5 Email Missteps Every Online Marketer MUST Know
Email is by far one of the best digital marketing solutions to have in your toolbox. However, with this approach there is plenty of room for error amid an industry rife with regulations; delivery, filtering and other technology concerns and a glut of ever-evolving best practices. While email marketing is definitely not rocket science, there IS a certain degree of skill and artistry involved in crafting a winning email campaign. Proceed with abandon and it’s likely you’ll end up wasting time and money on failed email campaigns.
Email campaign failure can happen for a multitude of reasons, and the 5 missteps listed below are among the most common and easily avoidable offenses that every online marketer should take proactive measures to avoid.
1. Boring the Audience
There are a ton of ways online marketers can bore their audience, from lackluster subject lines to verbiage-laden text only emails, to emails that only talk about the company and provide nothing of tangible or even perceived value—the all-important “what’s in it for me” factor. While email can feel one-sided, it is really intended to be a conversation—the start of one. Savvy marketers understand this. For a better success rate, provide an enticing offer and certainly an eye-catching subject line to encourage positive open rates. Design colorful and well-branded graphics to appeal to our world’s love of visual content. Provide valuable resources, articles, offers and calls to action that truly give something to your email audience. Ultimately, think about how you can provide value to those on your email list.
2. Annoying the Audience
You know the feeling when you get interrupted by a little fly buzzing around your head, and then again 30 seconds later, and then yet again 30 seconds after that? Don’t be the little fly pestering people too frequently. Of course, finding the “sweet spot” for the timing tolerance of each audience takes a little experimenting, observation and an understanding of the industry in which they operate. Your audience will love hearing from you if you are providing value in a way that gives them room to breathe—to consider your office and how it fits into their own needs and objectives. Understanding the “pulse” of an industry and the standards by which they operate is a great starting point to determine a suitable frequency and timing of emails. When you find the sweet spot, you’ll know it and your audience will respond to your campaigns in kind.
3. Confusing the Audience
All too often online marketers try to cram too many messages into one email, trying to accomplish or convey too many things at once. There should always be one clear call to action and any messaging or imagery, and links should always direct the customer to a landing page where they can act upon that main call to action. When an email campaign vehicle is cluttered with multiple messages—to purchase one thing, call for a free consultation, follow the brand and more—the recipient can be distracted from the main reason for the email. Stick to one primary message around which all else is focused and be sure to tell your potential customer what you want them to do next. Don’t cause them to wander aimlessly around your website or landing page.
4. Bombarding the Audience
Marketers get excited when they’re embarking upon an email marketing campaign. It’s where the rubber meets the road. . As touched on above, they often try to throw everything they've got at their audience in the form of too much written copy and too many design features such as star bursts or complicated shapes. While you can include all of these bells and whistles from a technical standpoint, it’s simply not necessary or even beneficial to do so. The best email campaigns are those that keep the design interface and messaging simple. That means clearly written and formatted content as well as clean, fresh graphics and design. Keep in mind that even the best email marketing vehicle won’t convey your message as effectively as a well-conceived and executed website. This is why the email campaign should compel the recipient to head in that direction and facilitate in an intuitive, efficient and streamlined fashion.
5. Missing the Audience
At a high level Email marketing seems simple enough but, when you dig into all of your options with data filters in particular to specifically target certain audiences, it becomes clear just how complex the endeavor really is. Today, online marketers have countless list segmentation options but, sadly, they often choose poorly when it comes to filtering their email list. There are many mission-critical segmentation options to consider like geographic, socioeconomic and demographic filters that allow the user to refine a list. For example, a localized Mercedes dealership would target potential customers who live within a certain zip or area code radius of their location, have certain interests and make enough in salary to afford a high end vehicle. In this way, online marketers can use list segmentation filters to target an audience with a high likelihood of being receptive to your message.
While nothing in the advertising and marketing realm with notable upside comes without risk and there are definitely ways to waste money and ruin opportunities with email marketing, there are even more ways to increase site traffic, lead generation and revenue among other goals. The key is to invest the time up front to design an effective email campaign, which starts by heeding the blunders detailed above . For extra assurance, digital marketers often enlist the help of field experts and outside voices who can consult on the preparation process and catch errors that may have otherwise been missed. When executed properly, email marketing can grow a business in a very strategic and calculated manner, not just delivering a good return on investment for a single campaign but also ultimately growing your business over the long-term.
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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