5 Email Mistakes You’re Making That’s Killing Your Marketing
It’s 2021 — time to send marketing emails that don’t suck. Consider this your crash course on finally making your emails exciting and open-worthy.
Let me preface this conversation with a blunt observation: most of the emails in your inbox suck.
The majority of businesses, no matter how big they are have terrible, uninteresting email marketing strategies.
It’s actually somewhat rare to find a business that knows what they’re doing when it comes to email marketing. So while you’re reading these points I’ve listed below, recognize that yes, most of the marketing emails that are landing in your inbox right now are committing these email marketing crimes.
If you follow my steps to help remedy these common email marketing mistakes, you’ll stand out amongst a sea of businesses who are still using email as a broadcasting tool rather than a conversation tool with their audience (and overall, writing emails people don’t want to open).
Email marketing is one of the few online marketing channels left that isn’t controlled by an algorithm. If you email someone, your message will land in their inbox, and if they like you, they’ll likely open and read your email.
If someone chooses to ignore your email, they are given the opportunity to make that decision for themselves.
You can’t say the same for social media platforms — the algorithms for most of these platforms remove an audience’s ability to choose whether they’d like to see the content of an account they follow. It sucks and it doesn’t feel fair, but that’s how things roll when you’re marketing in someone else’s house — you have to follow their rules.
This is why I see email marketing as a sacred channel that business owners need to treat with tact and a ton of respect.
If you set fire to this channel through uninteresting content and/or untactful strategy, you lose the only phone line you have to reach your customers directly when you want to. You’ll see open rates plummet and unsubscribes skyrocket.
I’m not saying that social media should be neglected as a marketing tool. It’s still a great channel to gather new leads, but it needs to be leveraged strategically so that it functions as a holding room to push audiences to email.
Here are 5 deadly email marketing sins that you must avoid committing (but likely are currently doing) if you want your emails to actually do their job — nurture new leads and close sales.
1. You call your emails a newsletter.
It’s 2021, please do not call your emails a newsletter.
We’re in an age where the average attention span equates to a Tik Tok video, and that’s only if the video is entertaining. Calling your emails a newsletter isn’t doing your business any favors, nor is it communicating anything meaningful about the value your emails provide.
View your emails as a TV show that serves a purpose for its subscribers. Are you an expert with office hours? Are you comic relief? Do you share your own hot take on current affairs?
Rally around a theme and create a “show” around it.
It gives your audience a clearcut reason to tune in. If there’s a lack of clarity around what one should expect when opening your emails, no one will get into the habit of reading your emails.
No one wants to tune in to the channel swimming in a marsh of random content.
2. Your emails are not exclusive.
If I already saw your email content on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, I pretty much don’t have a reason to open your email.
We are all bombarded and overwhelmed by the amount of content we’re exposed to on a daily basis — who is willingly exposing themselves to the same content twice? Unless this person is obsessed with the content you posted that week, this isn’t going to prompt consistent email opens.
Treat your emails like a sacred space where your audience receives exclusive, exciting content that they want to see from you.
Even if you recycle some of the topics and content pieces you talked about on your social channels that week, use those topics as jumping-off points to share an exclusive, different narrative in your emails.
Put a spin on your email content so that you share different flavors of a full, exciting marketing menu. Make it fun for your audience to look around in your world.
3. You have uninteresting subject lines.
Here are some samples of the terrible email subject lines in my inbox right now:
“Now Open 7 Days A Week”
“Exactly what we need right now…”
“List, list, list!”
“Accessories are everything”
I often spend more time on my email subject lines than the actual content in the email itself.
I’m competing against hundreds of email subject lines in one’s inbox every time I hit send on my weekly emails. I think about all the boring, mediocre, vague email subjects that are sitting beside my email subject line and I think about how to provoke intrigue in my reader.
I want my emails to be a beacon of light amongst a sea of emails that no one wants to open. I want to train my audience to see my name in their inbox and be super excited to open my email. If your subject lines don’t pull on someone’s curiosity, they won’t read the email you lovingly spent time and energy writing.
Here are my top-performing subject lines from some of my past emails sent to my list:
“Differences between you and the entrepreneur above you”
“You inherited your startup’s bank balance”
“Lazy investing can build you an empire”
“The VC bubble pop in a coronavirus future”
4. You only email when you want something.
You know that friend or work colleague that butters you up asking how you’re doing and promptly follows up asking for something?
You know what’s up whenever they reach out, and whether you’re annoyed by this behavior or not, you’ve been primed now to expect nothing less from this person.
This is precisely what you’re doing when you only email your list to let them know that you’re releasing something new or are having a sale.
You’re priming your email list to only open your emails when they feel like buying something from you (and all the data shows that this is likely less than a few times a year, or one time).
So that means with this style of email content, you are telling your customers to open your emails only a few times a year, if ever.
This will do atrocious things to your open rate percentages and sink your deliverability to people’s inboxes. This is not the best use of a channel that functions as a direct communication line to your customers.
Get your act together and create an email content strategy that gives your customers a reason to engage and connect to your voice more than only a few times a year.
5. You aren’t consistent.
You want to deliver content on a weekly basis so that you form a relationship with your audience, and consistently show up for when they’re ready and on the market to purchase your product or service.
Customers often don’t purchase a product or service right away and perform due diligence and research on brands prior to purchasing.
Dripping email content to these shoppers during the consideration phase until they’re ready to buy is your brand’s best shot at converting them into a sale.
Any other marketing strategy where you hope that your social media post is favored by a platform’s algorithm and shows up in a potential lead’s feed at the right, perfect moment is not a plan I want to ride all of my business’ sales on.
If you’re a business owner who’s aggressive about closing sales, you’ll commit to the strategy that gives you your best shot at making money when a customer is ready to buy — emails.
You saw this coming didn’t ya? For more content like this that turns your startup chase into a victory lap, get my Friday morning emails, (lovingly called The Crux) in your inbox.