The Undone Email Marketing Mistake – How to Avoid It

You’ve just launched your email marketing program, and you’re excited about the growth you’re seeing. You’ve researched the subject matter of your emails and found a nice blend of content that seems to resonate well with your audience. You’ve even considered using HubSpot to help you manage your new program.

Then disaster strikes. One of your carefully crafted email marketing campaigns goes wrong, and you find yourself in an embarrassing situation. You ask yourself “How could this have happened? Everything was going perfectly up until then.” You might feel a pang of guilt, as if you’d done something wrong. But you didn’t. There’s simply more than one step to follow when implementing an email marketing program.

Here’s where it gets messy. You’ve probably been trained by incompetent, overzealous marketers to think that every email you receive from a company is an opportunity to buy something. You might not even realize it, but somewhere in your mind, this is what you’ve been trained to think. Now, regardless of whether you’ve been tricked into thinking this or if it’s something you truly believe, this mindset is what led you to make the following disastrous blunder.

You Didn’t Measure The Right Way

You’ve likely been told by marketers of all stripes that measuring the success of your email marketing campaign is quite easy. They’ll tell you how many people opened the email, how many clicked on a link, or how many people complained that the email was irritating. While these are all useful metrics, they aren’t the whole story.

If you really want to see how well your email marketing is doing, you need to put in place a solid measurement plan. This should include things like:

  • An email metrics dashboard (like Unbuckle) that will give you a clear picture of how well your email marketing is performing in real time.
  • Tracking analytics tools (like Google Analytics) which will allow you to slice and dice your data to find any correlations or insights that could help you improve your program.
  • Having a human respond to any communications that are deemed to be ‘complaints’ (think unopened emails, or ones that haven’t been read in a while)
  • A/B testing software (like Litmus) that will allow you to compare the success of two different campaigns, or the impact that different subject lines have had on a given email.
  • And perhaps most importantly, having someone with experience in email marketing check your program from the ground up.

Inspecting these items in detail will go a long way to ensuring that you don’t make the same mistakes again. When you’ve got a clear picture of what went wrong, and why, you’ll be able to improve your program and get back on track.

You Made The Mistake Of Not Having A Plan B

Even the best laid plans can go wrong, and when they do, it’s usually a total calamity. For example, let’s say that your plan was to send out a ton of birthday emails over the next few months. You get to a certain point, and you realize that you’ve run out of birthdays to send out to. Not to worry! You’ve got a plan B. You decide to continue sending out the emails, but this time to a different audience. In this case, you’re sending the emails to people who bought a home appliance from you. So, while your initial plan was to hit as many birthdays as you could, your revised plan is to help as many people as you can with their home appliances (because what’s more important to you than making money?).

This brings us to our next point…

You Should Have Realized This Wasn’t Going To Work

In hindsight, you can probably see that this was a bad idea. The people who bought a home appliance from you aren’t exactly the type of people who are going to be excited about receiving a bunch of random emails from an unknown brand. Especially since they didn’t ask you to send them emails. This is why you should never send unsolicited emails to people. It is, in fact, considered a spam violation. Even though you didn’t mean to do it and didn’t intend on harming anyone, you broke the cardinal rule of email marketing. It’s akin to sending out unsolicited text messages, or phoning customers without their consent.

Now, before you feel too awful about this, let’s remember that the vast, vast majority of email marketers are good people. They’ve just been misled into thinking that sending out unsolicited emails is a great way to grow a business. Don’t feel too bad. The majority of email marketers are not out to do you harm, they’re just trying to make a living, and many of them are fairly inexperienced. Which leads us to our final and perhaps most important point…

You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Being Scammed

In the grand scheme of things, you’re not that bad off. Yes, you made mistakes, but at least you didn’t make the fatal error of thinking that being a scammer is an honorable profession. Most likely, the people you sent the email to did not understand what was happening or why they were being asked to provide their personal information. In some cases, scammers will even go so far as to threaten you via email, demanding money or threatening to expose your “secrets”. In these kinds of cases, it’s best to just report the email to the police.

On the other hand, if you’re just doing this to supplement your income or to give yourself some extra spending money, don’t feel too bad about being scammed. Most likely, these are short-lived experiences, and you can get back on your feet (and not feel too guilty about what happened). Remember, the vast majority of people who fell victim to this kind of scam are elderly, and it’s often a case of “He said, she said”. In these cases, it’s very difficult to know who’s telling the truth and who’s being a total scammer. In the end, however, it’s best to just remain skeptical and not to give too much thought to the matter.

Nowadays, if you want to send out an email and you don’t have any connections to do it (ie – you don’t know the person, you don’t work for the company, etc.), then you’ll most likely end up as a spammer. That’s the best case scenario. In the meantime, you can use a service like Campaign Monitor to create email marketing campaigns that follow the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. With a little bit of research, you can put in place a system that will allow you to follow all the rules and remain legitimate.

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