10 Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Email mistakes

There’s a right way, a wrong way, and a half-ass way to do everything. Pay attention to the details to stay on the right path.

  1. Lumping All Contacts Together. The “cookie cutter” approach to email marketing produces weak results. Sure, somebody might click to the next phase of the purchasing journey just as a broken clock is correct twice a day. Segment your contacts by where they are in the process. It’s also a good idea to have each contact’s demographic data for targeting specific personas.
  2. Purchasing an Email List. Nothing works better than an unwanted email sales pitch. Yes, that was sarcasm. First, most purchased email lists have a ten percent error rate, which is bad considering the list’s high price. Most people don’t like sales pitch emails from strangers. Grow your own database using an online opt-in form. Encourage your current customers to forward your emails to their family, friends, and peers. It’ll take time to build but you’ll have quality data.
  3. Vague, Bland, or Ugly Subject Line. It’s easier to press the ‘delete’ key than decipher a poorly written subject line, irrelevant topic, or typed in all capital letters. The subject line is the headline and headlines convey eighty percent of your message. Be direct and enticing. You want the recipient to open your email. Clever subject lines can work if the cleverness is universally recognized. Spam filters typically block subject lines using all capital letters. Using emojis in the subject line is a topic for debate. Some find success when it matches the tone of the message. Others believe it’s unprofessional. If emojis are important to you, try them in an A/B test to determine what works. Use the same subject line techniques on the email’s preview section. This as the message summary displayed under the subject like by most email apps. Remember: the recipient will take less than five seconds to choose to open or delete your message.
  4. Generic or No Greeting. “Dear Valued Customer” is a great way to show how little you care. People expect to be the center of attention. Use the person’s name in the salutation to show you care. Launching right into your message has pros and cons. On the plus side, the reader immediately knows the purpose of the email. An imbedded graphic as an electronic flyer is a good example. On the other side, some will see this as an ‘in your face’ approach for an unwanted sales pitch. Again, test to see what works best. This personalization can go deeper by embedding the person’s name, company, or other personal information into the message body.
  5. Ignoring Device-specific Formats. The email could look great on a big monitor. That same message could appear disjointed on a smartphone or tablet. Be sure to preview the appearance of your entire message on each type of device when you proofread and test links. You ARE proof reading, testing links, and sending test emails, right?
  6. Sending Flawed Messages. Readers will focus they’re attention on typos and bad grammer. Did you do that with the previous sentence? One of the best ways to proofread is to read the copy aloud. In addition to typos, you’ll hear bad grammar and poorly written sentences. A test email will show how the paragraph structure looks on your desktop and smartphone. Read it again and click links to make sure the reader will go to the correct landing page. When you’re satisfied all is correct, this is the time to setup A/B testing on one aspect of your email. Test only one part to get a definitive test result.
  7. Ambiguous Content. Putting a bikini on a hippopotamus. It creates a striking mental image, but it has no context for this article. The email body tells an engaging story with a beginning, middle, and end. Each phase has a motivating reason or enticement for the reader to click through to the next step in the process. The closing statement or a “P.S.” will have a final call to action with a compelling sense of urgency. The narrative can be logical, emotional, or a mix. Consider dynamic content such as graphics, videos, or other interactive components to further engage the reader.
  8. Doing Everything Manually. Use your email distribution software to create multiple campaigns based on contact segments, seasonal activities, and even birthday greetings. Setup trigger emails to capture every opportunity. The trigger can be a new signup to your email list, when a purchase is made, or other action by a customer or prospect. You have enough to do without having to worry about pressing ‘send’ at the right moment.
  9. Mismatched Emails and Landing Pages. The recipient clicked a link because of your amazing email. Reinforce they’re at the right website by having the landing page match the design of your email. Be sure the page content is exactly what they expect and easy to find what they want. Especially the ‘Buy Now!’ button.
  10. Send and Forget. Tracking results is important. It’s the only way you’ll be able to improve open, click-thru, and sales rates. All the A/B testing won’t matter unless you see what works, what doesn’t, and what needs more improvement.

A reminder: make sure your contact information and logo are at the bottom/footer of every email. This is typically created in the template offered by the email software.

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