After producing thousands of email campaigns for various agencies, we have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Today we will explore those bad email campaigns and what mistakes we see most often.
1. All you talk about is your agency
This is probably the mistake we see most often. Someone writes an email and spends four paragraphs explaining why they are the greatest social media agency ever.
The problem is, never once in those four paragraphs did they talk about prospect or a problem the prospect is looking to solve. So basically, the prospect just immediately tuned them out.
Solution: Open your emails with a startling stat or acknowledgement of a pain point that prospect is struggling with.
2. Your email is too good looking
We get it, you’re a creative shop with amazing design people. You want to create an email that looks amazing and really jumps off the page with fantastic images.
However, the problem is that all those images immediately tell a reader that this a marketing email and they are prone to delete it without ever even opening it up. Or, even worse, those images may not immediately download due to certain email settings and you just sent a blank email that they have to approve.
FACT: No brand has ever chosen to work with an agency because your email really really ridiculously good looking.
Solution: Keep it text only and simple. Your emails will feel more personal and less likely to get immediately deleted.
3. Your target list huge
It’s tough to narrow down and focus your prospect list when there are so many awesome companies out there to work with.
The last thing you want to do is overlook someone that could use your services, so you add everyone to one big list and send to them. The problem with this? It’s way too general, which makes it tough to really speak to any one prospect’s specific pain points.
4. Your target list is tiny
You don’t want to spam random people, so you make a list with one specific target per company, and then the list becomes really, really small. The problem here is that you don’t give yourself much room for error if a person has left the company or if the organization has multiple decision makers.
Solution: Channel your inner Goldilocks. We have our agency clients use a process called hyper targeting. This is basically where we can grab multiple people in similar roles within companies that we want to go after, while keeping lists separated by industry or company size.
For instance, List #1 is your primary target list of companies within Retail and Apparel with a very specific title. And List #2 is a secondary group where you target companies in other industries that you have less experience with and then expand job titles to anyone in marketing.
5. There’s no Call To Action
I’ve seen so many emails that spend so much time talking about how great the agency is, and then finish with something like “We would love to hear from you if you’re interested.” Ugh.
With every email there has to be a purpose to what you are doing; so make sure that every email lives up to that purpose with a CTA that asks them to do something.
Solution: Be aggressive. Not like crazy aggressive, but if you’re going to reach out to these folks, actually ask for something. You can ask for them to click a link to a case study, visit your website, or even just ask for the meeting outright, but be specific and clear. An email with no call to action will almost always ensure that no action is taken.
6. Your subject line is terrible
Subject lines are tricky and can immediately affect the open rates of the emails you send.
A lot of time we see agencies creating subject lines that are long and detailed so the reader knows exactly what is in the email. The trouble with this? The subject line becomes way too long and doesn’t feel natural.
Solution: Short and simple. Be straightforward and concise. You want this to grab a prospect’s attention. Think of it as a headline, and perhaps even throw in a dash of mystery with a word like “Opportunity” or “Idea.”
A/B test your subject lines and see what your particular audience responds to best. This isn’t a perfect science so do not be afraid to try new things.
7. Trying too hard to be witty or cheeky
There is nothing worse than reading an email that includes a mildly politically incorrect comment, and then 30 minutes later receiving an email from a CEO apologizing for their Marketing Director’s “innocent mistake.”
It’s never fun to read these emails – much less write them. Plus, it sends a bad message to your prospects about your organization.
Solution: Leave the social satire to Jon Stewart and John Oliver. You can always show your wit later in more one-to-one communications when you know the person, but for now, let’s attract them the old fashioned way…by talking about them and their problems.