Are there any tricks to email marketing?

In a word, no.

Of course, great copy, design and images will all help your email get opened, read and actioned, but there are no ‘tricks’ to success.

The only way to get results is to avoid dodgy practices.

How to lose subscribers

If you want to lose subscribers hand over fist there are a couple of practices I can recommend.

1. Sleight of subject line

You want to make sure your emails get opened, so it’s tempting to dabble in the dark arts.

The dark art I’m alluding to here is using a subject line that will tempt your recipients to open your email. You may not think there’s anything wrong with that and, assuming it relates to the content of your email, you’d be right. But the problems start when it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the email’s content.

Your subscribers aren’t stupid; if you do that once you’ll lose their trust instantly.

Plus, if they lose their trust in your emails, they’ll lose their trust in your company. If you go one step further and use things like these in your subject line:

  • Fwd:
  • Re:
  • Transaction confirmation

You’ll not only see your mailing list shrink, you may also find yourself being listed as a spammer and end up on the wrong side of the regulatory authorities.

The next one will land you in hot water too.

2. Hiding your opt out link

Yes, I know you’ve worked hard to grow your mailing list, but that’s no excuse for trying to keep them by hiding or omitting your opt out link.

You might think that by hiding or removing the link your subscribers will just sit back and happily allow your emails to continue to pop into their in box.

They won’t.

They’ll do everything in their power to get off your list by:

  • Naming and shaming you on every ‘bad emailer’ list they can find
  • Marking all your emails as spam
  • Complain about you on social media
  • Warn their friends, family and colleagues not to do business with you

The list is endless.

Not only that, by forcing your subscribers to remain on your list, your list will grow potentially costing you more money (depending on your email service).

If you want to retain subscribers try offering a bonus offer when they get through to the unsubscribe page, let them pause their subscription or, if you segment your list sending different emails to different customer segments, offer them an alternative email.

Both of these appear, onĀ  the surface, as the perfect way to retain subscribers. But you’re not ‘retaining’ them, you’re hacking them off and losing customers hand over fist.

If you’re going to do email marketing make sure you’re transparent in everything you do. Use subject lines that are true to your content and always have a visible opt out link and keep your subscribers on your side.