March 27, 2009
When sending out an eNewsletter, sometimes it’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t work. Often we have our own ideas of what we’d like to see, but is that what our target market wants to receive? Below is a great article on sending out eNewsletters and avoiding 5 mistakes that you might be making and aren’t aware of it.
5 Email Marketing Mistakes You Might Be Making and Not Know It
by Jeffrey D. Gray, Marketing Manager, iContact
Sending Too Often
A “problem” with email marketing can be that it is too easy to do. It is a very simple marketing channel. At any given time, you have your customers at your finger tips. With the click of a couple buttons, you can send messages to them for a quick sales push. Don’t let the simplicity tempt you.
Some businesses do not resist this urge and mail six to eight times per month, which is overkill (unless your business has different circumstances that require that many communications each month). A pretty set standard is one or two times per month, with the potential for a third email every other month or so. That seems to be a nice little sweet spot for most businesses.
Final thought: Use your best judgement on how often to send.
Too Much Going On and No Direction
Let us pretend that you walk into a stationary shop to get some monogrammed memo pads. You walk in and there are signs pointing every direction, salespeople asking you if you need help every three minutes, and piles of paper and sticky notes everywhere, but not in any particular order. If this were the case, you might know what it feels like for customers who get email marketing messages from businesses that don’t lay out the path for their readers.
Readers have to get to what they want with as little work as possible on their part. Most readers will scan your messages for things that they deem are important to them. If your newsletter contains a lot of distractions or roadblocks, it might seem like too much effort. If you give your newsletter a flow, it will be much easier to read.
Final Thought: Eliminate the maze by offering a table of contents gives readers a shortcut.
Too much text, Not Enough Images
Your newsletter should read more like Green Eggs and Ham and less like Webster’s Dictionary. What am I trying to say? Break up all the words with some images. Of course you’ll want to keep them relevant to the context of the newsletter. Images are pleasing to the eye; they break up the heavy text and can entice readers. An image is going to be the first thing the reader sees, if they’re interested in the picture, they will connect the image to the text.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that your images don’t need to overpower the flow or design of the newsletter. The images should be quite subtle and only enhance the readers’ experience. Your pictures don’t need to be large or very busy. Try to keep your imagery relatively calmed. Use images with white or limited backgrounds. You want the images to get the readers attention, not distract them while they’re trying to read.
No Call to Action
A call to action is a way for you and your readers to get more out of your newsletter. It might be information for them or a sale for you, either way make it powerful. You should always have a clear call to action in your newsletter. Whether that call to action is to “click for more information,” “Sign up for Free,” or “Buy Now and Save” you must include it. The reader should physically see a call to action button and also understand what the action is on the other end. Links are a thing of the past, buttons reign! Create a simple button that users can click that simply say “click here” or “more information” with a simple sentence above it explaining what they get after the click. The call to action is going to determine what you should do with your button.
“Our new book is available on amazon.com!”
Doing this, you’re actually guiding your readers in a direction that you would like them to take, not just hiding the action within the text. When they get to the button, then it’s their decision whether or not they wish to act. The good news is, it makes it easier for them to act.
Imagine your favorite television show is Seinfeld. Now imagine you turned on the TV and it was the one about the Marble Rye Bread that Jerry stole from an old woman on the sidewalk. The next day, you turn on Seinfeld, and it was the one about the Marble Rye Bread that Jerry stole from an old woman on the sidewalk. Then, the day after that, you tune into Seinfeld and it was the one about the Marble Rye Bread that Jerry stole from an old woman on the sidewalk. Eventually, you know what’s coming. Remember Pavlov’s dog?
That was a very long and repetitive paragraph to make a simple point: If every one of your emails is exactly the same as the one before, you’ll lose readership pretty quickly. This isn’t because your subscribers don’t love your business; it’s because they already know what your email is about. Mix up your email broadcast — send some important information, then send an email about a sale. Follow up with a personal email thanking them for their business or continued support. Keep your readers interested simply by keeping them on their toes.
If you need assistance with your eNewsletter/marketing campaign, I’d be happy to help! Contact me for more information at email@example.com.
You can also sign up for iContact for a 15 day free trial. Try iContact now!