Bad Behavior That Trips Up Email Marketing Campaigns

As a manager of email marketing campaigns, you like to think you get it right with your messaging—people are excited to receive the emails you create, right? Unfortunately, not everyone in charge of email marketing tools uses them correctly. It’s entirely possible you’re making one or more of the many common emailing mistakes known to more savvy marketers. We think the best way to help you remember (and avoid) these worst practices is to use memorable characters to explain them! For starters, don’t be like Jeremy Grey in Wedding Crashers and just show up uninvited. Rather than email people who never signed up for your messages, invest time in developing strategies that encourage recipients to opt in to your list. Try offering deals and rewards, which are often very effective.

Stacy in Wayne’s World is another poor role model, never quite getting the clue that her ex-boyfriend moved on. If a recipient wants to unsubscribe from your emails, don’t ignore the request or make up a story about how it’ll take a while to get off the list. Just take care of it.

Make sure when people want to unsubscribe, the process doesn’t bring about aggravating images of Vizzini from The Princess Bride. Forget long checklists and multiple windows. It should be a simple click to unsubscribe, that’s it.

If you’re showing up all the time like Bob in What About Bob?, you’re doing it wrong! Sending daily messages (unless completely justified) is an easy way to turn off your target audience. Make sure when you email people, you have a compelling reason.

No email marketer wants to be like Chief Clancy Wiggum of The Simpsons. That includes you! Don’t move so quickly that you leave a bunch of mistakes in your emails. Typos, factual errors and spelling problems are just a few things that annoy recipients. Always take the time to proofread and edit carefully.

Don’t make people wait for your messages to download because of large images and fancy graphics, either. If you do, you’re Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean. Keep emails simple and concise.

Make sure your email marketing software isn’t from the Stone Age. If you’re running an outdated platform, you’re Link from Encino Man. Emails should be optimized for mobile so people looking at messages on their phone can read them easily.

Another behavior to avoid is the old bait and switch. Don’t use provocative subject lines to trick people into reading your messages, let The Joker from The Dark Knight mess around with that. Avoid using overly exciting subject lines that don’t reflect what’s really in the body of your email.

Being aimless and unfocused like The Dude in The Big Lebowski can cause problems. After reading your email, recipients should have a clear understanding of the logical next step.

Be careful, too, that your messages don’t come across as insincere. Acting like you’re someone’s close friend when you’re not comes across as sleazy, like Ned from Groundhog Day.

And finally, make sure you use a consistent tone in subject lines and the content of your emails. Otherwise you’re acting like Frank Abagnale, Jr. of Catch Me If You Can. Be sincere and straightforward—people know you represent a business and you’re reaching out to a list. Don’t pretend otherwise.

We hope these tips make some of you squirm in your seat as you reflect on the email marketing tactics you’ve used thus far. From now on, be the good guy and follow the Golden Rule—communicate with people as you’d like other businesses to communicate with you!

New Immediate Autoresponder

ReachMail is pleased to announce an enhancement to the autoresponder tool – new immediate delivery. Now you can choose to have a message sent right away to subscriber as soon as they are added to your list.

Autoresponders allow you to send a timed, series of emails to new subscribers. You can set the exact time and frequency you want including send to them immediately when they are added. For example, you can send an email immediately upon signup, 3 hours later and once a week for a set number of weeks. Once you set up the autoresponder you’re done. You can use this feature to educate prospects about your product, build excitement and turn them into customers.

For details on setting up an Autoresponder in ReachMail check out our support documentation.

We’ve seen fantastic open rates with autoresponders. Why? Because you’re communicating right when they’re interested in your topic! They’ve searched for information, found your site and found it so engaging they gave you their email address.

So what are the key things you need to keep in mind when setting up an autoresponder?

  1. Decide the goal of the autoresponder. Remember it’s a series of emails – not just one and they all have to work together. Here are examples of excellent goals:
    • Build interest and excitement for your online product. Here you don’t try to sell your product on the first email. You introduce the product, build awareness and excitement and then finally make an incredible offer to convert them to a buyer.
    • Educate new prospects and buyers on how to use your product. You’ll drive increased customer satisfaction and engagement.
    • Identify your best prospects – with the series you can identify who responds and to which product area generates the highest enthusiasm.
  2. Figure out the schedule and role of each email before you write content for each one.
  3. Don’t assume your subscribers understand your product and your brand. You know the product inside and out – they don’t.

