doing good. For more information, contact us at 410-775-4011, email us at [email protected], or visit our website at www.gtechdesigns.com.

About The Author

Bola Olonisakin

Bola Olonisakin

Bola is the founder and principal at GTECH Designs, a digital creative agency that helps small and mid-sized businesses launch, grow and succeed. Her research and work in web design, social media and strategic communication have been published in numerous books and articles, and she’s regularly seen on stage at events around the country. She’s responsible for teaching GTECH clients how to blend strategic goal-setting with great design to create effective online marketing strategies. You can reach her at [email protected]