Marketing emails are a bitter mistress. While undeniably useful and with endless possibilities for making efficient communication easy, they also entail an absolute laundry list of preventative measures that need to be taken for businesses to avoid marketing email oopsies.
Like riding a unicycle or battling bears, proper emailing requires practice, patience, and safety measures. You wouldn’t rush into a bear den with just your bare hands and a couple of strips of beef jerky. This may all seem a little dramatic, but some of the business world’s most embarrassing accidents happen through email. Best case scenario, you can all laugh about it later. Worst case scenario, you’re giving a press conference about how your business didn’t mean to cyberstalk an unsuspecting customer.
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so here are our top 4 tips for avoiding marketing email errors:
Implement a chain of responsibility rule
At every point in a company email’s journey to the customer, there should be a distinct chain of responsibility with multiple eyes on the message along the way. It starts with the writer. Then, it should move to an editor. Next, send it along to the rest of the team to give it a once over. Finally, the writer should read it over one last time, just in case. It’s probably going to add a day or two to your marketing email process, but it’s going to be worth it in the time you save not apologizing for sending out a blank newsletter template. Not that we know anything about that.
Keep your language clear and professional
Any online communication is rife with the opportunity to be misunderstood. Something that might be hilarious to one part of your demographic might be pretty offensive to another part. Your best tact is to avoid using words, phrases, or photos that could be misconstrued. There are very specific demographics that might expect and enjoy slang-y language or informal tone, but you need to be absolutely certain that’s your situation before you take that leap. Better safe than sorry.
Automation is good, in moderation
There are some incredible tools online that make marketing email campaigns easy, like HubSpot or Constant Contact. They allow you to use segmentation to automatically send emails to particular subscribers as they move along the campaign path. For example, you can set up an automation process that sends a follow-up email to a subscriber who opened a marketing attempt but didn’t sign up. What it can’t account for, however, is if that subscriber sends you a personal email asking you to cease all communications with them. Some people are bored and hitting “Unsubscribe” just isn’t good enough for them. It can, and probably will, happen at some point along the way. Allowing your automation process to continue marketing to them is like signing a waiver for more angry emails and a bad review. Be ever vigilant about the emails you have in the pipeline, and remove people from your mailing lists if they have indicated that’s what they want.
When in doubt, follow the CAN-SPAM rules.
Not only is it the law (that could cost you $42,530 in penalties), but these rules are a great way to send consumer-friendly emails. The Federal Trade Commission established this act to protect consumers from receiving solicitations Their guidelines include:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
- Identify the message as an ad.
- Tell recipients where you’re located.
- Tell recipients how to opt out of future emails from you.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
These guidelines are genuinely good marketing tips. Making your customers feel like they are backed into a corner by your marketing emails isn’t doing anyone any favors. Make your purpose clear, your message known, and your information available. Then, let your content and marketing prowess do the rest. It’ll keep you out of trouble and keep your email list growing.
Email marketing mistakes are embarrassing, and they can put your business under an unwelcome spotlight. The best way to prevent that is to make sure that every email that leaves your business follows your protocol and meets your standards. While most email mistakes aren’t life-changing or business-ending, they can do some damage to your reputation. At the very least, you’re likely to lose a few subscribers.
When mistakes do happen, what can you do to get back in the saddle quickly? Join us next week for insider tips on groveling and begging for mercy!