15 Most Often Email Marketing Mistakes And How to Avoid Them
One of the most widely used promotional channels is email marketing. 93% of B2B business owners use newsletters to connect with target audiences and acquire leads. As the competition is so fierce, it’s getting increasingly harder to get the recipient’s attention and to keep it.
Hence, there’s no room for mistakes. And, no matter how brilliant your email templates are, we all may commit those mistakes when reaching out to clients.
Top 15 Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
There are a lot of things that can go awry while working on a newsletter. The effects of email marketing errors can easily go from ‘whatever’ to a full disaster.
To be sure your emails represent the company in the best way possible, make sure to avoid the following mistakes:
Mistake 1. Buying subscriber lists
It takes time to form a custom subscriber base. That’s why some marketers look for an easier way out — purchasing a ready-to-go email database. This is one of the biggest marketing mistakes. At first, it seems a perfect way to reach out to thousands of people, but in the long run, it turns out that getting an audience via procurement is not a viable marketing strategy.
You should avoid this approach because the audience of the database didn’t sign up for an email. Moreover, they probably have never heard about you. For most readers, your email will be irrelevant, and they will quickly flag it as spam. From a long-term perspective, it will negatively impact your campaign as many messages won’t even reach the readers.
Even when collecting your database manually, you need to get the user’s permission. For example, during registration on the website, you can ask to tick a special box.
Mistake 2. Not saying “Welcome!” to new subscribers
When users register with your website, they expect a certain reaction from you. We’re talking about welcome emails. You can share with users instructions on how to use their tool, the most recent blog posts, or the most popular product items.
(Source: Newsletter email from MoneyWise)
Also, it would be nice to notify subscribers about how often you are going to reach out to them and what will be in those newsletters. You may also add your e-signature if you like.
The welcoming email should be sent at the same minute your new subscriber registers with your site or signs up for newsletters.
Mistake 3. Running several campaigns for the same audiences at the same time
Professional marketing teams try to not involve one segment in multiple campaigns at once. Otherwise, people might receive conflicting emails, lowering the audience’s satisfaction and trust in the brand.
Even three emails per day seem like a little bit more than a regular customer expects.
If you want to test different emails on one audience, break it into several subsegments and send a different newsletter to each. This way, you will be able to choose a better-performing strategy without ruining the company’s credibility.
Mistake 4. Inconsistent content marketing strategy
It’s impossible to overrate the importance of campaign planning and setting clear goals for every newsletter you send.
In all marketing efforts, consistency is key. One of the worst mistakes in email marketing is sending newsletters sporadically as readers will have no habit of interacting with your creative content, or have no idea when to expect the next email from you.
Besides, as mentioned above, in welcome emails you let customers know how often they will “hear” from you and what those emails will be about.
(Source: Newsletter email from BBC)
So, creating an editorial calendar is a way to build long-term communication strategies and a base of constantly engaged readers. Sending emails out on set days of the week, with fixed timing, helps the audience create a ritual of interacting with your email as soon as it’s out and waiting for new high-quality content.
Mistake 5. Underestimating the power of subject lines
The subject line is the frosting on the ‘email’ cake. Although it doesn’t offer the main value of the email, it creates the first impression and decides the fate of your open rates. Here’s the tip list to take into account when penning subject lines:
- 3-word subject lines have the highest engagement rate according to SendGrid;
- “Soon” is a better time marker to use than “now”;
- “Free” in subject lines has become a conversion-killer, dropping engagement rates by 4%;
- overwhelming with subject line creativity confuses the reader. Tell the audience directly what the email offers, without hiding behind metaphors or buzzwords.
(The Hustle subject line examples)
Here are The Hustle subject line examples. Take a look at how the content team keeps the copy creative, funny, and short.
Mistake 6. Inaccessible email layout
Another worst email marketing mistake is not building accessible emails.
