7 Common Mistakes Radio Stations Make With Their Email Marketing

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Email marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool for radio stations when executed correctly. Unfortunately, we see many radio stations making these mistakes with their email databases. Does yours?

1. Radio Stations Don’t Set and Meet Expectations
When you ask your listeners to subscribe to your email list, be sure to tell them what you’re going to send them and how often they should expect to receive it. Too many radio stations ask people to “Join our email list” without explaining what will happen when listeners sign up. Instead, use specific calls to action:

  • “Get our weekly concert calendar”
  • “Subscribe for daily morning show recaps”
  • “Sign up to receive the weekly playlist”

Once you set those expectations, make sure you deliver on your promise. Some radio stations seem to forget that they’re collecting email addresses. They don’t send anything out for months and only send out a blast when they are selling tickets to a station event. This is like your annoying friend who only calls when he needs something.

Be consistent with your email marketing. When you go long periods of time without emailing your database and then send an email seemingly out of nowhere, it confuses and annoys listeners.

2. Radio Stations Overload Them With Ads
The primary purpose of email marketing is to serve the recipients of the email. When you prioritize clients above listeners by crowding out compelling content with ads in your email blasts, you aren’t doing anybody any favors: It annoys your listeners and it doesn’t help your clients. When you email listeners, make sure you’re doing it because you have something to say that they want to hear. That goes for the advertisers in the email as well; make sure that the ads are relevant to the recipients so your emails don’t feel spammy.

3. Radio Stations Spend Time Writing Emails Instead of Web Content
Every radio station staff has too much to do and not enough time to do it. It’s important to allocate your staff’s time well. If your staff has to make hard choices about how much time they can spend writing, make sure they are writing content that lives on the station’s website, not email copy. Website content will attract more visitors to your site; it is indexed by search engines and it’s easier to share on social media than emails, so it should be the higher priority.

Instead, automate your email campaigns by using RSS-to-Email and Drip campaigns. This webinar will show you how. Doing this can save your staff a lot of time.

4. Radio Stations Don’t Send Emails to Targeted Segments
Only send people emails that are relevant to them. If a listeners lives in the South Bay don’t send them an email about a weekend street team appearance in the North Bay. They’re not going to come, and you’re clogging up their inbox. Collect data in your email database that allows you to send people only relevant information. For example, you may want to collect data about:

  • Residence Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Times They Listen

Use this data to tailor your email marketing campaigns.

Also, don’t assume that every listener wants to receive every email that you send. Some may want concert announcements, while others may wants the local music show playlist and others will want daily morning show recaps. Set up multiple email campaigns and allow listeners to opt into the ones that they want.

5. The Emails Are Too Long
Many radio stations produce email newsletters that contain a huge laundry list of content. The avalanche of information often buries the main call to action and if there even is one. Just as we tell our disc jockeys that there should be one idea per break, we should strive for emails that focus on a single concept. Each email should contain a single, obvious call to action: an obvious link that you want the recipient to click.

If you are automating your email marketing using RSS-to-Email campaigns, don’t include the text of your entire post in your email campaigns. Instead, include only an excerpt. Require people to click a link back to your website if they want to read the entire post. This will give you better data — email clicks are a better gauge of engagement than email opens — and increase your website traffic.

6. Radio Stations Don’t Review Their Metrics on a Regular Basis
Having an email service provider but never reviewing the data reports that it can provide is like having a radio station and never looking at the ratings to see if what you’re doing is working. Don’t allow the review of email metrics to be relegated to hallway conversations. Carve out time on a regular basis to review your email metrics. (I recommend that you set up a weekly web meeting.)

7. Radio Stations Focus Too Much on Making the Email Look Pretty
These days, email service providers make it easier than ever to make your email look good. The problem? It may not look that way in the recipient’s email client. Email programs are notorious for displaying the same HTML email differently. What looks good on Outlook may not look good in Gmail, Yahoo!, or Apple’s Mail. Instead of spending time putting every colorful pixel in its proper place, create an email template that’s simple and elegant and hard for an email client to screw up.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

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