5 COMMON B2B EMAIL MISTAKES
There’s no better, faster or cheaper way to communicate with your customers than by using permission-based email marketing. Email marketing is measurable and delivers immediate results. With dramatically higher response rates than direct mail and banner ads, email marketing can complement and enhance every other marketing activity that a business engages in, particularly demand and lead generation programs that help drive sales.
It’s important to use permission-based email marketing correctly and avoid the pitfalls that often lead to prospects opting-out of receiving your emails. Here are some common email mistakes, and some tips on how to avoid them:
EMAILING TOO FREQUENTLY
Emailing too frequently is a common mistake. But, how often is too often and how often is not often enough? Your audience knows best how frequently they want to hear from you and they’ll let you know by simply unsubscribing. Finding the right frequency is going to vary by industry and by audience, but here are some guidelines you can safely follow:
Emailing every other month is not often enough. People will forget about you and the surprise of an email from you will likely result in an unsubscribe. By contrast, emailing once a week is too often, especially if your emails are strictly promotional. If you email too much, recipients will get annoyed and unsubscribe even if they like your content.
The best way to determine the right frequency for your audience is simply to ask them. Consider surveying your email recipients to determine a perfect frequency and test it. Plus, ask those who unsubscribe for their reason — they’ll probably tell you.
DISTRIBUTING A NEWSLETTER THAT’S NOTHING MORE THAN A DISGUISED PROMOTION
An email newsletter is defined by valuable content. This is what subscribers will expect. They do not want product offers without context or an ad turning up in their inboxes. This type of promotion disguised as a newsletter will quickly find its way to the trash. Here’s a quick look at the different uses for newsletters and promotions, to help you determine which is right:
Use a promotion to:
- Boost sales, appointments or traffic in otherwise slow months
- Promote your brand
- Get your name in front of a new or existing customer
- Move excess inventory
- Reward your most loyal customers
Use a newsletter to:
- Build relationships with your customers and prospects
- Position your company as a valuable resource
- Educate and inform your customers
- Build your credibility over time
- Begin a dialog with your readers by asking for feedback
FAILING TO RESPOND TO REPLIES
If someone sends you an email it means he has investigated and has an interest in your products or services. If you do not reply promptly, you will miss an opportunity and possibly lose a customer. To avoid this and to ensure you’re not missing any opportunities, be ready to field replies. Also, make sure replies don’t get lost in an unchecked inbox, and be sure to reply to all incoming mail within 24 hours or less.
MISSING THE CHANCE TO MAKE A PERSONAL CONNECTION
Make sure that your distribution list includes complete prospect data. Email campaigns feel much less like bulkmail when they greet the recipient individually by name.
Recipients who are addressed by name feel less like a number and are more likely to read the message. Avoid sending impersonal emails by double-checking your list to make sure salutation fields are filled.
You should also let your recipients know the email is from you, and remind them that they opted in to receive it. Be relevant, be concise, be easy to read and offer value.
EXCLUDING A CALL TO ACTION
One of the crucial elements of an email marketing campaign is a clear call to action.
If your email doesn’t tell recipients what you expect them to do, it doesn’t matter how beautifully designed or well written it is. Without a clear call to action, the recipient doesn’t know where to click, what link to follow or where to order.
Outline exactly what you want the recipients of your message to do, and design the message to make that path clear and easy to follow. Avoid too many links or offers as they will only distract recipients. Make both the call to action clear, and also what recipients should expect when they click through.
Examples of effective calls to action can include:
- website links to click
- phone numbers to call
- store/office locations to visit
The call to action should create a sense of urgency that begins with your subject line and continues throughout the email. Offers including a bonus for the first 50 customers, coupons, contests, special discounts and white papers are also effective ways of encouraging response.
Any business that wants to communicate and develop relationships with prospects and customers need to use email marketing. As marketing budgets shrink and resources become increasingly limited, email marketing becomes even more important.
Learn more about email marketing, read our B2B email Copy Best Practices blog post or download out introduction to B2B Email Marketing Guide.