Don’t Make These Mistakes With Your CRM List!

BY: MATT TOMPKINS Jul 8th, 2016

Let’s talk email marketing.

Marketers are constantly looking for ways to engage their customers and potential leads, and an easy, common way to do so is by leveraging email to grab some real estate in their inbox.

And yet, many email marketers are making simple mistakes that NEED to be avoided in order to have a successful email marketing campaign and strategy. Poor email strategy and etiquette will leave your customers looking like rapper Young Thug (pictured above), perturbed at what they see in their inbox. In fact, if you don’t watch out and avoid some of these mistakes, you may actually be BREAKING THE LAW (or at the very least, sending your message straight to the spam folder)!
Vert’s CRM and email marketing experts came together to break down the mistakes that email marketers make when they are creating their database of contacts and email addresses.

Here are 4 of the most common email list mistakes:

1. The emails you’ve collected didn’t opt in.

You have a list of contacts, and their email addresses. You’re prepping your campaign so that you can let these contacts know about your product offerings.

Did you let them know, though, that you would be sending them emails? If your email contacts didn’t opt-in, they aren’t expecting your emails. With emails inboxes as full as they are in the 21st century, unwelcome guests will get sent straight to, you guessed it…

Email Marketing - Spam

When you are collecting emails for your lists, you need to ensure that you have an opt-in checkbox where contacts can confirm that they’d like to receive your offer, your newsletter, whatever it is that you’ll be sending them in an attempt to get or keep their business. Some services even offer built-in ways to get a DOUBLE opt-in from contacts, in which they’ll check a box, and then confirm again, either via a confirmation email or a text message. This will increase your KPIs, as these contacts have let you know twice that they want to receive your messaging.

Some companies don’t even want to put in the work of collecting their emails the right way, either purchasing a list of random contacts (which email service providers such as Mailchimp and Emma don’t even allow in the first place), or worse, using nefarious programs like harvesting bots to crawl the internet and collect random emails for you. The latter tactic is actually ILLEGAL under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Violators of this federal law have been subject to rulings including house arrest and fines exceeding six figures!

2. You didn’t collect the right information from your contact

To properly use advanced email segmentation techniques with your CRM database, you need to make sure that you’ve collected all of the proper information from your contact when they chose to opt-in to your campaigns. To do this, you need to make sure that you have created fields in your database that will store all of this data, and that whatever spreadsheet or form-fill you’re using to capture the data is connected to these fields.

Here are some of the most common fields used when capturing information from contacts:

  1. First Name
  2. Last Name (Be sure first and last name are captured separately, so that you can properly implement merge fields)
  3. Email Address
  4. Phone Number
  5. City
  6. State
  7. Zip
  8. Lead Source/Referral (How did they find you?)
  9. Date of Birth
  10. Closest Location (if you’re a brick-and-mortar business)
  11. Product Purchases

Most other fields you would need would need to be custom-tailored to your business. Failure to implement proper fields for your contact data will hamstring your processes when you are attempting to create targeted campaigns.

3. You didn’t segment your list to target the proper audience.

If you don’t have your list divided in to targeted segments, you really aren’t executing proper email marketing. You’re just sending out a run-of-the-mill email blast.

There are countless ways and reasons to segment your list into different categories. Ultimately, you need to be able to target your audience in a way that increases your chances of engagement. For example, you don’t want to target someone in the early stages of the buying cycle with the same messaging as someone in the later stages of the buying cycle. At a more basic level, you don’t want to target an offer to someone in New York if it’s only available in Los Angeles. With proper segmenting, you can avoid these issues, as well as get creative in the ways you create content for the audiences within your audience.

To properly implement segmentation, you’ll need to make sure that your contacts have all of the necessary data fields to execute your plan. Whether that’s having your contact’s hometown, zip code, gender, or net worth, the more data you have, the more tools and flexibility you have at your disposal when targeting your campaign.

4. You’re still sending messages to an unsubscribed contact.

Remember the CAN-SPAM Act, which was mentioned briefly above? Well, another way to violate that federal law is to not follow protocols regarding unsubscribed users.

When a user chooses to opt-out from receiving future emails from you, they are to be placed in what is called a “suppression list”. This is simply a list of users who longer want to receive your messages. You need to use this list to ensure that no one that has unsubscribed from your email campaign is still receiving messages.

If your email service provider doesn’t automatically opt users out of your campaign once they unsubscribe, you have 10 days to manually remove these users from your campaign and add them to your suppression list. Luckily, most ESPs do this automatically, so as long as you respect your subscriber’s choice and don’t use the suppression list for anything nefarious, you should be in the clear. According to the FTC, each email sent in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to a penalty of up to $16,000, so don’t make this costly mistake with your unsubscribed users.
 
 
When putting together a list for your email marketing campaign, don’t take the easy way out. It’s very easy to simply buy or gather a list of email addresses and just blast your message out to them. Not only is this a bad idea if you want a return on the time and money you’ve invested into email marketing, there’s also a strong chance you’re skirting federal law. Using these tactics listed above, your email campaign will be CAN-SPAM compliant, and your contacts will be eagerly await its arrival.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Tompkins

Matt Tompkins

Immersed in all things digital since discovering Windows 95 as a toddler, I’ve parlayed childhood hobbies like burning CDs and building computer towers into a thriving career in digital marketing, specializing in email marketing and CRM for Vert. If you’re looking for me, you’ll probably find me at a hip-hop concert in downtown Atlanta.

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