When it comes to email marketing, if you do it right, you’ll experience great success, you’ll create strong relationships, build a loyal and responsive list, gain more visibility, and attract more new opportunities. Plus, you’ll see an increase in sales conversions.
But if you decide to use some of the email marketing worst practices — those frowned upon by savvy business owners, consumers, internet service providers, email marketing service providers, and the government — you might as well not even bother. It’ll do you more harm than good.
11 Worst email marketing practices to avoid:
1. Not Using a Reputable Service Provider
Do not use your personal email software — i.e. Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, MacMail, etc. — to send your email marketing message to your list. Not only is it against the law because there isn’t an automatic unsubscribe option, but it is also unprofessional. This makes you look cheap, inexperienced, and amateur. It also shows readers you don’t have their best interests at heart and don’t care about them like you should.
2. Buying Email Lists
Never buy an email list — even if they say the list is a double opt-in email list. The people on those lists don’t know you, they don’t know your business, they don’t know why you would be contacting them. This tactic is guaranteed to result in a lot of spam complaints, angry consumers, and damage to your brand. More and more people are calling spammers out publicly on social media sites — and you don’t want this to be you.
3.Sending Email Without Permission
Never add another person to your list, sign them up, or subscribe them with out their express permission. If you do, you’re sending spam. Adding people you meet at a networking event to your list and calling it follow up is a joke (and it is so lazy). Just don’t do it period.
4. Breaking The Law
There are very strict spam laws in place and they are easy to break. Make sure you are familiar with the law, that you only send email after receiving permission, and that your emails are in compliance. Using a reputable email marketing provider will make a big difference as they often automatically add the required elements to your message, like a physical mailing address and unsubscribe link.
5. Hiding The Unsubscribe Link
Subscribers will despise you for making it hard to unsubscribe and they will instead simply mark your email as spam. Don’t think for one second that hiding the unsubscribe link will help you retain subscribers. Why would you want people on your list who don’t want to hear from you, ignore you, and don’t open or read your emails? That just causes list bloat, inaccurate figures, and angry consumers.
6. No Automatic Unsubscribe
No matter what you hear, never ask your readers to email you to unsubscribe. This tactic makes consumers uncomfortable and regretful that they ever signed up in the first place. Plus, it makes it blatantly obvious that you don’t really know what you’re doing, you’re not very professional, and you’re cheap because you’re clearly not using a reputable provider. This is sending the message that you either don’t care or you’re not very successful and can’t afford professional email marketing services. You must make unsubscribing easy.
7. Using A Bait And Switch Opt-In
Don’t sneak your ezine in after the fact and trick new subscribers. Consumers hate those tactics. If you’re offering an ethical bribe or free offer to make opting-in for your list irresistible, and subscribers will also receive your email newsletter, tell them so up front. Set clear expectations from the start so they’re no surprised and blindsided when your email starts showing up in their inbox.
8. Alienating Readers
Don’t go crazy with your email. Emailing constant sales pitches, emailing too often, or emailing readers about things they aren’t interested in and didn’t sign up to hear about will alienate your readers. Be careful with too many affiliate promotions and too many joint venture teleseminar series solo blasts. You don’t want to alienate your list before you have a chance to provide great value.
9. Burning Out Your List
With every list, there is some list churn to be expected. That means you should expect a certain amount of your list to churn/change each year with people unsubscribing and new people subscribing. But if you’re experiencing a high volume of list churn and struggling to retain email subscribers, you’ll want to take a closer look at your actions. Too many emails, emails sent too often, or too many sales emails can cause list burnout.
10. Wasting Readers’ Time
Always make sure your readers feel like it was worth their time and energy to open and read your email. Always provide valuable, helpful, relevant information and well-done, high-quality content. Don’t waste their time with something half-baked, thrown together, poorly written, and ill-planned. And remember to remind them why they subscribed in the first place.
11. Skipping the Test
Never skip the opportunity to test your email marketing messages. All reputable providers give you the chance to send tests before you send the final so you can catch any errors, broken links, and typos etc. Don’t skip proofreading and testing your email — it almost never ends well.
Here’s the “Best Practices” bottom line:
If it’s on this list of email marketing worst practices don’t do it. It’s not worth the potential backlash — not just from your readers, but from the big guys — the internet service providers and email marketing service provider who could shut you down.
What about you? When you first got started with email marketing did you make any of these mistakes? I know I did! If so, what made you take action and change it up? Have you been victim to any of these worst practices?
We would love to hear from you in the comments below
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