Email Marketing Mistakes Not To Make

Great marketing article for all B2B and B2C businesses to consider before hitting the online send button.

Five E-mail Marketing Mistakes that Film Producers and Distributors Need to Avoid

E-mail marketing is tough. A study by Forrester research shows that while 83% of companies attempt e-marketing less than 5% are successful. What's the secret?

Marketing TargetsThere's no secret, per se, but film and video distributors targeting license buyers need to be informed about all the potential pitfalls. A good e-mail marketing campaign demands research, strategy, patience, a smooth follow-up process, and a little high-tech. It's hard to know where to begin, and it's natural to be afraid of making a major mistake and alienating your potential buyers.

On the other hand, a good e-mail campaign has proven time and again to be the most cost-effective way to market, and in the film and video licensing industry, it's becoming a standard and expected practice. Take some time to analyze what needs to be done, let your creativity and passion for your material inform what you do, and you will reach the film/video license buyers who are searching for the kind of content you offer.

To help get you started, we've put together a list of five easy-to-make e-mail marketing mistakes, and How to Avoid Them.

MISTAKE #5: - E-mailing directly from Outlook This is a very basic mistake.

A lot of distributors use "Blind CC" to send to multiple addresses—this is the trick where you send an e-mail to yourself, and put all the other addresses BCC. This is a convenient way to reach a lot of people without revealing your whole e-mail list to every recipient (which is what happens when you CC), but these cumbersome BCC messages are red flags for mail server spam filters. Not only is your message likely going to get blocked, but your entire IP address might be blacklisted. This means that you will never be able to send ANY message to this address again, unless you contact the hostmaster who blacklisted you and beg for forgiveness.

Tools like Listrak, Campaigner, and ExacTarget solve these problems and elegantly handle lists with thousands of names. These services all charge a monthly fee. PHPList and OpenEMM are powerful OpenSource solutions, but require you to provide your own tech support.

The biggest advantage of these tools: they track the e-mails you send. Who opens it, who deletes it, who sends it to a friend, when, and where. You'll need this data to do follow up, segment your lists, and to tweak your campaign.

MISTAKE #4: - Websites are not doing follow-up for you.

When a user clicks on your perfectly composed e-mail they need somewhere just as professional looking to go next. An ideal e-mail gets the reader to click quickly. A landing page (a specially designed webpage for e-mail campaign clickers) doesn't need to be elaborate, but at the very least it should act as a sort of digital sell sheet, offering the extra information a potential buyer needs and makes it clear what they need to do to take the next step. Add an easy to use 'send us a question form' or invite buyers to sign up to a newsletter and suddenly a passive e-mail recipient has become a real prospect.

MISTAKE #3: - Not segmenting your mailing lists.

It's tempting to blast one e-mail to a thousand names, but all marketing gurus insist on targeted delivery. 'Segmenting' your e-mail list means nothing more than dividing it into logical groups and sending different e-mails to the appropriate segment.

Personalizing your e-mails through segmentation can double click-through rates, and becomes more important as you move through the sales cycle. And by personalization here we're not talking about sticking the prospect's name at the top of the e-mail (though that is a nice touch). We're talking about changing the content, sometimes very slightly, to help make your property immediately relevant to the prospect.

In future articles, we'll be offering more tips on how to segment your lists.

MISTAKE #2: - Underemphasizing your categories, and overemphasizing your brand.

Film and video content license buyers receive dozens of marketing e-mails everyday. To cope, buyers have developed methods to sort and evaluate new titles very quickly.

What's the first thing a buyer notices when they first encounter your property?

Unfortunately, it's not your brand. A lot of distributors send out e-mails emphasizing their company logo and profile. While a good brand may help get your e-mail opened, it's not going to help you make a sale. Buyers specialize in different categories and genres. They know how to sell that category, where to sell to that category, and who will buy it.

You need to help buyers understand your title in terms of their favourite categories.

Segment your e-mail list by preferred category and you will have accomplished the single most important thing to successfully winning a buyer's attention. For independent producers and other rights holders without any brand recognition whatsoever, this is probably the most important marketing advice you will hear.

MISTAKE #1: - Not delivering value to your audience with your e-mail.

The best way to reach a buyer is to give them tools that will help them 'sell' your title to their buying team. Buyers need to understand all the opportunities your title offers. Slotting your property into a category is an essential first step, but you can do much more.

This is a big topic, but the idea is very simple: use the web to show your buyer the audience which already exists for your property. Do your homework, and find ways to position your title on the web where audiences live and breathe the category you are selling. Fan sites, social networking sites, online film festivals, and film/video sites can all take their place as virtual counterparts to tradeshows, press releases, and traditional film festivals, all working as venues to showcase your title. By creating this context, you help buyers understand how to position and make sense of your property. It is this context which you will try to communicate in your e-mail.

In conclusion, E-marketing takes time, effort, and experience. Many distributors fear that e-mail marketing is too aggressive, and that it basically amounts to spamming. If done improperly, this fear is certainly justified. The key is to be in your e-marketing campaigns what you are in the rest of your business life: a consummate professional, whose primary interest is in helping your clients succeed.

Daniel Lafleche is the COO of IPEX TV, the leading multiplatform B2B Film and Video online marketplace. Daniel has over 25 years experience in the entertainment industry, combining film and video licensing with internet media. IPEX TV specializes in helping film and video distributors take advantage of the web and reach out to international license buyers. You can learn more at

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