By Lisa Larter
Are you subscribed to a ton of email lists?
You aren’t alone. I have to admit that over the last few years I have subscribed to a LOT of lists. I have studied, learned and consumed more content than the average person probably does in a lifetime.
And, I’m willing to bet that some of the lists you are on keep you really engaged and you read them regularly. Then there are those that are more like a honeymoon gone bad. They’re great for a bit, then slowly become worse and worse until at some point, they become downright annoying!
Even more, I’m guessing that you are a bit worried about your own email marketing. You plan and write and rewrite your emails, all the while wondering if it is too much, too pushy, too frequent, etc. Concerned that you may become one of those email marketers that drive your list crazy.
So, before you start creating all that amazing content to share with your list, here are some things to avoid that can jeopardize your ability to really connect and add value for the community you are trying to serve:
1. Promoting a different affiliate partner every week – Affiliate programs are great so long as the person and product you are selling align with your core values and is something that would resonate with your list. But, if you are trying to sell someone else’s program or product each week and are constantly pushing it on your audience, they will begin to distrust you.
2. Campaigning all the time: “buy my stuff, buy my stuff!!!” – If someone signs up for your email list they don’t do it so that they can constantly be bombarded with the programs and services you offer. They did it so that they can get to know you. This is your opportunity to build trust and credibility. Don’t blow it!
3. Emailing or Direct Messaging on Social networks to sell me before you have even said hello – Don’t message someone on Facebook or direct message them on Twitter asking them to buy your stuff if you do not have a relationship already. Even then, handle with care! Social networking is about “networking” not selling. It is a wonderful marketing tool that you can use to grow your business and make more sales but, at it’s core it is exactly what the name implies – Social. Use these platforms to get to know your audience. Engage with them and build a relationship. Once you do this, the sales will naturally follow.
4. Gathering (ie: stealing) Email Addresses and adding them to your list – This applies to finding emails on someone’s website, on their Social network profile, or on a membership or other affiliated site. It also covers getting business cards at an event and automatically adding those to your list. Please don’t do this. It is unprofessional and is a great way to rack up spam reports on your email marketing.
5. Sharing Email Addresses with partners or affiliates – When someone gives you their email and asks to receive information from you they are assuming that you will keep that information private. Don’t share their email or any other information with anyone unless you have their express permission to do so. It’s just really bad business.
6. Using an Auto-responder – When you setup your email marketing system do not use an unmonitored or “fake” email for the reply-to address. You WANT to hear from your readers so don’t do them and yourself a disservice by making it difficult for them to contact you. Always reply promptly to any responses you get and make sure they aren’t receiving an automated reply saying “this is an unmonitored email, please visit our website….” or something similar.
7. Emails from your Assistant pretending to be you- Don’t send out an email from your email account signed by your assistant or someone else on your team! It’s dishonest and is one of the best ways to annoy people on your list. When you are busy and you need your assistant to respond in order to help someone right away, there is another way to do it. The best way to handle it is to have your assistant respond from his or her own email and mention that they are taking care of this for you. This will make the person who emailed you feel secure in that someone else isn’t reading their emails to you and that they are important enough that you want to help them or answer their question right away.
8. Blank or misspelled names – Dear ______, Please make sure that you have something in the name field if you are emailing people and using this type of merge feature. I know that it is hard when people don’t provide their name at signup, but having a blank space can be a real turn-off for your reader. Most email systems have the ability to use something else for the greeting if there isn’t a name provided. Be sure and use that feature.
Also make sure that names are spelled correctly. Again, sometimes people will type their own name in incorrectly when they signup but if you watch your signups or check your list many will jump out at you. Use a bit of judgement, eyeball the new subscribers on your list from time to time and, if it looks funny, ask the person if you are spelling their name right. This requires a bit of time and means that you actually care about them which is important if you are in business.
That’s it. Simple ways to make sure your emails aren’t being deleted or ignored and, here’s the bonus – By not doing these things, you are building your own credibility and showing that you are trustworthy and that you care. This will inevitably lead to more engagement, stronger relationships and more sales!
What drives you crazy when it comes to email marketing?