Bad Email Marketing Practices

Email marketing is a powerful tool to grow your business, but bad email marketing practices can damage your company reputation and lose potential customers for ever. Last week I received an email from a company that was an example of the latter, and I will point out a few of the issues that I had with that email in order to help your company avoid making the same mistakes.

The first problem I had with the email is that I had met the sending companies representative only very briefly, and they certainly did not ask me if it was OK to put me on their mailing list. Their blog and profession was not something that was in an area that is generally of any interest to me and I didn’t want to receive this email every month so I had two options, I could email them back asking them to stop emailing which seems rude and abrupt, and would no doubt put a swift end any potential business relationship, or I could mark their emails as spam. This is easily done for me but means their emails will never get through to me and it could have implications for their general ability to email others successfully if their email server gets backlisted because of sending spam.
spam email

Another problem was that I couldn’t even read what it was about in the email. It was a link saying “please see our latest blog” with a link to the blog without any detail or encourage me to click. If they opened with a couple of sentences or described what it was about then there was a chance they could have caught my interest. Ideally they would have a few options within the email for me to click and therefore increase their chances that one of those links would be of interest to me. As it was, I never found out what their one link was about.

These problems were not the biggest problem with the email, which was that they’d also done the whole email using the CC function of their email client. It was probably an error that they used CC instead of BCC but regardless, I had all the recipients email addresses (roughly 40) which was a clear breach of data protection laws. This started a two day long email barrage that started with a few people pressing “reply to all” to either thank him for the email or complain about it, and it quickly turned to a flurry of angry emailers asking never to be “removed from a list” and increasingly angry emails urging people to stop pressing the “reply to all”. It was email chaos that irreparably damaged the reputation of the initial sending company.

On top of this, the sending company is getting no useful information that they could use to improve his future email campaigns. They aren’t seeing how many (or few) people actually open the email and they don’t know which links are of interest and which of the recipients are clicking through to their website.

What they should have done to avoid bad email marketing practices

1. First and foremost, don’t send using the CC function in a basic email client. Use an email service such Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, Dot Mailer etc to prevent having causing problems with your email server.

2. Careful with your email list- if you’re not sure that the person would want to be on the list, email and ask them first so they will be more receptive to the email or won’t delete it and report you for spam.

3. Ensure the recipients can easily opt-out of future correspondence, to reduce the chance of them reporting you for spam.

4. Well written copy and good design increases click through so ensure you’re giving them a good reason to click through.

5. Don’t use overly salesy language like discount, sales, but treat your recipients like people.

If you do some of these email marketing bad practices then people will get annoyed by your company. If you do email marketing well then you have a great route of increasing your companies reputation and keeping in contact with potential customers.

Please contact us for support on how to run your email marketing campaign.

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