For B2B marketers, there’s so much to love about email newsletters. When done right, they help you build your brand, engage your audience and nudge your prospects past the “awareness” stage in the Buyer’s Journey.
That’s probably why more than 80% percent of marketers consider email newsletters a pivotal part of their marketing strategy (according to a recent report from the Content Marketing Institute).
But of those marketers, how many are employing the critical best practices that make newsletters so effective in the first place? Unfortunately, there are a few glaring mistakes that we see time and time again; mistakes that will annoy readers, cause them to hit that “delete” button, and worse: become disengaged with your brand altogether. Here’s a count down of the top five worst mistakes and how to avoid them.
Mistake #5 – You’re Sending from “@noreply”
If there’s ever a way to make a poor first impression with your audience, sending your newsletter from a @donotreply or @noreply address takes the cake. This costly error is not only a surefire way to decrease open rates, but can also send your emails straight to spam-land.
More concerning, though, is the message you’re sending with an “@noreply” address. You’re instantly telling your readers not to get in touch with you and that communication is not a two-way street; a message that contradicts the very essence of content marketing.
Avoiding this mistake is easy: simply pick the person who will be “the name behind your newsletter” – and ideally, follow it up with a personalized message from that person. Your message will feel more human, heartfelt and a great way to foster meaningful engagement.
Mistake #4 – Your Preheaders Aren’t Working Hard Enough
By now, we all know the power of a good subject line. But what about your preheader/preview text? This little snippet of text that appears right below your subject line commands prime real estate (especially for your mobile viewers), and can essentially double your subject line’s strength. So why do only 41% of businesses fail to optimize it at all? (According to a study conducted by Salesforce Marketing Cloud). Here are a couple common preheader blunders:
- You leave it empty. Omitting your preheader text often results in messages that are anything but personal. Take, for example, these all-too-familiar messages that do nothing to entice readers to engage with your content.
- You repeat yourself. Some email tools may default to using the same preheader text as the subject line, in which case they will display as follows in your readers’ inboxes.
To avoid this mistake, simply pay attention! Always preview your emails before sending, preheader and all, to make sure your newsletter packs a good punch in someone’s inbox. Be sure you’re optimizing them in every way possible. Use them to set a clear expectation about “what’s inside.” You can also include first names, coupon codes and other unique identifiers for a more personalized message that will increase opens.
Mistake #3 – You’re Selling, Not Telling
Your readers love newsletters for good reason: they provide access to helpful, friendly advice that helps them through problems. And that’s a great way to build trust. So resist the urge to use your newsletter as your platform for direct sales pitches. Newsletter content should steer clear of CTAs like “Buy Now” – in fact, B2B email marketing agency Admitter found that Calls-to-Action in emails like “more info” beat those that say “buy now” in about 90 percent of cases!
To avoid this, simply employ the power of the soft sell to balance content with conversion goals. Put your logo front and center, always provide a way to get in touch and include links to send people to your website. Best to apply the 80/20 rule of thumb: 80% of your content should be helpful, 20% can tie back to your business and the services you provide. The example below strikes a nice balance:
Mistake #2 – You’re Too Focused on Company News
Did you just bring on a bunch of new hires? Unveil a brand new website design? Experience an influx of new clients? That’s… ahem… great. But here’s the truth: your company announcements are not necessarily a compelling enough reason for readers to open your email. Remember, your readers want helpful content that will benefit them.
The good news is that once you recognize this, you can accomplish both. Simply share your announcements by talking about it in terms of how it will help your readers. Does your new hire bring skills that can potentially help your customers in ways you haven’t been able to previously? Does your redesigned website offer customer resources that are easy to access? Here’s a great example from manufacturing company, Steiner Technologies.
Mistake #1 – Failing to Optimize for Mobile
With the increasing reliance on mobile devices, it should be no surprise that Failing to Optimize for Mobile is the #1 mistake you can make with your email newsletter. Consider these stats from the 2017 State of Email report:
- 54% of emails are opened on a mobile device.
- 70% of readers delete emails immediately if they don’t render on a mobile device.
- Nearly 20% of readers will unsubscribe if an email doesn’t “look good” on mobile.
So how can you avoid this mistake? There are several things to think about to ensure your newsletter looks just as good on a small mobile screen as it does on a desktop, including the following:
- Optimize image selections. Reduce image file sizes, be sure to add “alt” text, and avoid image-only emails – 33% of subscribers have images turned off by default on their device.
- Use scalable or responsive design.
- Consider short, succinct copy versus long copy blocks.
- Test the user experience to make sure readers can complete their desired action on mobile devices.
So there you have it! Avoid these top 5 mistakes to avoid if you want your B2B newsletter to deliver its true inbound potential.
In addition to the tips listed here, the best way to guarantee newsletter success it to make sure you’re working with a marketing team who is well-versed in email marketing and other best practices. Feel free to connect with our outsourced marketing team for help!