Ask Intronis: How do I avoid making common email marketing mistakes?

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Jun 27, 2016 7:30:00 AM

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Q: At my MSP, we’ve tried email marketing, and I really think it’s just not for us. We’ve sent out multiple emails to our prospects, and our unsubscribe list has skyrocketed. Even worse, only a few people have clicked on our CTAs. We’re almost ready to throw in the towel at this point, but we’re going to give it one more shot. Are there any common email marketing mistakes I should try to avoid?

You aren’t alone; we’ve heard from many other that MSPs had the same trouble with their email marketing. We’re happy that you’re giving it another chance, though. Email marketing isn’t always successful on the first round, which is why you need to test different ideas and approaches in order to find what works with your audience. When you do find the right groove, email marketing can be a good tool to use to alert prospects about a new service or teach them about new security threats.

To give you the best advice on what not to do with your email marketing, we consulted our director of partner marketing, Lindsay Faria. Between conducting numerous email marketing campaigns and creating our newsletter each month, she really understands what our partners are looking for when opening—or not opening—an email. Here are Lindsay’s top three things to avoid when creating an email marketing campaign:

1.     Avoid confusing CTAs

email-marketing_AI.jpgAvoid mixing too many messages into the same email. Instead, have one main theme for an email, and stick to it. If you’re offering a webinar to your customers on how to avoid phishing attacks, don’t add in a separate call to action (CTA) to download your HIPAA white paper in the same message. Keep your message focused on the webinar. 

Also, don’t just put one CTA on the bottom of the email and hope your customer clicks on it. When you’re creating your email, find multiple places to link to the page you want the reader to land on. An easy way to do this is to embed your link when you first mention the webinar, and then later on include a more distinct CTA, such as a button that says “Click here to register for the webinar.” Spelling out your CTA makes it clear what action your customer should take next, and by sprinkling the CTA throughout the email, you can easily capture your reader before they get to the end of the email. Inserting a CTA in the early part of the email will help increase your click rate as well.

MSP

Plus, you shouldn’t just assume your landing page works. Test your links a few times before you deploy your email to make sure they’re all directed to the correct page. Then, test everything on the landing page to make sure it works. Is the landing page coming up as a 401 error? Is the form on your landing page accurately collecting information and, more importantly, reporting the information? These are a few vital factors that can make or break your email marketing, and they often get overlooked.

2.   Don’t clutter your messaging. 

When creating your email, use clear, concise subject lines that explain what the email is about. Don’t use something misleading. Creating gimmicky subject lines with words like winner, free, or act now, may result in your email being flagged as spam.

When you get to the body of the email, keep it short and to the point. If your email is too long, it won’t get read. Instead of bombarding readers with information in the email, add additional information on the landing page.

Also, to have a better success rate, make sure what you’re sharing is relevant to your prospects. If you send a lot of content that isn’t relevant, your audience will unsubscribe.  

3.     Don’t forget to measure your success.

Have you heard the saying “That which is measured, improves”? It’s true. Don’t assume after one unsuccessful email blast that it’s not the right way to communicate with your customers and prospects. Equally important is not to assume that because you sent one high performing email that you don’t need to scrutinize future campaigns. You’ll want to make it standard practice to test and measure various metrics – open rates, click rates, and form completion rates, for example. Start with . Test different subject lines, different CTA placements, and different email formats. Use small tweaks to differentiate the emails, so you can see what aspect created a positive correlation. The key here is to be persistent; test and iterate. Then, do less of what doesn’t work and more of what does.

E-book: 11 Habits of Highly Effective MSP Marketers

Timing plays an important role in how responsive an audience is to your email as well. Wait until you think they’ll have an opportunity to be able to read it. For example, Monday morning usually isn’t the best time to send an email because if your target audience hasn’t looked at email over the weekend, they might be overwhelmed with the state of their inbox and delete your email right away. Instead, send your email at a time you think they’ll have a minute to read it. Consider what might be ‘downtime’ for your audience – do they tend to catch up on non-customer facing communication over the weekend or in the evenings?

Believe it or not, who the sender is can also impact open rates. People are more likely to open an email from a person they know. So, if your email is generically from your MSP business, they might not feel compelled to open it. However, if their account manager or president of your company reaches out to them, they’ll be more apt to open it.

Lastly, to have a successful campaign, make sure you don’t include people who have opted out. If they have opted out or unsubscribed in the past, remove them from your lists. To avoid sending unwanted messages, you need to have an opt-out option and filter your list accordingly.

Although email marketing takes a little time to get right, doing so will help enable you to take your business to the next level.  We encourage you to utilize these tips and keep forging forward with your email marketing. Best of luck and don’t give up!

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Photo  Credit: Yoel Ben-Avraham via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons 2.0 liscence. 

Ask Intronis is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between. Submit your questions by emailing AskIntronis@intronis.com

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