Smiling on phone

The Number One Error in Email Marketing

Don’t broadcast!

We all know people that don’t let you speak.

They just talk at you rather than with you. They’re too busy sharing their life to consider that you might have something to say.

Well – be careful you’re not doing the same with your email marketing.
The question to ask yourself is:

“Are you listening?”

Listening is understanding

People chatting on lake

Listening isn’t just about saying nothing and letting the other person speak. It’s about understanding what they are interested in.

We all enjoy talking to someone who is genuinely listening.

What does it mean to actually listen by email? Well, every email you send should be an opportunity to learn rather than an opportunity to sell. That takes a bit of work up front.


Set up your email to listen


Try and get beyond demographics and, as this great blog from litmus suggests, focus on:

  • What is the customer doing? Are they opening, clicking or purchasing (“stage”)? Which products are they focussed on (“product”)?
  • How are they interacting? What sort of emails are interesting them (“content”)? Is it offers or reviews of latest products?
  • Why are they with you? Is it because you are cheap, or have fast delivery, or have great support (“motive”)?

These few questions for the basis of your segmentation. Include them as fields in your database and be on a relentless search to improve them.

Use Trial and Error

Where you have gaps, be prepared to test. See how a subset of your contacts react to an email on the latest new product. Or send them an alternative product to see if they open the email.

Ask Questions

Don’t be frightened to ask. It’s the basis of any good customer service. Your contacts will respond well to questions like:

  • How can we serve you better?
  • Which products can we keep you informed on?
  • Which parts of our offering do you find most useful?

You can even embed a survey question in an email.

Encourage Dialogue

Send your emails from a real person and be ready to respond. Even better if that person is their contact point. But make sure you are ready to respond fast! The majority of your recipients will open the email soon after receiving it or not at all.

Focus and Vary

Don’t send all your contacts the same email. Create multiple communications and select the one that suits each customer best based on their segments (stage/ product/ content/ motive)

Refine, Refine, Refine

Add, most importantly, after every email you send make sure to update and refine the information you have against each customer. Have they just clicked through on a different product than before? Have they watched a video of the latest new product?

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