Simple Dos and Don'ts of Email Marketing Automation

Email Marketing Automation is good.

It ensures cohesive strategy for improving brand engagement and for nurturing leads into conversions, sales and revenue.

When it is done right.

When it is done wrong, then it can have quite the opposite effect, dragging down a brand, scaring off leads, and causing sales to evaporate.

As with all things, doing email marketing automation “right” means understanding certain patterns and rules. This can mean the difference between success and failure.

With that in mind, here’s a few do’s and don’ts for those thinking of dipping their toes into the email marketing automation pool.

Do: Use enticing subject lines

If your subject lines don’t make people want to read your emails then all the automation in the world cannot help you.

Don’t: Send repetitive emails

The quickest way to make your emails look spammy and your company look like a drag is to send the same email over and over again.

Do: Be interesting

Do you (or your company) have something of value to offer? A good discount? Something to make me laugh? Something interesting in some way shape or form? No? Then why are you emailing me?

Don’t: Be boring

Sending an email just for the sake of sending it is dumb. If what you have to say is boring, and your design is boring and your subject line is boring, then guess what? Your brand just became boring.

Don’t: Oversell

Save your hyperboles and your impassioned pleas for your customer’s attention. In this space they mean next to nothing. Every claim of “best ever” “biggest sale” and “can’t miss” has been tried a thousand times over and with a thousand variations already. Also, if you do entice an open with such tactics and what’s on offer doesn’t measure up, your future emails will lose credibility.

Do: Maintain consistent brand voice

Does this email and its associated subject line sound like your brand? Does the language contain any signifiers that identify it as using your brand’s voice? If not, go back to the drawing board, lest it detract from the brand identification that you have worked so hard to build.

Do: Follow a cohesive strategy

Assuming that your company uses at least one other marketing channel besides email (hopefully several others!), is this email a part of a larger strategy? Do its design and the language contained in its body line up with this strategy? It should.

Don’t: Assume everyone will behave the same

People are unique, wonderful snowflakes. They have hopes and dreams and they all face challenges. Each is an individual and must be treated as such. This goes further than simply adding a name at the beginning of a subject line. Different approaches work for different people. Try a few out. See what works for whom, and proceed accordingly.

Don’t: Spam

Nobody likes spam.

Do: Use subject lines that create a positive brand experience

Put some effort into those subject lines. They are the one part of every marketing email that almost every recipient will see, whether they open it or not. Each one leaves a brand impression. So, the question is: What will that impression be? If it is a good one, that’s a point for your brand! Impressions are important. If you need help, get help!

Do: Use effective design and fonts

Graphic design has made great strides over the past 5 decades. Companies spend millions of dollars to make sure that their advertising, logos and business cards look juuuust right. This is because it makes a difference. If your emails do not adhere to basic principles of design and the psychology of branding/brand loyalty, your company is missing out.

Do: Attract and engage more leads

Email marketing automation is a funnel. You pour leads into the top and hope that revenue will drip out the bottom. A key part of this analogy lies in a steady supply of leads to pour into your funnel. If you have nothing to pour in, your drips will dry up. It’s science. Go get more.

Don’t: Assume those on your mailing list will always be there

30% of the people on your mailing list in January will no longer be on it come December. That is a fact. If you are losing more subscribers than you are gaining, you will eventually run out.

Do: Stand out in the crowd

Email marketing is a crowded space. Those who can separate their brands, their companies, their emails, can and will prosper. Those who can’t won’t. It is just that simple.

Do: Offer value

Offering value to the person receiving your marketing email is the most important thing you as an email marketer can do. This value can take many forms, from discounts to interesting anecdotes to cute pictures of monkeys riding bicycles, but the bottom line is that if the people who open your emails aren’t glad that they did once they have read them, they will resent you. And you don’t want to be resented. You want to be liked and appreciated. People who like you will keep opening your emails. People who resent you will ignore them or unsubscribe.

Don’t: YELL!

Capital letters and exclamation points are the refuge of the weak minded. Also, no one cares.

Don’t: Be pushy

Chill out! Not every email needs to result in a conversion. Email marketing is a conversation. This conversation can continue for weeks or months before any significant progress is made. As long as the conversation continues, you are winning. Pushing people to do something they don’t want to do can scare them away. Just keep talking, in calm, measured tones. They’ll need what you are offering, sooner or later (unless your product sucks).