Hollywood Horror Films Should Provide the Only Scares This Halloween: Tips to Avoid An Email Marketing Nightmare
The leaves are changing, it’s getting darker earlier and fall is officially upon us; for email marketers, this means one thing — a retail season of candy, costumes and profit, otherwise known as Halloween. While October is a great month to engage with consumer bases in fun, simple — and of course, spooky — ways, there are certainly frightful issues that can jump out and turn innocent email campaigns into marketing horror stories. Marketers can use the following tips to avoid email marketing nightmares that could leave one screaming for help.
Dawn of the Dead Ends
It was a dreary Halloween night. The wind was howling and, in a land far, far away, a marketer had just discovered his entire list was comprised of “email zombies.”
To an email marketer, there is nothing spookier than an email list full of inactive contacts. The reason this presents such a fright is grounded in the fact that a list comprised of valid email addresses is critical to deliverability and click-through rates. When the number of bounces or spam exceeds a specific threshold, messages can be sent to the spam folder or even get blocked. According to a recent Campaigner survey, nearly 28 percent of respondents cite subscriber list errors as their biggest fright this season.
Scrubbing lists regularly is a sound strategy to ensure campaign success and fresh results. This requires reviewing existing lists and removing any contacts who have been unresponsive for a long period of time as well as contacts who either did not opt-in in the first place or have un-subscribed. These people clearly do not want to receive emails and will only hurt marketers’ open rates. There are, however, numerous ways to wake zombies, and these ‘dead’ email subscribers can also be brought back to life with a little work. Marketers can start by sending a win-back email for one last shot at interaction and re-engagement. This could entail offering a promotion and using well-crafted content to remind subscribers why they were attracted to the brand in the first place.
Double, Double Toil and Punctuation Troubles
Grammar mistakes are the shadow on the moon at night, filling our dreams to the brim with fright.
To an email marketer, there are few things as chilling and spine-tingling as a punctuation slip-up. Scarier than any ghost or ghoul this season, typos are the saboteurs that undermine email content and drive a stake through the heart of a carefully crafted campaign. Not only does skipping a spell-check make for a messy email, but it also reflects poorly on the sender. Spelling, grammar and accuracy mistakes can be a huge distraction for a reader and can easily wound a marketer’s credibility.
Checking for errors and proofreading carefully may seem obvious, so why is it often difficult to catch these little mistakes? According to psychologist Tom Stafford, it starts with the fact that, when marketers are producing content, they try to convey meaning, which is a very high-level task. For this reason, it can be easy for the brain to generalize simple, component parts (like turning letters into words and words into sentences) so it can focus on more complex tasks (like combining sentences into complex ideas). In order to avoid a grammatical nightmare, marketers should always do a second scan or request another set of eyes to review an email before sending it out. Additionally, reading an email out loud can do wonders to illuminate mistakes that might have otherwise been missed.
Nightmare on Design Street
In the movie, Nightmare on Elm Street, the protagonist, Nancy Thompson delivers a cautionary message to her friends in order to escape the wrath of Freddy Kruger, “Whatever you do…don’t fall asleep.” Had Nancy been delivering this message to email marketers today, it would go a little something like, “Whatever you do, don’t forget to create compelling email content and design.”
Email content and design are both critical to the success of a campaign. For example, when it comes to design, marketers should start by crafting the most optimal viewing experience possible by creating emails that render properly to allow easy navigation and minimal resizing. In our age of convenience, users will no longer bother with emails that need reformatting to be viewed on a mobile device. When it comes to content, marketers can begin by ensuring content and messaging is relevant, timely and tactful. For instance, tone-deaf content that clashes with sensitive current events have given companies like Airbnb and Adidas quite the fright in the past.
There is no reason Halloween should be scary for email marketers! By performing some maintenance on subscriber lists, meticulously proofreading campaigns and crafting effective email content and designs, marketers can avoid losing their heads this season amidst a campaign horror story.