I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a business professional use email marketing incorrectly. Many times small business users do not know what they are doing wrong or that what they are doing is illegal according to the CAN SPAM Act of 2003. Over the next couple of weeks I want to go over some of the common mistakes people make in marketing through email and talk about what is needed in order to not break the law and generally annoy those who get your emails.

This week will will talk about the top 4 mistakes people make in email marketing. Next we will cover the top 5 reasons your emails are getting flagged by spam filters then we will close up with a discussion of the basics of the CAN SPAM Act of 2003 and a really easy way you can simplify your email marketing.

Common email-marketing rookie mistakes:

Mistake: Assuming People Actually Want To Hear From You

Just because you know someone does not automatically give you a right to add them to your email marketing list. Many times when people are building out their email list they automatically add friends, clients and colleagues without permission from those people. Do not make the mistake of assuming these people want to be on your marketing emails. When in doubt ALWAYS ask permission first. The best thing to do is send out individual emails to those people you work with or know who you think might be interested in your newsletter or emails and ask if it would be okay to add them to your subscription list. You can even sent along a link so they can sign up for themselves.

It is also important that you know that it’s different if someone sends one email directly to you, with a sales pitch. But when that same person crosses the line and “blasts” his sales pitch to an entire list of people, it quickly becomes spam.


Mistake: Writing Like A Used Car Salesman

Avoid using words like “BUY NOW!!!” and “LIMITED TIME OFFER!!!” in your email marketing. This style of marketing is better left out of email correspondence. It trigers spam filters and can easily annoy your readership. Spam filters are constantly out on the hunt for words and phrases like these so you need to tread carefully and be creative with your marketing messages. Avoid excessive exclamation points (!!!!) and try to not use CAPS in every word since that is considered yelling in email etiquette and the spam filters will likely flag you for it.

Mistake: Ignoring Campaign Reports

I recently met a woman who hired an outside company to do her email marketing. She asked me if I thought email was a good use of her marketing dollars and I replied “How are the report statistics on your email campaigns?” The woman had no idea because she had never taken the time to ask the company who was doing her emailing for the campaign reports to see if they were even being read or if people were clicking on the links inside the emails. How would she ever know if her marketing dollars were being spent in the rght place if she didn’t even check to see if it was working?

This is a small example as to why you should be looking at all of your email campaign reports to see how effective they are. Campaign reports will tell you if your emails are being opened, if the email addresses you are mailing them to are even working and if your template design is encouraging people to click on links. All these pieces of data will help you improve on your email style and maximize results. Always check the statistics and the data to see if what you are doing is worth your money, your time and your effort.

Mistake: Not Having Permission

One of the biggest mistakes that companies and organizations make is utilizing the “fish bowl” give away incorrectly. I have seen it done in many different industries and I am sure you have too. The fish bowl with a little sign like “Drop your business card and you can win a free lunch”. It does not matter what they are giving away or what you can win 9 times out of 10 they will be using your contact information in their email marketing and this is wrong!

If you plan on using the contact information from the business cards in your fish bowl you MUST state on your sign that they will be added to your email list. Subscribers need to KNOW they are subscribing otherwise you are assuming and thus breaking the law.

Quick Fix: Just put on your sign “Sign up for our monthly newsletter and have a chance to win a free lunch” This way you have stated that they will be added to the list and you are in the clear.

Never assume that just because someone gives you their business card that they want to be added to your email marketing. It does not matter if they dropped a card into your fishbowl or you got their card at a networking function, unless you state that is what you will be doing….Don’t do it!


Next week on the Stellar Media Marketing Blog: Top 5 Ways to Get Your Email Marketing Flagged by Spam Filters (avoid them at all cost!)