We tend to forget about those who use screen readers. People may do it for various reasons: permanent or temporary visual impairments, being busy when driving/cooking, etc.
Some recipients who suffer from color blindness cannot distinguish, say, green on red and vice versa.
Dyslectics might not be able to read our emails when we use no full stops or semicolons at the end of a line or bulleted list.
Mistake 7. Non-mobile friendly emails
Marketers lose lots of prospective leads if they neglect mobile layout. It’s because we use smartphones to check the inbox more frequently than computers.
However, email marketers are still slow in adopting mobile-friendly design practices. Sending out visually rich but non-responsive emails is one of the top mistakes in email marketing. Do not neglect SaaS tools usage as they may provide you with a wide range of functions and facilitate the processes.
Make sure the email builder that you use provides you with fully responsive email templates. With proper ones, you can make all the images you add to your emails responsive by just toggling the respective button.
Apart from that, you can set different font sizes and button widths when working on email design with Stripo.
Mistake 8. Errors in email texts
There are different views on typos. While some find these email marketing mistakes super annoying and would never deal with the company that put ‘Your missing out’ in the subject line, others consider them an efficient way to get readers’ attention.
To start with, let’s distinguish between the two most common types of errors email marketers commit when working on email copy:
- typos — e.g. abuot vs about;grammos — e.g. you’re vs your.
- grammos — e.g. you’re vs your.
To make sure typos or grammar errors are not a turn-off for readers, try following these simple tips:
- avoid long sentences and complicated clauses — they leave you at a higher risk of grammar difficulties;install a spell-checker, like Grammarly, Ginger, TrustMyPaper, etc.;
- install a spell-checker, like Grammarly, Ginger, TrustMyPaper, etc.;proofread your emails manually or consult with the Essay Tigers service to catch passive voice misuses and other stylistic issues.
- proofread your emails manually or consult with the Essay Tigers service to catch passive voice misuses and other stylistic issues.
Mistake 9. Old or incorrect links
Click-trough rate (CTR) is one of the most important metrics for email marketers. Newsletters rarely have much standalone marketing value — however, they are a powerful tool to connect a prospective customer to the website or a social media channel.
We harness the potential of emails by adding links to them. Naturally, sending a newsletter with a broken or old link will deal a lot of damage. The most common email marketing mistakes connected with links are:
- forgetting to add a link to the email;directing a reader to a 404 page;
- directing a reader to a 404 page;
- linking to admin accounts or documents that only the team can view;
- linking to different offers than those promoted.
To make sure all of your links are functioning and secure, use a link testing tool — there are a lot of free tools you can try.
Mistake 10. Poorly personalized emails
Today personalization is a key to establishing trustful relations with clients. It's used even in call center campaigns, where agents have people's data visible during the call thanks to special tools, like Cloudtalk.
Striving for personalization is great — it promotes your brand as considerate and caring. According to GetResponse, personalized subject lines have a 24% open rate, while generic ones are opened by 21% of recipients; personalized email body has a 3.89% CTR compared to 3.29% CTR of non-personalized emails.
(Source: Newsletter email from Decathlon)
Because personalization is such a powerful tool, the worst mistakes in email marketing come at a high cost. Most issues marketers face are adding wrong data about the receiver or names misspelling. Also, be careful with such sensitive points as race, gender, or beliefs. Your subscribers might be very different, for example, women of color or representatives of minorities.
Mistakes 11. Not having a clear CTA
Call to action (CTA) is the culmination of your emails. You’re focusing readers with all your email content towards it.
It should be easy for readers to guess at first glance what the main idea and the main goal of your email are.
(Source: Newsletter email from Hilton Honors)
When working on an email, make sure CTA buttons are noticeable, have a clear call to action copy, and have proper URLs.
Mistake 12. Skipping testing
From your template editor to the recipient’s inbox, an email goes through around 15,000 renderings. From the alignment of elements to the text and image size, the view of the email might change drastically depending on the device, browser, or email client the reader is using.
