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VOL. 129 | NO. 128 | Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Lori Turner

Lori Turner-Wilson

10 Deadly Sins of Email Marketing

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Part one in a two-part series. Data released last year by a research firm called Return Path cites that the average individual receives more than 400 commercial emails per month – emails from businesses selling products and services versus email from colleagues, friends or family.

It’s no wonder that so many of these promotional emails are immediately discarded; they just aren’t breaking through all the noise competing for recipient attention.

Before you blame the channel, consider that Experian cites for every dollar spent, email campaigns return an average of $44. It’s not surprising considering how inexpensive, highly targeted and therefore efficient email can be – when executed well that is.

If your email marketing just isn’t breaking through, it may be time to reassess your approach. How many of these 10, slightly tongue-in-cheek, deadly sins are you committing?

Sin No. 10 – Send only promotional emails with little regard for educating or providing value to your readers to build trust, form a relationship or establish your brand as having subject matter expertise.

Sin No. 9 – Don’t use a quality email delivery service. It costs money, and you’re marketing to make it and not spend it. Forget a proper unsubscribe option, despite the CAN-SPAM Act; who wants opt-outs anyway? And by all means, advertise every recipient’s email in the CC line to encourage those pesky “replies to all.”

Sin No. 8 – Make every email reminiscent of school days – when you were rewarded for maximum word count – by including everything you want to say, versus piquing interest and driving traffic to your site for additional material.

Sin No. 7 – Ignore the open and click-through data indicating what your readers are actually interested in, because you’re not planning to adapt your content anyway.

Sin No. 6 – Design for desktop viewership only, versus optimizing your campaign to view correctly on a tablet or mobile phone.

Sin No. 5 – Litter your email with way too many links. Not only will this approach trigger spam filters, but even if your email does make it through by some miracle, recipients will often view it as spam and delete it before giving it a chance.

Sin No. 4 – Take an “ask forgiveness” versus “ask permission” approach to adding people to your email database.

Sin No. 3 – Use dreadfully boring subject lines (e.g., July Newsletter) or overly promotional subjects (Buy Now – 50 percent Off).

Sin No. 2 – Email stock content provided by vendors or partners with little to no customization to save time and money.

And Sin No. 1 – Send an email campaign twice a day or every time you have an unexpressed thought in need of an outlet.

Guilty of any of these deadly email sins? Check back next week for best practices to help you abandon and overcome your indulgent ways.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover, a sales training and marketing firm based in Memphis, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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