- The Dreaded Typo
Perhaps you’re writing the template that’s going to become your ‘Thanks For Your Purchase!’ email. But in your haste to get back to emailing clients directly, you didn’t notice all the typos you left in there. Now, if you received an email with a few typos in it, it’s not the end of the world. But we’re talking about an email that’s going to get sent to every single customer who ever buys something from you. If there’s a typo in every single one of those emails, it’s not going to look good, even if it isn’t that important.
- Not Personalising Your Emails
Here’s one that’s more down to how you use automation rather than human error. If you’re going to automate your marketing process, be it your emails or some other way, you have to make sure that they don’t actually come across as automatic bulk emails. Back in the day, businesses would manually send out bulk emails to their lists with greetings like ‘Dear Valued Customer’ and similar. It’s off-putting now that the Internet has become so much more personal and social. So mistakes that might fall into this category include not using your customers’ names and not segmenting your list into different demographics (e.g. men/women, teenagers/retirees).
There are only a few things that are stranger than receiving multiple emails with the same information from the same sender. Let’s say you sorted out all the typos in your ‘Thanks For Your Purchase!’ email—great. But what if the email gets triggered twice, and sent to the same recipient twice, even though they only made the one purchase? With a generic marketing email that might not be such a problem. But if you get two transactional emails in a row, you’re going to think ‘Hold on—did I accidentally place two orders?’ You’d probably head back to the site to confirm that you didn’t, but you don’t want to force your customers to have to do that. Again, it’ll damage your credibility in their eyes. Figure out what triggered two emails to send at once: did your CRM platform send one email for each item bought? Or was it a technical error? Take a look and figure it out.
- Sending Emails At The Wrong Time
Another problem is when you send the right email, with no typos, and to the right people… But at the wrong time! This isn’t so much a problem with credibility but with effectiveness. If you run a U.K. based small business, what’s the point in sending out an email in the wee hours of the morning? All your customers are asleep! And when they wake up in the morning to check their inboxes (which everyone does, even if we promise ourselves we’ll chill out instead of thinking about work) it’ll be buried under a bunch of other emails. Better is to send it when you know they’re going to see it, like when they’re on the morning commute, or at lunch. Double check that they’re set to go out at the right time in future while you’re at it!
So, now the important bit: how can you avoid making mistakes like these?
This may seem like common sense to most, but surprisingly many individuals do not spend the necessary time proofreading their emails before sending them, and the same applies to the templates you use for your automated emails too. If you spend your time working on these templates, knowing that they’re going to be so crucial to your campaigns, put just as much effort into proofreading them once you’re done with them. Time is certainly a valuable commodity in today’s world; if you always find yourself stretched for time when you’re working on a template, don’t worry: take your time. It’s worth doing right, whether you hit your preferred deadline or not, so always proofread your templates.
Take More Time, Save More Time
Next up is the best way to avoid our second problem above. Now, one of the main points of automating your service emails/newsletters is to save time: we can all agree on that. But that doesn’t mean you can schedule a big long list of service emails over the course of an afternoon and leave it at that. First of all you have to make sure that each of your emails is personalised (which is easy enough because good CRMs include this as a feature as standard). But not only that, you have to take the time to analyse your campaigns and do a little A/B testing. This is going to help you narrow down your specific target audiences and send out specific campaigns just for them.
One other suggestion is to make sure your email subscribers all have valid emails. This will help significantly reduce your bounce rates and help you have more understanding of your user engagement. Here is a brilliant article which covers bulk email validation services for email lists.
Be Brave: Apologise Sometimes!
If it’s too late, and your mistake has been made, there’s often not much of a problem, at least not on the customer’s end. If you sent your email at the wrong time, it’ll impact your bottom line, but you’ll have to apologise to your boss (and maybe the shareholders) rather than to the customer. When it’s a problem like an email getting triggered when it shouldn’t be—like purchase emails that shouldn’t have been sent out—that’s when you move beyond ‘Oh well!’ to ‘We messed up!’ territory. If that’s the case, there’s nothing wrong with apologising to the affected customer or customers.
Long story short, automation is going to get you closer to marketing nirvana than ever before. That applies to how you figure out your target market, segment your email lists, and, yes, how you email people. There are going to be the occasional blips, and the best way to deal with them is to learn, move on, and proofread a little more in the future!