Email is the mainstream communication tool for business, and to be professional, you need to be seen as professional. Not just in your personal presentation and the way you conduct yourself in the flesh, but also in the way you communicate electronically. Small things like misspellings or bad formatting can leave a bad impression, whether it’s an inter-office memo or a mass mailing.
In the sales game, the power now is in the hands of the market. Consumers vote with their money, and they votes decides how business will thrive. Businesses need to make sure that their strategy and tactics to engage their market are relevant, engaging, and personal. While various social media and mobile platforms are popular ways to connect with target markets, email slips directly into people’s in-boxes, as easy as a newspaper delivered to their front door.
When you commit to using email as your main method of communication with your customers, clientele, and mailing lists, you have to make sure that you come across as someone who is a professional, and a professional is someone who doesn’t cut corners, and does good work. Making mistakes using your email channels can cost your business sales and tarnish your reputation.
- “The Bug Letter from the VP” is a well known story on how customer relations can be spoiled by one wrong note. (Snopes)
- Bug letter (Worldwide Words)
What are the top email marketing mistakes?
Email management software makes it easy to stay on top of your mailing lists, and it’s personalization that helps deliver the message. When email is personalized, it can show in a number of ways. For example, you can personalize the language, the greeting, the subject line and the sender of the email.
Instead of ‘Dear Customer’ or ‘To whom it may concern’ you email management systems can get the customer’s first name from their databases and use that. You can ensure that if you send newsletters in different languages, they’re sent to the correct recipients.
When personalization is flubbed, the impression is that the sender (your business) was careless . It can leave readers with the impression you don’t really care about them. Personalization is simply an expected part of customer engagement.
Editing and revision is part of the email process. Without them you run the risk of miscommunication or sharing the wrong information, to say the least. People generally have at least one story they can share about their email snafu’s: the wrong recipient, emailing the entire company sensitive data, etc.
Your emails are not just your way of keeping in touch, they represent you in the minds of your customers–and what picture does it make when you’re careless with your writing?
Yahoo blundered with an announcement by not checking their article before it went live, and the placeholders were still up. The article has since been taken down, but the tweet and the screenshots are still up.
- RIHANNA announcement using placeholder (ONTD)
- Actual tweet @Sowmya Krishnamurthy)
- Yahoo accidentally posts review of Rihanna’s “ANTI” with placeholders.
Spelling and grammar issues
Sure, it’s easy for people to nitpick, but when you don’t give anything to pick at, then you’re doing your job right. Grammar and spelling errors are for amateurs. Professionals polish their communication skills, and that includes knowing the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, ‘further’ and ‘farther’, and ‘they’re’ and ‘their’ (just to name a few examples.)
Missing or broken links
Links keep the internet together, and when you include them in your email or newsletter to point to crucial information, but they don’t work, result in a ‘page not found’ message, or bring customers to an unrelated webpage, you just wasted their time and fractured their attention to your message.
Mistakes happen, that’s just the nature of things. You can ward them off by putting systems in place so they’re minimized. Proofread and test links before you click on ‘Send.’
If you make mistakes and don’t fact-check, you can damage your reputation from sharing the wrong information. If, for example, you make mistakes in dates and times, you can give customers the wrong time for important events — like the start time for webinars, or the wrong date for things like sales, deadlines or special occasions (holiday sales and the like.) And what do you think would happen if you make a mistake in the time-zones, or failed to adjust for Day Light Savings? You waste your customer’s time, fail their expectations, cause them massive inconvenience, and shot yourself in the foot.
Making mistakes in numbers and dates causes confusion, and sometimes it’s better to spell things out. For example, there’s a difference in the way Europeans and Americans write the date numerically. 11/3 is November 3 in the US, but is usually taken as March 11 in Europe, because their standard is day/month/year instead of month/day/year. Make sure you get the numbers straight.
‘Spamming’ customer in-boxes
Now, people who opt-in to your email list have given permission for you to send them important emails and updates, but that doesn’t mean you can flood their in-boxes. Too many emails in too short a time can irritate customers into unsubscribing from your list. You need to find the balance between effective communication ( sharing information that can help your email-list subscribers) and ticking them off (giving them more stuff to read on top of everything else they have to juggle.)
When it comes to emailing frequency, it’s best to set expectations right from the start on how many times you intend to send email. That way, the recipients wouldn’t be put off and you can still keep them engaged.
While business can use other communication channels to boost reach and market penetration via social media platforms and push notifications in mobile apps, they still rely heavily on email to send updates, promos and newsletters to their subscribers. Email marketing is a very important part of the customer engagement experience, and to give them the best experience you can, you need to keep a sharp eye on the way you send your messages across.
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