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Which of these 7 mistakes are you making in your email marketing?

I am sure you are a lot like me. Emails fly in; day in, day out. It feels that you are in constant battle with your inbox some days, doesn’t it?

Ever been tempted to “select all” and click “delete”? Huh … have you??

I know I have.

Emails are effective communication tools, but they can also strangle your productivity when you are trying to run your business as well your life.

So when you consider how most people feel about emails, why oh why do some businesses still think it’s OK to send out emails like this one?


This appeared in my inbox yesterday. Unsolicited, of course but being the marketing geek that I am, I was delighted to get it.

Not because I was interested in what they had to offer me, or that it provided perfect material for my swipe file. But that this email has given me a perfect case study to use to show you what NOT to do. The classic mistakes you may be making in your emails … right now.

Now I would hope that you wouldn’t be making ALL these mistakes. Cripes … if you did, you would probably be the type of business owner who is still blaming the Government for your lack of profits.

But I am pretty sure that you have made or will be making at least one of the gruesome marketing mishaps.

Here we go:

1. Subject Heading. The subject heading of your emails is the single most important part. Get it wrong and your carefully written email is gone with a single swipe of a finger across the screen of an iPhone.

Now that many people access their emails on the fly, it is too easy to delete, delete, delete so that when you finally do get in front of your PC you only have emails you want to deal with.

This particular business uses its business name in the subject heading, for goodness sake. Why oh why would anyone want to be introduced to XYZ Printing? Now you may not be using your business name but the most successful email subject heading to get you deleted is to use “Monthly Newsletter”. Blurgh … give your reader a compelling, exciting, secretive, curiosity reason for opening and reading more.

2. Personalisation. OK, so these guys may have the excuse of not knowing my name as they probably farmed my email address of some website. But the email address they farmed actually had my name in it!

Dear Sir/Madam doesn’t exactly have much warmth or sincerity to it, does it? If they wanted to be lazy, at least start the email with a simple “Hi” which would have been more in keeping to an email.

Personalisation works so make sure you use it in your emails. If you are using a reputable email marketing system such as aweber or mailchimp, then is it real easy to add the name merge code. And don’t just stick to the intro. Add their name once or twice in the copy and test using their name in your subject heading, from time to time.

3. First Line. If the subject heading grabs you to read more, then your first line in your email needs to pack a punch too. Too many people waffle on in the introductory paragraph but avoid this. Evoke curiosity. Give your reader a teaser of what is in store if they were to read on. Be controversial. Whatever emotion you are trying to evoke will depend on your objective of the email … but evoke an emotion fast or that finger will come a-swiping!

4. Blah blah content. You can’t duller than this email but it is a common problem that many people face. Your latest news about a new member of staff, a new product range or winning an award may get you all stoked up … but to your reader they will merely shake their heads with a look of “Bothered?” on their faces.

It is way too easy to write about your business thinking it’s interesting. The chances are it is not and you have to write your email content for your reader … not for you.

5. Making half-hearted claims. I loved this line “Advertising products are the most cost-effective way for any business to get its name where it matters most.” Honestly … “any business?” “matters most?” Who comes up with this stuff?

Yes, they are selling promotional gifts so of course they think their products are great. But just telling me is frankly lazy. Far better to use case studies or testimonials … third party stories … to get your points across.

Take a look at how you “telling” people how great you are. Can you change your copy and write about the results your clients get instead?

6. The biggest marketing mishap. No CALL TO ACTION! They finish this particular email off with a “please do not hesitate to contact us”. Well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble but being polite and oh-so British about it, is going to get you nowhere.

Make an offer. Give your reader a compelling reason to drop everything that are doing right there and then and take action. Whether it’s clicking a link to a sales page, calling your special phone number or simply replying to the email … you have got to ask them to take action on something that is going to stop them in their tracks.

Expecting your reader to come back to your email at another time is not going to work. Emails come and go … very quickly! As soon as yours arrives, another 10, 20 or even 50 come piling in to steal your readers attention. Don’t let yours get buried; ending up in that folder that gets the “select all” and “delete” treatment.

7. Finally … No P.S. Now I am not saying that every successful email has to have a PS – but they do work!

Adding a final nudge about your call to offer under your name is a great way of making sure your message is clear and understood. As some people often scroll down to the bottom to see who has actually sent them the email, this always ensures your call to action is clear even to those who don’t actually the main body.


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