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5 Things to Avoid in Your First Email Campaign

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You’ve done your research, compiled a list of subscribers, and are ready to start your business’s first email marketing campaign. This campaign can have ramifications for every subsequent marketing campaign you send over email, so it’s important that you avoid making the kinds of mistakes that will frustrate your customers, get your emails blocked, or give your domain labeled a spammer.

As a first time email marketer, some of these things may not come naturally, so be sure to make your first email campaign a successful one with these tips.

1. Not Having a Plan

In order to make sure that your campaigns are effective, in line with your overall online marketing strategy, and (most importantly) not labeled as spam, you need to have a plan in place. This plan needs to define a number of factors that will guide your campaign, such as:

  • Demographics. Who is your audience? What do they want?
  • Intent. What is the goal of the campaign?
  • Content. What is your tone?
  • Schedule. What is the best time and frequency for your emails?
Without a plan, you risk alienating your customers and wasting money on a campaign that doesn’t generate conversions.

2. Not Having Permission

Just because customers left their email in your store’s register book or on their loyalty card sign-up sheet doesn’t mean you have permission to send them marketing emails. Sending unsolicited emails is a fast and effective way to getting your domain labeled a spammer.

  • If you’re collecting emails yourself through your social media profiles or website, use a double opt-in method to ensure you have permission to send emails to your subscribers.
  • A double opt-in asks customers to enter their email address in an online form. Once done, the customer receives a confirmation link in their email, which they must click in order for their address to be added to your list.
3. Forgetting to Test First

In your haste to send out your first email blast, don’t forget to test the email first. Errors and mistakes can turn a good campaign into a failure. Check for:

  • Consistent, legible appearance in a variety of browsers, email clients, and devices (desktop and mobile).
  • Proper display of images and alt text.
  • Working links – especially your unsubscribe button (which should be prominent).
  • Likelihood of hitting the spam folder. Look online for free spam checkers to complete this step.
4. Writing Amateur Content

Writing content for email marketing is a very specific process. You want to write interesting, engaging content that will entice customers to click through the email. However, you also want to avoid springing red flags that will send your email straight to the trash.

  • Using words typically found in junk mail – free, sale, low-cost, $$$, excessive exclamation points – can ping the spam filters.  You need to write content that doesn't incorporate those words or style, even if it means more work on your end. It doesn't matter how persuasive the word "free" would be with your subscribers if they never actually see the email.
5. Lacking Tracking

You want your campaigns to become more effective over time, and that means you need to track each campaign and build on the results. The analytics from your first campaign can be extremely helpful when you start your next campaign – they’ll identify your mistakes, help you redefine your message, and change your subscriber list (possibly in a drastic way). Metrics you should track include:

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Bounce rate
According to Target Marketing’s Sixth Annual Media Usage Forecast, email marketing had the second highest rate of new customer acquisition (25%). Your email campaigns can help you find new customers and increase the lifetime value of current customers – so long as you avoid these mistakes.

Bio: Megan Webb-Morgan is a business blogger for B2B lead generation specialists, Resource Nation. Follow them on Facebook and Google+.

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