on Jan 24, 2018 / by Anna Eliot

The Unwritten Rules of Email Marketing

If you’ve been keeping track of your marketing channel return rates, you might notice that your biggest ROI comes from – surprise – email marketing.

Based on statistics, email is the main driver of leads and revenue for B2B marketers at 73 percent and 63 percent, respectively. Furthermore, email as a platform is said to be 40 times more effective for customer acquisition than social channels.

These numbers only prove that email marketing still tops any other marketing channel for your business’s lead generation efforts—if you do it right. Marketing teams monitoring such trends will naturally beef up their email campaigns, which means you’re going up against some pretty stiff competition.

The key is not to flood your prospects’ inbox with emails that have little to no value for them. Instead, you need to stand out from the crowd and lead the way by catching your leads’ attention with email marketing principles and techniques that resonate with them.

The Issues with Email Marketing

People get sent all sorts of emails on a daily basis. On average, someone may receive dozens of pieces of promotional and advertising materials, along with personal and work email at any given time of the day. Given the huge number of other senders to compete with, it’s quite easy to see how cluttered a recipient’s inbox can become, which is a challenge for you as you try to stand out from the rest.

A side-effect of this is that people have become a lot more selective when browsing their inboxes. The filtration process involves looking for someone familiar among the list of senders or hoping to see content that’s really interesting or useful to them. But otherwise, most people are quick to send everything else to the trash bin, which is not where you want to be.

The effect is further increased when you consider how selective automated email and spam filters have become. Bottom line, if your email isn’t compelling, it’s never going to get noticed.

That said, you want to project yourself as someone who follows proper email marketing etiquette so you can establish trust with your email recipients. Once you’ve managed to establish trust initially, the chances of getting your emails opened in the future will increase significantly.

Email Mistakes to Avoid

The list below contains examples of common mistakes made by email marketers that usually results in less-than-satisfactory levels of engagement:

1. An Uncompelling Subject Line

Everything starts with the subject line. It’s the first thing that your leads see, so it makes perfect sense to write something really compelling, and more importantly, relevant. If your subject line doesn’t immediately grab their attention, your email is unlikely to get read at all.

Try not to be too salesy either. Click-baity subject lines can be great, but be sure not to make any promises that you fail to deliver on once the recipient opens the email.

2. Leaving Everything to Automation

Email automation is a boon to marketers, but some tend to misuse it, especially when it comes to targeted email marketing. Sometimes, marketers fail to segment their marketing lists based on customer personas so that the right emails don’t reach the demographics that actually need them.

Personalization is incredibly important for better engagement rates, and too much automation can restrict that. To avoid sounding like a robot, most email automation tools allow for personalization tokens. Take advantage of this feature and you’ll be able to bring email personalization to new heights.

3. Sending Unsolicited Messages

Nobody likes getting something they didn’t ask for unless it’s something really valuable. In the same way, your recipients won’t have second thoughts reporting your email as spam if you send it to them without getting their permission first.  

What’s worse is if you don’t add an opt-out subscription link on your emails, which gains you the ire of your prospects since you’re not giving them an easy way to unsubscribe from your mailing list. Not to mention that according to the CAN-SPAM act, all email marketing is required to include an option to opt-out.

4. Missing or Unclickable Images

In email marketing, images are an important element, as they are used not only for good visuals but also to direct leads to a landing page on the website, or occasionally, the image contains the entire message itself.

It then goes without saying that when images are missing or not clickable, you lose an opportunity to engage with your prospects and to prolong their engagement.

5. Sending Without Testing

There’s a whole gamut of things to test and check before finally hitting the send email button, including a subject line that matches your email’s content, broken links, and any error messages that might show up due to technical issues.

Customers hate it when they realize they’ve wasted time looking at something that’s full of inconsistencies and bloopers. So, make sure you run a trial of your email marketing process on a test account before getting your email campaign started.

Email Rules to Live By

Now that the great potential of email as a lead/revenue-generating channel is clear, it’s important to know how to make the most out of this tool.

Aside from following industry best practices, you should also familiarize yourself with the “unwritten” rules of email marketing. These rules are principles that relate to etiquette and good judgment, which is critical if you want to avoid the mess that comes with angry email recipients.

The Unwritten Rules of Email Marketing (Infographic)

Know the Rules

Email marketing is a simple, efficient, and time-tested strategy that should be part of every marketer’s plan. While you might find it challenging to create emails that are received well by people on your list, keeping in mind the principles to proper email marketing and sticking to the rules might just be the key to getting noticed.

Not getting the results you want from your email marketing campaign? Download our Comprehensive Email Marketing Checklist for actionable steps to build a successful B2B email campaign!

Checklist for Setting Up an Email Marketing Campaign
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