3 Surefire ways to fail at email marketing

There are so many reasons why every company out there should be focusing their efforts on an email marketing strategy.

        • 91% of consumers check their email at least once a day./ul>
        • Email is the most popular activity on smartphones among users ages 18-44.
        • 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices.
        • 66% of US online consumers, ages 15 and up made a purchase as a result of email marketing messages.
        • Over 70% of mobile purchasing decisions are influenced by promotional emails.
        • Nearly one third of email recipients open email based on subject line alone.

But before you can find success with email marketing you need to first build a solid list. There are right ways and wrong ways to building your email marketing list. If you build your list the wrong way you not only open yourself to legal issues, but you will also severely decrease your chances for success. If you build it the right way you will see higher open rates, higher click through rates, higher conversions, higher customer loyalty, lower spam reporting and lower unsubscribe rates.

Let’s explore three ways you should NOT build a list.

Do not add everyone you are connected to on various social networks to your email list.

There is a fairly heated debate going around on this one. I have heard there are people who have recommended others go out and export their entire LinkedIn connect list and add those people to their email list. I am adamantly against this. It’s one thing to send a LinkedIn message to a couple of people, it is an entirely different things to download your whole list just to add those people to your email database. Not only will you immediately hurt your reputation by doing this, you risk getting marked as spam which puts you at risk for getting in some BIG trouble with the FCC (the organization that oversees the Can Spam Laws in the US)

Do not add everyone who gives you a business card to your email list.

This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I network a TON. I am often times added without my permission to marketing email list. I can’t tell you how many pampered chef, REALTORS and mortgage folks email me who I can’t even remember meeting. Do not go around collecting business cards to grow your email list. This is a lose lose strategy.

And now for the worst offender: The purchasing of email list.

This is a waste of money that would be better spent on marketing or creating campaigns that will help you build an email list of people who actually want to get your emails. It’s not technically illegal, but many ESPs—including Constant Contact, Mailchimp and Emma—prohibit sending to purchased lists. Unless you want to have a HUGE amount of people annoyed with your company and marketing you as spam, avoid this strategy by all cost.