Not having a properly integrated e-mail / newsletter programme. Sending out newsletters from my normal e-mail programme meant it was incredibly difficult to keep track of subscribers, non-subscribers and those whose e-mails had changed.
If your topic is of a sensitive nature. the last thing you want is to embarrass your subscribers by sharing their e-mail address with hundreds of other people.
Correcting Mistake No. 1
Invest in a good mail management programme which captures new users and alerts you to unsubscribers and bounced e-mails.
Fortunately I had learned a long long time ago NEVER to send out an e-mail to a group of people with everyone's e-mail visible to everyone else. Apart from privacy issues you are giving away your most valuable web asset – your contacts list.
Mistake No. 2
I am impulsive, I do things randomly, I like colour and so I went wild using half a dozen different fonts, lots of colour and too often articles that were created in a hurry without sufficient attention being paid to spelling, grammar, layout and structure.
Correcting Mistake No. 2
Put yourself in your reader's shoes. Imagine how they will react when your mail drops into their inbox. Have a standard, simple layout that is clean with perhaps your headings in a different colour.
Use short paragraphs, simple language with plenty of whitespace so your readers do not become overwhelmed.
Do not send your first draft. Preferably sleep on the draft and edit the next day or even better get a co-worker to check for content, grammar and spelling.
A good way to check spelling is to read backwards so your eyes don't gloss over typos.
Check each link in your e-mail to make sure it goes to the right place. It is so frustrating when you are reading something interesting, click on a link and it doesn't work.
Mistake No. 3
Sending newsletters at random intervals.
Correcting Mistake No. 3
As with any marketing exercise you need to send out your marketing messages consistently.
Information overload is a real problem for most of us. If your subscriber suddenly gets a flurry of mails they may well get irritated and unsubscribe. On the other hand if you only contact them every 3 months they will have forgotten you and you will need to start again.
Mistake No. 4
Not promptly removing your "Unsubscribes". People can get very irate if they have unsubscribed and you continue to send them e-mails. Not good for your business.
Correcting Mistake No. 4
Having an "unsubscribe" link in your mail is legally required. People's needs and interests change. You may also have annoyed them if you have talked about something controversial and they have a different view. Most newsletter extensions include the option to ask a couple of questions as to why someone is unsubscribing. This is very useful.
Once someone unsubscribes remove them from your database immediately. I keep a separate list of all my "unsubscribes" so I can always go back and check.
On the other hand also make sure you have a "Confirm or Edit Your Subscription" in each of your mails. People change jobs, get new e-mail addresses and you want to keep in touch with them.
Mistake No. 5
Badgering your subscribers with products you want to sell.
Correcting Mistake No. 5
Newsletters are called newsletters because you are sharing news that you hope will be interesting to your subscribers. They want to learn about the particular topic you are writing about. If you have numerous "Buy Now" and "Special Offer" buttons and little else your subscribers will get angry and go elsewhere.
Have one main story and include a few links to other relevant content.
By all means have a "Call to Action" inviting your readers to ask questions, book for an event, go to your online shop or take advantage of a special offer. Just don't make this the focus of your newsletter.
Mistake No. 6
Constantly changing your "Sender" information in the hope that you can trick more people into opening your mails.
Correcting Mistake No. 6
Build your brand so your subscribers get to recognise your e-mails.
If you are constantly chopping and changing you will also be penalised by your ISP and the receiving ISP (Internet Service Provider) who will block your mails as SPAM.
Mistake No. 7
Forgetting to put your contact information in your e-mails.
Correcting Mistake No. 7
Have a standard e-mail template that includes your company or blog name, your contact phone number, an e-mail address and your web address. Include links to all the Social Media that you are active on.
Mistake No. 8
Giving up because you think no-one is reading your newsletters.
Correcting Mistake No. 8
My newsletter programme tracks how many of my e-mails are delivered, opened, forwarded or bounced and also those who unsubscribe. As my database is now quite big I decided to create a spreadsheet which tracks opening of the newsletters after the initial sending.
I have been amazed that my newsletters are still being read months after I have sent them. Sometimes people only check their mail every few months or they store the newsletters to read at a later date.
Our newsletters are also frequently forwarded to other people. Out of the blue we will get a call from a prospective client who will tell us they have been advised to contact us. The referring person is frequently someone we have never heard of.
An additional tool I use is to have box on the front page of my site with the latest 5 newsletters which makes it easy for people who might have missed a newsletter to read it without having to search the site.
Mistake No. 9
Relying on our newsletters to be delivered to our subscribers inboxes without interference.
Correcting Mistake No. 9
Subscribers will often give you their work address and their job has no link to their interest in what you offer. Businesses will frequently block these mails and you will be none the wiser.
I ask subscribers to provide a personal e-mail address to reduce this risk.
Be careful of the words used in your mails. If they look SPAMMY or contain foul language or sexual terminology the risk of not getting your mails through is vastly increased. Choose your words carefully.
Choose your subject line with great care. A short, punchy, interesting and intriguing subject line will greatly encourage your subscribers to want to open your newsletter.
Mistake No. 10
Assuming your subscriber list will grow all by itself.
Correcting Mistake No. 10
Share your newsletters by putting links on all your Social Media and invite people to Subscribe. Include your web address with a Subscribe invitation on all your marketing material.
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