5 Email Mistakes Manufacturers Make That Ruin Their Marketing

Dealers and Distributors are an integral part of many custom manufacturers, serving as the big ‘business’ facilitating your B2B2C model (your ‘C’ being the end user who is actually using your product on a day to day basis.) Since 2020, email has had somewhat of a resurgence with email engagement rising across nearly every industry according to Mailchimp’s latest report “Mailchimp’s COVID‑19 Email Marketing Trends”*. 

Not to be the bearer of bad news, but if your email marketing is suffering despite these huge increases, it’s likely you are doing one of these 5 things which are killing your email engagement.

Here are the 5 things that are killing your email marketing efforts to your Dealers and Distributors.

1. Your list of Dealers and Distributors isn’t up to date

We have seen it 100 times but yet still don’t prepare for it–people move through companies, change positions, and as a result, change email addresses. When your list isn’t up to date, it will impact your email marketing efforts significantly for a number of reasons…

  • Your email will never reach the right person. This might be a given, but if you are sending your marketing messages to an empty inbox, chances are your email won’t get forwarded or end up in anyone’s inbox.
  • You might get flagged as spam for emailing old addresses. Another common trend we see is that emails will be sent out to the wrong email address, or to an expired email address, for months, sometimes years. Companies will use spam-checking software to detect when this type of behavior happens and set up spam traps with old email addresses. This means that you could be emailing a spam trap every time you send out an email and hurting your deliverability
  • Bad emails hurt deliverability to the good emails too. Even if you only have a small percent of bad emails, sending out marketing messages to those bad emails can hurt the messages reaching the inbox of the good emails as well. No joke! Not only does email database hygiene help you get better overall email deliverability but helps you reach your database more often.
2. You’re Selling when you should be Sharing

This might seem like a given, but can often be an overlooked detail. Manufacturers have a ton of awesome products and we want to talk about it–but sometimes we should dial it back just a touch and focus on engagement. 

Historically, when emails have gone out with a focus on educating or offering free advice, they have performed significantly better than sales focused or even product-focused emails. Sharing quality content can include…

  • Insightful video content or blog content (you don’t have to write it)
  • Case studies
  • Customer testimonial or story (a little salesy, but still good if the story is engaging)
  • Company news like company events, community participation, etc.
  • Industry news
  • Giveaways or contests

3. You’re Not Emailing Enough (or Too Little)

Despite what you might have heard, distance does NOT make the heart grow fonder. Instead, you might be forgotten if you are sending out communications regularly. At the same time, sending emails too often can wear out your audience and lead to something an old boss of mine coined as ’email blindness’–you appear in the inbox so frequently that they immediately dismiss what you are sending.

In either case, you should come up with a game plan to attack this–here is what I recommend…

  1. Commit to sending an email at least 1 time a week.
  2. Choose a day of the week and time of day that this email will go out and stick to it!
  3. Create the content to be ‘evergreen’. For example, don’t include anything restrained by time or something that make become obsolete.
  4. Build and send out at least 3 months of content, approximately 12 emails.
  5. Then make those emails automated so that every new person who comes into your email database will receive them, once a week, over the next 12 weeks.

This approach helps you identify what is working and what doesn’t while giving you a way to buffer new people coming into your database–even if they come in and you don’t have time to email them, they will still get this well-crafted ‘welcome nurture’. 

4. Your Dealer Is Blocking You (On Accident)

At the end of the day, your Dealer or Distributor’s main goal is to protect their staff from distractions and they spend a lot of time and energy making sure that ‘distracting’ or potentially ‘spammy’ emails are not getting in front of their employees.

This may come as a surprise, but more times than I can count I have seen Dealers inadvertently block their Suppliers and filter out their emails from ever landing in the inbox.

This can happen accidentally because you’ve hit a spam trap in the past (see above) or because your emails are coming off as ‘marketing‘ emails, but in either case, you need to get in front of their team by any means necessary!

The simplest way to get the ball rolling here is to reach out directly to your connection at your Dealer and just ask if your domain name has been whitelisted for email.

They are usually quick to find out and quick to let you know if they can whitelist or not. I haven’t run into many situations where they will NOT whitelist, unless there are some concerns around privacy.

If you get pushback on whitelisting the domain, no problem–offer to provide the Dealer with the email HTML directly so that they can send it out to their team internally and adhere to all of their rules.

If you have decent relationship, this is usually not a problem and is a very low lift activity for them that can yield a great return for you!

5. Your Emails Are Too Pretty

This is meant to be a little funny, but there is a lot of truth to it. Emails that are well designed with a lot of images, great-sounding copy and lots of links set off the ‘newsletter’ alarms in many email inboxes and push them to either the non-prioritized inbox OR to the spam folder.

Have you ever noticed that plain text emails have a better chance of getting in front of you within your inbox than many marketing emails? This is the reason why.

Branding is important and I realize that not every email can be a mostly plain text email, but sending out underdesigned, plain text emails could be the perfect way to increase inbox visibility, get more opens on your emails, and drive a better click-through rate.
The best part? These plain text emails that perform really well, will set up your marketing emails to get in front of your audience even more by building your sender reputation with your domain name.
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The biggest loss you’ll experience is the loss of not taking action sooner when you could have been moving on it.
At Digital Pew, we specialize in email marketing and marketing automation and would love to share a more nuanced view of your marketing strategy. We work with custom manufacturers day in and day out and if you are looking to elevate your communications strategy in a major way, I’d love to book a call with you and learn more about your needs and business.
In the meantime, check out the other resources in our resource library–I look forward to hearing from you!

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