Saying “mistakes happen” after you realize you’ve sent a message with an error in it to thousands of recipients doesn’t provide much consolation to email marketers. Yes, mistakes do happen. And they will happen again. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything you can to minimize them. Fortunately, with a little forethought (and proofreading) you can head off the most-common email marketing mistakes. Below are nine to watch out for.
Avoid these 9 email marketing mistakes
1. Not nailing the subject line – “Subject lines can make or break your open rate,” says Gil Resnick, at CIO. “A good, catchy subject line will draw a reader in for more and get them into the email itself. Boring subject lines often result in clients deleting the email or simply skipping over it to get to more important things. Give your subject lines some jazz, but keep them on topic. Overuse of exclamation points and even certain words, such as ‘free’ or ‘money,’ can trigger the spam filter, meaning your email never had a chance.”
2. Not showcasing your brand’s personality and voice – “The biggest email marketing mistake I see people are guilty of is not letting their own personality shine through,” writes Paul Jarvis at Zapier. “People probably signed up for your list because they liked your unique voice, your point of view, the way you do things that isn’t the same as everyone else. So, when you’ve got something to do sell them, for Pete’s sake, keep your personality and voice shining through.”
3. Not personalizing sender email addresses – “No-reply@ or DoNotReply@ sender email addresses are uninviting and unwelcome,” writes Steven MacDonald at SuperOffice. “If you send an email from one of those email addresses, don’t be surprised if your open rate is low. Always send an email from an address your customers can reply to and be sure to include phone numbers, and links to your social profiles as well, to let the customer contact you in any channel they want to.”
4. Not optimizing messages for mobile – “You have dedicated a lot of time to come up with a design that is engaging and aligned with your brand,” writes Josefine Stengård at eMarketeer. “Your subscribers are thrilled. The ones that open it on a computer, that is. The other ones (almost half of your entire email list) that open the message on a mobile device are not as impressed. To avoid this, and to provide an email that is well received by ALL your readers, make sure that you are using a responsive design.”
5. Sending unsolicited messages – “Are you absolutely sure that you have your customers’ consent to send them a specific message?” asks Mailup. “If you send a commercial message to customers (or prospects) who did not subscribe to receive such messages from you in a direct and verifiable way (i.e. they received a subscription confirmation request and confirmed the subscription), you are sending spam. It doesn’t matter if you believe it isn’t, or if you think that the recipients will definitely be interested in what you are about to tell them. Don’t do it.”
6. Not using segmentation and personalization – “It’s a mistake to send a blanket email to all of your customers,” says Allen Bonde at CIO. “At the same time, it would be a mistake (and impossible) to tailor email to every single customer. The better practice is to segment your customer base by who they are: a hot or cold lead, a past or present prospect, their position in your sales funnel, their specific interests, where they are, etc.”
7. Failing to make data-driven decisions – “The only way to truly succeed in email marketing is to make data-driven decisions: ones based not on wishful thinking or even expert recommendations, but ones that are backed up by the data you gather,” writes Syed Balkhi at Forbes. He advises paying close attention to the conversion rate of new subscribers, as well as to other metrics, such as open rates and click-through rates.
8. Not including a clear call to action – “You can’t get results without a clear call to action,” according to AllBusiness. “Do you want the reader to go to your Web site? Print out a page and send or fax it in? Buy something? Whatever you want them to do, make it clear and simple.”
9. Sending too few or too many emails – “While sending more emails does not always translate to increased sales, under-mailing can also cause conversion rates to suffer,” says Doug Sechrist at CIO. “Therefore, the best way to decide the optimal number of emails to send is through A/B tests. You may find that different segments prefer emails at a different frequency. In that case, you can tailor your send volume for each segment accordingly.”