Once you set up an autoresponder – you can forget it – but DON’T. Here’s a checklist of what to do:

  • Check open and rates by each message.
  • Periodically actually look at your content. The worst thing you can do is mention out-of-date information including expired sales and no longer valid links
  • Experiment with dates and times – maybe a one hour delay makes more sense for your product.
  • Consider adding an additional autoresponder to increase engagement.

Already have an autoresponder in ReachMail? You can convert it to an immediate autoresponder if you’d like – simply visit Tools – Autoresponder – Edit.

You’ll also notice new enhancements to autoresponder reporting. For details check out our reports documentation.

Remember – free autoresponders are included with every ReachMail account.

Questions? Email or call us at 888-947-3224.

What Can You Do With Gmail’s Promotions Tab?

By now, you’ve probably heard about the recent change that Gmail has begun to roll out called the “Promotions” tab. If you’re blissfully unaware, Google is now filtering users’ emails and automatically filing what they deem to be marketing-related away from the primary inbox and into a separate tab. What does this change mean for email marketers? Well, so far, the impact has been relatively minor, with reports of a drop in open rate of around 1-2%. While this may not seem like a huge amount, it can still ultimately affect your bottom line, and with the rollout still not complete, we could see these numbers rise.

The good news is, there are some things you can do to counteract this new feature and improve the chances of your emails effectively reaching the primary inboxes of your target audience. Here’s how.

First and foremost, don’t make it obvious that your emails are promotional in nature. Instead, focus on crafting messages that have a more personal feel. You can accomplish by applying the following guidelines:

  • Address each recipient by name
  • Format your messages more like traditional letters
  • Keep your messages short and to the point
  • Avoid using too many images
  • Limit links to just one or two

Not only do these things make the reader feel like they are being addressed individually rather than receiving a mass sales pitch, but Google tends to view these types of messages the same way, which means they’re less likely to be flagged as “promotional.”

Next, focus on the actual content of your emails. The ultimate goal isn’t just to avoid being relegated to the “promotions” folder, but to actually get your recipients to open and read your messages. This isn’t going to happen unless they feel as though doing so will be worth their while. Make sure you’re delivering content that is useful and valuable to your target audience. The more engaged your recipients are, the less likely your messages will be rerouted to the circular file.

Of course, you can’t expect people to open your emails if you’re not drawing them in with captivating and compelling subject lines. Think of these as the wrapping on a gift. You want your subject lines to catch the eye of your target audience and entice them into wanting to open up and see what’s inside.

You also have to know what words and phrases tend to trigger Gmail’s auto-filtering feature. For instance, research has shown that using words like “free,” especially when in combination with other common words, like “trial,” “sample,” or “quote” in your subject line can significantly increase the likelihood of your email being flagged. Your best bet? Grab a thesaurus and find a really good synonym.

Another simple way you can help your emails avoid ending up in the promotions tab is to simply reach out and talk to your customers. Many still haven’t received the new feature and those who have may not even be aware of the change. Others may not realize they can control their email options. Start by educating your audience about the new feature and then provide specific instructions on how they can ensure that they continue to receive your messages. (Provided you’re doing your job of delivering quality content, this part shouldn’t be that challenging because your audience will actually want to keep reading your emails.)

Another way you can take much of the guesswork out of making sure your emails end up where you want them to is by working with an email marketing service provider – preferably one that knows how to leverage technology to maximize deliverability. This includes things like automatic white-listing, identity authentication, spam analysis and ongoing monitoring, all of which can dramatically improve the chances of your emails making the cut the first time, every time.

Finally, it’s important to point out that while these tips are effective, they’re not foolproof. There’s really no magical formula for “beating the system,” so to speak. For this reason, you’ll also want to take appropriate measures so that if your emails do end up in the promotions tab, your audience will go looking for them. Some tricks of the trade include creating more time-sensitive offers and using a numbered sequence in your emails (i.e. part 1 of 4, etc.). Play on your readers’ fear of missing out.

So, whether you’ve already begun experiencing the backlash of this latest Gmail feature, or you’re trying to plan ahead, it’s never too early to start developing a strategy to help lessen the impact this change will have on your bottom line. The tips and tricks listed above should help position you for ongoing success in your future email marketing endeavors.  Finally, you can experiment at no extra cost by signing up with free email marketing provider ReachMail where you can get a free account for life!