Mistake 1: Not having permission
There are two very important things to keep in mind:
1) Make sure you have received permission from all of your recipients before you send your first email.
2) All recipients should understand what they’re signing up for and why they’re receiving email from you.
Mistake 2: Purchasing email lists
By now, everyone should know better than to buy a "totally legitimate list of 30 million opt-in emails" from a sketchy piece of spam they found in their inbox. That’s pretty obvious, but there are still some vendors out there selling "opt-in" lists the old-fashioned way. They collect email addresses and ask members if they’d like to "receive special offers from third parties." Then, they sell those email addresses to other senders. It’s not technically illegal, but many ESPs prohibit sending to purchased lists.
Shinylead is a strict permission-based newsletter delivery service. This means we do not provide, sell, share, or rent lists to users, nor do we allow purchased, publicly available, third party, or rented lists in our system. No exceptions!
Mistake 3: Assuming people want to hear from you
Did everyone on your list specifically give you permission to email them? If not, and you’ve added them to your list because you assume they want to hear from you, then you are sending spam. This is true even if you “spent lots of time assembling that list of prospects,” “spent lots of money for this opt-in list,” or the list is made up of “people in your industry who have certainly heard of you.” Shinylead is a tool for sending email newsletters and permission marketing. It’s not for “sales” or “prospecting” to people who have never heard of you. If you want to send email to prospects, you should use your own server, not a hosted solution like Shinylead.
If you’re sending on the behalf of a client, make sure that you know the origins of their list. Don’t be afraid to ask the client how they got their list and if it’s permission-based. Remember, you can be held liable for spam even if you’re sending on behalf of someone else.
Mistake 4: Sending to a stale list
When someone opts in to your Shinylead list, they're giving permission to receive your email marketing campaigns. That permission can go stale pretty quickly though, so you only have a brief amount of time to reach out to your new subscribers before they forget having signed up for your list. Generally speaking, you've got about six months from the initial point of subscription before a subscriber's permission goes stale. If your subscribers haven't heard from you within that timeframe, you'll need to reconfirm your list.
Mistake 5: Confusing transactional emails with email marketing
Do you have a list of customers who have purchased products from your e-commerce store? They’ll expect receipts and shipping notifications via email. Those types of one-to-one messages are called transactional emails, and they're different from email marketing. Shinylead isn't designed for those highly-customized one-to-one (transactional) emails.
Mistake 6: Being in a rush
One of the most common mistakes that people make with email marketing is hasty sending. Take the time to make sure your list is clean and all subscribers have properly opted-in. Asking the sales team for their contact lists and "blasting" out an email may seem like the best solution if you’re on a strict deadline, but it can result in unanticipated headaches. Those contacts could have gone stale. Worse, they may have never given permission at all.
Rushing through the campaign creation process and not taking the time to consider the design, content, and subject lines of your email can prove problematic, too. You could find yourself faced with a decrease in your open and click rates and increase in your spam and unsubscribe rates.
Mistake 7: Not knowing your audience
Email marketing is pretty affordable, so it’s often one of the first attempts at "real" marketing for small businesses. For email marketing newcomers, it might be tempting to use sensational phrases like “BUY NOW!” and “LIMITED TIME OFFER!” or to emulate marketing tactics that you’ve seen Company XYZ use in the past. Keep in mind, however, that the things that worked for another company might not be the best methods for addressing your own subscribers.
- Create content that will be relevant, interesting, and useful to your subscriber base.
- Keep your subject line simple and to the point. The best subject lines don’t sell what’s inside, they tell what’s inside.
- Don’t use pushy sales copy or gimmicky catchphrases. Not only can be it a distracting turn-off to your subscribers, but spam filters could penalize you if they deem your content to look “spammy.”
Mistake 8: Not understanding how spam filters think
Spam filters look at a long list of criteria to decide whether or not an email is junk. In fact, the list of spammy criteria is constantly growing and adapting, because spam filters learn more about what junk looks like every time someone clicks the "This is junk" or "Mark as spam" buttons in their email client. Spam filters even sync up with each other to share what they’ve learned. There’s no magic formula, but these tips will help you avoid common mistakes that often send email marketing to junk folders.
- Subject line: Avoid the overuse of punctuation, special characters, and phrases like “free,” “act now,” or “open immediately”
- Formatting: ALL CAPS, crazy colors, and extra exclamation points!!!!
- Content: Anything about getting money, paying less money, or money-back guarantees
- Code: Sloppy code, extra tags, code pulled in from Microsoft Word
- Images: Too many images, or one single image and no text to balance it out
Mistake 9: Not testing a campaign before sending
Before you send a campaign to your entire list, make sure that you look at it in Shinylead’s Preview Mode and send yourself several test copies of the email, utilizing as many email clients (Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, etc) as you can. Check to make sure your images and links are behaving correctly and that everything looks just right. Once you hit send, there’s no “undo” button, so it’s very important to test as thoroughly as possible before sending to your entire list.
Mistake 10: Ignoring your campaign reports
One of the benefits of using Shinylead for your email marketing is the ability to measure the results of every campaign that you send. Shinylead reports contain a lot of valuable information, and they can help you analyze your campaign’s performance and provide insights that you can use to improve your future campaigns.
If a marketer isn’t checking their reports regularly, they might not notice when their open rates drop significantly or that their list size is steadily shrinking after every campaign. They may not realize that emails they send on Thursday have the highest open rate, while emails sent on Monday tend to have much lower engagement.
After you send a campaign in Shinylead, take the time to navigate over to the Reports page in your account.