We’ve highlighted some great tools in previous posts to make your bulk emailing to clients simple and actionable, including personalizing your emails and investing in a system that makes bulk emailing customized, affordable and less time consuming than traditional systems. But there are some pitfalls to watch out for even when following the rules from our “2 Easy Ways to Personalize Bulk Emails” post.
One aspect of emailing clients that is often forgotten is that many people are now reading emails on their mobile devices. In fact, according to recent research 41% of emails in 2012 were opened on a mobile device and that percentage is expected to increase this year and in the years to come. Therefore, writing and formatting emails that are simple and actionable is key for any user, on mobile, tablets and computers.
Below we outline some bulk emailing “don’ts” to keep in mind when setting up your bulk email system or when shopping around for bulk email services or bulk email providers.
1. Don’t style your emails with excess formatting and images.
Nothing says you’ve just received a bulk email more than attached images (especially ones that are just part of your signature, yuck!) or an overly styled email. These are big flashing lights that say “bulk!” and “impersonal” which amounts essentially to “Don’t bother even reading me! Nothing important here!”.
And yes before you even say it, we know that Apple sends overly styled emails with a million images and they are so rich and famous and amazing. But Apple probably does that because they have an enthusiastic following who will read their emails no matter what. You on the other hand, as a small or medium size business, are probably not in that position (when was the last time you had a line of people wait for you to open just because you announced a new product?). Even Google sends out simple, text only, emails that have the links you need in order to complete the action they need or want you to do. What’s good for Google is most likely good for you too (except Google+ obviously :p).
Add to that, as we stated above, many people read their emails on mobile devices. All of the styling and formatting that went into your nice looking email is lost on mobile and can even create wonky formatting issues for the reader, a sure ticket to delete city. While you might always have images download to your mobile device without problems or use a certain app that doesn’t create these issues, don’t assume everybody else does that too. Err on the side of caution and create a simple email design that will look good across multiple platforms.
2. Don’t write long emails.
Keep it simple. A greeting, the action you’d like them to perform and the link to do so. That’s it! But don’t forget to say thank you!
3. Don’t just give information, give a call to action!
We’ve mentioned this point a few times in this post already but it deserves its own section since it’s so important! When sending out a request to your clients, like to sign up for the next session, pay an outstanding balance or complete a certain form, don’t bog down the email and confuse the reader with unnecessary information. They might only read the first half of your email and if that doesn’t include what they need to do and how to do it, they may never do it and you’re left sending follow up emails to them with further requests which will only annoy them and still leave you empty handed and wasting time with all this unnecessary communication. You are also kind of defeating the purpose of having (and paying for) an automated communication system to do this work for you!
As part of keeping the email short and sweet, make sure the subject of the email and the text of the email focus on what is needed from them. Include an easily identifiable and clickable link to take them to the page (preferably on your website) where they can go to complete the action.
By keeping your messages straightforward, you will get the response you want. Especially if the call to action is about money. By following our tips you’ll get paid faster, guaranteed.
There’s a great eBook that goes into a ton of detail about how to effectively email and communicate with attendees, which you can download free here.
4. Don’t attach anything.
If you are emailing attached forms for clients to fill out (like say, a payment form) completing this task through your website is a much better and easier solution than an attached form that needs to be printed or filled out, resaved and then emailed (or worse, mailed) back. The recipient can click on a link within the email, add the information needed, submit it and be done.
For example, an event info sheet that exists as a page on your website (instead of an attached actual flyer in PDF form) need only be linked in your email and the user can then easily view and add your event to their calendars or forward the link to others who might be interested in attending, no matter what device they are using.
Not only are these solutions best for your clients but it all comes back to another key element of your business: driving traffic to your website. Your website is the hub of your business. It is the gateway to your social media profiles, more detailed information, photos and videos, etc. Once you get them to your site to perform an action, they might stay a while. Perhaps they’ll check out your Facebook or Twitter page since you have an easy button to press on your homepage (do you!?) and they’ll like you/follow you and interact with you, which then means your posts and updates THERE will be seen by your clients, who then might share your posts and tweets….it just keeps going on and on on from there…
Conclusion: Bulk Emailing Mistakes to Avoid
In the end, what is best for your business is having your clients feel connected to you and providing an opportunity for your readers to engage with you in your spaces (Facebook, Twitter, your blog, your website, etc) as much as possible.
This communication is what keeps them in the loop, keeps your company relevant and current for them and ultimately creates happier clients who are engaged with thoughtful and purposeful communication with you, rather than impersonal and generic bulk emailing.