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B2B Email Marketing Pitfalls To Avoid

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email marketing best practices

There are several mistakes that marketers should avoid when creating emails for email marketing. The most important pitfall is ignoring or avoiding customer data privacy rules and legislation like the Can-Spam Act. Do it at your peril, as the risk of being reported by your email audience is high, and the fines are steep too. Not only will your business suffer a big dent in its marketing budget after paying a fine in the tens or hundreds of thousands, there is also the ongoing damage it will do to your brand.

Additionally if you think email compliance doesn’t not matter as email marketing is dying in 2023, think again. Four billion people have an email address.

89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation

1. Using a cramped navigation bar in the email

If possible, I would suggest not placing a navigation bar in your email in the first place. With 53% of emails being opened on a mobile, placing a navigation bar in the email can be very confusing to the readers.

But, if you decide to include a navigation bar, make sure you give a luxurious amount of space for clarity and emphasis.

Cramming your navigation bar tight into the email, with a font size that needs magnification to properly read, can lead to nothing but a waste of space and can annoy the readers even.

2. Misleading clickbait subject lines

Imagine seeing the subject line, ‘How to determine the best insurance plan for you,’ Once you open the mail, you must go through  100 landing pages before reaching the post? A misleading click-bait will definitely not leave a good impression on your customers.

Even worse is a misleading subject line; for example, you say you offer a 30-day free trial period, and the customer registers only to find out it is for 14 days. Not good!

Of course, it is important to use hooking subject lines to pique your customer’s interest, but doing it by making fools out of your readers is a bad bad idea because, in the end, it doesn’t matter how much your open rate is if it doesn’t lead to conversions.

3. Skipping segmentation and A/B email testing

People have different tastes, preferences, concerns, priorities – that’s a given. What doesn’t make sense is you send the same email to all your readers. A total waste of effort; what works for one person will not work for another.

A customer who was super active during the trial period of your product is already pretty psyched about your product. Your email should further entice them, like sending newsletters on tips to make the best use of your product, etc., but you must send a different type of email to a customer who was not so active during the trial period.

The same goes for demographics; you have to approach a 50-year-old customer and a 20-year-old customer differently.

Here’s more on segmentation and email testing.

To get the right message to the right person at the right time, you first need to get the right data to the right database at the right time – John Caldwell

4. Not collecting customer feedback

As I mentioned earlier, every audience is different in their own ways, so blindly copying successful strategies won’t work. A lot of email marketers end up making this mistake. They try to implement these ‘best practices’ without tweaking them to suit their customers.

Result: a disengaged audience and high unsubscribe rates.

The best way to solve this problem is to collect customer feedback. It will help you understand what is working, what’s not, and what needs to be changed or adjusted to fit your customer’s needs.

The feedback you collect should answer the following questions:

  • What should be the ideal length of the content.
  • Whether the customers are happy with the reading experience.
  • Whether the content you send is helpful and relevant to them.
  • Whether they are happy with the frequency of your emails
  • What is the best time to send the emails.

5. Not testing Call to Action in the email

A case study showed a 90% increase in CTR by changing one word in the button copy. That is how important it is to get your call to action right.

Here are some factors that can affect your CTAs:

  • Right positioning in the mail.
  • Using the right colours, such as bright red, is more eye-catching.
  • Using the right words.
  • Optimizing the position of CTAs for the mobile as well.
  • Personalizing the CTAs as opposed to generic ones.

You need to get all these and many more factors right to successfully boost your CTRs, so CTA testing to determine the right strategy for you is a must.

6. Not determining the right frequency of emails

Trying to grab your prospect’s attention is one thing, but forcing them to look at you is another. When you send them emails daily, that is exactly what you do. To put it simply, it’s annoying and usually ends up turning them against you.

But again, you shouldn’t send too few emails either; that way, you won’t register yourself in your customer’s mind.

Here’s a tip, start at the average number of emails most other companies send in a month and experiment close to that number to find your golden number.

After you find your number, make consistency your rule of thumb. For example, if you decide to send 1 email per week, then fix a day, say Wednesday, and make sure to send the email every Wednesday – come may hell or high water!

7. Stinking of self-promotion

Like the 1/3rd rule of photography, at my startup, we follow the 1/7th rule of self-promotion. For example, in a newsletter, we strictly follow this rule of proportionality, i.e., only 1/7th of the newsletter will serve the purpose of business promotion, the rest of the content must and should add value to and help the customers.

Think of it this way, if you have added value to your customers, you have earned the right to talk about yourself.

Most businesses make the mistake of promoting themselves too much in every email. Remember that nobody likes to waste their time reading about you and your awesomeness – even you wouldn’t if you were in the position of a customer.

8. Inferior presentation of emails

Here are some examples of inferior presentations

  • Overloading the email with too many CTAs, links, and stats.
  • Poor editing – punctuation, and spellings.
  • Using aesthetically unappealing colours and format.
  • Bad and frivolous subject lines.
  • Lack of mobile optimization.
  • Using sub-standard and blurred images.
  • Not practicing good email etiquette.

I could go on. Let’s admit it, we are more receptive to beautiful and eye-pleasing emails and presentations than to those which are not, even though the latter may have great content. So, make sure you absolutely nail this aspect of your email.

Email Acquisition is like cutting hair, must happen regularly, can be done well, but one bad experience can scar forever – David Baker

Final Thoughts

Sending emails with permission will be one of your biggest mistakes and end badly for your business. Many spam complaints will damage your ‘sender’ reputation and impact your ability to get future emails delivered to inboxes. Always use best practices for collecting customer data and their permission.

Focusing too much on sales in your email content will result in a higher-than-usual unsubscribe rate. Balancing your promotional messages with helpful or educational content that provides value to your subscribers is important.

Neglecting personalization will result in your emails being regarded and treated as spam. Personalization is key to creating effective email campaigns. Avoid using generic, impersonal greetings or sending the same message to your entire list. Instead, segment your audience and tailor your emails to each group’s interests and preferences.