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If you’re like the majority of businesses, email marketing will play an important role in your promotional efforts. This is great news for small businesses, since email marketing is both affordable and very effective, but it also means that there will be plenty of competition in the inbox. Don’t let small mistakes keep you from achieving your email marketing goals!
Here are 5 missteps to watch out for:
1. Making it difficult for people to recognize you
For 68 percent of consumers, familiarity with the person sending the email is the top reason why they decide to open. Take the time to double check the “From Name” and “From Email Address” you’re using to send your emails.
- Your “From Name” should be the name people identify with when they think of your business. For most businesses, this will be a choice between your personal name (Jane Jones) or brand name (Jones Bookshop).
- If possible, your “From Email Address” should be a branded address (email@example.com), not a personal address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Related: Make Your Emails Stand Out with the Right From Line
2. Giving a hard sell in the subject line
If you want your emails to stand out from the noise, you need to put some thought into the subject lines you decide to use. Avoid giving a hard sell—an overly salesy subject line is sure to turn off readers, and leave your email unopened or deleted.
Here are a few examples you may want to consider:
- The question: Looking for your next favorite book?
- The list: 5 great new reads for 2014.
- The teaser: A special offer from [insert your business name].
- News: Announcing our annual [insert name of event/sale/promotion].
3. Ignoring mobile readers
Today, more than 40 percent of all emails are opened on a mobile device. For some comparison, mobile opens were at just 10 percent in 2011 — that’s an incredible 330 percent change. While you may not have paid much attention to mobile in the past, this year you need to design emails that work on all devices.
The easiest way to find out if your emails are mobile friendly is to send a test, and read your email on your own mobile device.
- Can you read your content without pinching to zoom in?
- Are your images displaying effectively?
- Can you easily click the links inside your emails?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you may want to rethink your email design.
Related: How to Write Mobile-Friendly Subject Lines
4. Slowing down your readers
Like you, your customers are busy. As a small business, you want your emails to fit that hectic schedule, not slow them down.
- Focus on making your email content clear, concise, and to the point.
- Avoid lengthy articles that force your readers to scroll through multiple pages.
- Make it easy for people to scan your emails to find the content that’s relevant to them.
- Look for opportunities to link to “Read More,” if you do want to include longer pieces of content (blog posts, event descriptions, product information, etc.).
5. Forgetting to include a clear call to action
Don’t hit send on your email promotions without offering a “next step” for your customers. Do you want them to redeem an offer? Register for an event? Connect on social media? Are you hoping to drive people into your store or shop online? It’s important to make sure that your main call to action is clear to your readers. Be careful not to bury your call to action at the bottom of a lengthy email. Instead, place it front and center, and clearly identify why they should take that next step.
Avoid these common email marketing pitfalls, and you’re sure to have a campaign that stands out in the inbox.
Editor's note: Not using email marketing yet? Or not happy with your provider? BusinessknowHow.com uses and recommends Constant Contact. Try it free today.
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Ellen Williams, Constant Contact Regional Development Director, New York and Southern Connecticut
Ellen has over 20 years of technology and marketing experience and has presented to over 4,000 small businesses, nonprofits, and associations. Her advice on best practices help organizations understand how to build great customer relationships that inevitable grow their businesses.