Solving 7 painful email marketing problems

Planning email marketing campaigns may not be the best part of your job, but it’s definitely something that is worth your time, and worth the money.

When your normal day to day work is on top of you, and then you have to start planning your Christmas campaigns in June, a little devil may be sat on your shoulder saying:

‘Don’t segment the list – just send it!’

‘Design takes too long – chuck in some images and get it sent’

‘Analysing reports is boring – just send the same email again’

Whilst it may save you time to take the easy option, it won’t do you any good in the long run. Shove that little devil off your shoulder, shake off that self-doubt and lethargy – and create a fantastic campaign.

Here are some common email marketing problems, and our solutions.

Problem No. 1: Generating clickthrough and open rates to meet conversion targets

Solution: Segment your lists

When you’re trying to find an answer to your problem, it can be hard to find something that is tried, tested and true, especially when it comes to email marketing. Everyone and their dog think that they have the answers.

Studies have found that specific words in the subject line, such as ‘Exclusive,’ can improve open rates by 14%, but you can’t use the same word for each and every campaign. It will become boring, repetitive and stop having impact.

By segmenting your lists you will achieve the click throughs and open rates you are looking for. By sending campaigns that are targeted specifically to the user, it greatly increases the likelihood of an open, click and conversion.

Look at reports to understand your contact’s behaviour, and this will help you send campaigns that your contact will want to receive.

Problem No. 2: Improving your strategy with a single email

Solution: Test every email you send

When you send a single email, it will be made of multiple factors. If your email flopped, was it because of your subject line or your imagery? Was it the text positioning or the colour of the call to action?

Unfortunately, as advanced as reporting systems are, they can’t pinpoint a problem for you. And you can’t improve your strategy with a single email. This makes it difficult to fix a problem quickly. That’s why you need to test.

A/B testing will benefit your overall email marketing campaign, and provides insight each and every day. Create a log of factors to test using an A/B split test, and make a note of your successes. The next time you have a problem, you’ll have a list of tried and tested factors you can immediately implement.

Problem No. 3: Optimising your campaign for mobile devices.

Solution: Use a one column layout in your campaign

Figures released by research firm Gartner state that around 74% of smartphone owners use it to check their emails. This figure is continually rising, so it’s clear your email needs to be optimised to suit the needs of these people.

A lot of email marketers hear the words ‘mobile optimisation’ and start panicking: what will it cost? How long will it take? Why do we need to do this again?

But there are simple ways to ensure your mobile readers feel included, without having to fork out for expensive software.

Mobile users want information in a clear, concise format. It must have larger buttons for chubby fingers, and the content must be to the point. The best way to accomplish this is by creating a one column template, as this will automatically adapt to a variety of screens, no matter what their size. Multi column templates and fancy formats are often used to catch the attention of the contacts, but if they’re on a mobile device, they’ll have a bad experience when dealing with your brand.

Problem No. 4: Not enough hours in the day

Solution: Use a customisable template

A lack of time is a sticking point for almost all businesses. We can all think of something else to do when we’re trying to put something off, especially if that something takes time and requires effort.

One of the easiest ways to save time on your email marketing campaign is to use a customisable template, which can be quickly changed when you need to send another one. Of course, you aren’t sending the same message, but the layout of the template, where the text and images are placed, and where your social sharing links are will remain the same. Or you could hire a company and use a managed email campaign (*cough* we can do this for you *cough*).

Problem No. 5: Designing emails with no design knowledge

Solution: Use pre-built templates

As mentioned in point 4, time is one thing that most businesses are short of. You may understand how and why email marketing works, but you may not have the design knowledge to put the email together.

This is where pre-built templates come in very handy. Have a set of templates to hand, and simply drop in the changeable content. It may be useful to have a designer to hand to offer advice, or help out if you get stuck.

Problem No. 6: You made a mistake in your campaign

Solution: Create an approval process or checklist

There’s nothing more frustrating than sending an email campaign, and THEN realising you’ve made a mistake or forgotten to include something important. Whether that is making a typo, forgetting social sharing links, or inputting the wrong text altogether – you want to avoid doing this again in the future.

Resolve this by having an approval procedure in place for your emails, or create a checklist. Creating a checklist is a quicker process, as an approval procedure may need to be referred to someone higher up the chain.

Check that you’re sending the email to the correct list, ensure all links works, and proofread all content. Have another person look over the email, as pair of fresh eyes may notice more inaccuracies.

Problem No. 7: Running multiple email campaigns at once

Solution: Create lists for each campaign

Speaking from experience, handling multiple email campaigns and sending to multiple lists is a difficult juggling act. Occasionally contacts belong to multiple lists, so they may receive multiple emails in a short space of time. This can cause headaches for you, the contact and for the software that you’re using.

The best way to avoid this is by using smart lists. For example, if you are sending an eBook to a list in the first week of the month, you can create two lists. One that ‘was sent eBook A’ and one that ‘was sent email in week 1’.

Ensure any leads that were sent an eBook are added to list number one. Then when you need to send another eBook, add a filter that removes any leads that are a member of list number one. Continue this process as you send emails across the month.

This may sound tricky, but in time the process will become easier, and your confusion will be reduced as you get a handle on things.

Have you experienced any other email marketing problems? Let us know, and we’ll try our best to solve them for you.

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