With that in mind, business owners need to adopt the ‘Test it before you send it’ mentality. Here’s a short checklist of the red flags to watch out for when testing emails:
- the look of the subject line and the preview;whether email design renders correctly;
- whether email design renders correctly;whether links are displayed correctly;
- whether links are displayed correctly;the legibility of fonts on different devices and browser clients;
- the legibility of fonts on different devices and browser clients;the integrity of the email code;
- the integrity of the email code;
- image displaying across different platforms;
- whether all ‘alt’ tags are present.
There are plenty of tools for email deliverability testing. Feel free to use platforms like Mailtrap — a simulated SMTP server that helps ensure every recipient will get your message.
Such tools allow business owners to not spam readers and keep all test emails in one inbox.
Mistake 13. Not segmenting subscribers
If you have a large audience, it’s hard to create an email that’s equally relevant to hundreds of thousands of people. That’s where segmentation comes into play — dividing subscribers into groups based on their interests, education, pain points, buying needs, and other criteria. Then, an email marketer creates newsletters that will resonate with these people on a deeper level.
To segment email marketing audiences efficiently, marketers usually use these criteria:
- geographic — country and city of residence, native language, the best time to send newsletter emails. Ikea sent their email shown below to residents of Burbank and Carson cities;
(Source: Newsletter email from Ikea)
- demographic — gender, age, social and marital status; psychographic — interests, hobbies, education;
- psychographic — interests, hobbies, education;
- behavioristic — customer journeys, on-site behavior, social media posting habits.
Mistake 14. Failing to automate workflow/drip campaigns
Sending emails out manually might be managing as long as you have a medium-size subscriber base. However, as the audience scales, keeping up with the campaign without automation is impossible.
Email marketers are often cautious about using automation tools as it’s a commitment both in terms of time, effort, and money invested in software. However, in the long run, automation is a way to build a sustainable communication strategy.
Here are some of the many tasks an automation solution helps optimize:
- building complex email campaigns — you build them once, they work for you and your clients for a long time. Drip campaigns are mostly meant for trigger emails;
- tracking and monitoring — with automation software, you will know how many people opened the email, interacted with it, deleted, or flagged the emails as spam;
- strategizing. Automation tools help build sales funnels and ensure all of your campaigns are effective and goal-driven;
Mistake 15. Neglecting campaign analytics
Most marketing teams don’t run promotion campaigns across a single channel at a time — rather, you have to juggle PPC ads, social media promotion, and email marketing trends at once. As a result, it’s hard to distinguish high-performing strategies from failing ones.
To make data-driven marketing decisions, you need to be well-aware of how subscribers react to all the content created.
(Source: Screenshot of statistics of our email campaigns at eSputnik)
That’s why email marketers track the performance of every email by capturing relevant metrics:
- open rate;
- click-through rate;
- bounce rate;
- unsubscribe rate;
- revenue per email;
- ROI of the email.
To see a big-picture view of your marketing strategy, consider compiling the following reports:
- top five campaigns — collect data on campaigns with the highest ROI and analyze what led to their success;
- top five user journeys — based on the insights collected from email marketing, find the most efficient way to guide a visitor through the website and generate new leads;
- email delivery rate by geography. If you are targeting multiple markets, it’s useful to have the general idea of deliverability for each area;
- engagement by device — to make sure your emails are well-optimized for computers, smartphones, and tablets alike, collect data for all these platforms and make sure there are no drastic differences in engagement rates.
Usually, email marketing means aiming at millions of prospective readers from all over the world. With a huge range of devices, platforms, interests, and behavior habits to take into account, pleasing every subscriber on your list is next to impossible.
Having said that, most email marketing turn-offs come from rookie mistakes.
In this post, we investigated the pitfalls marketers normally face and shared tips on how to avoid email marketing mistakes.
By testing your campaigns, writing content that resonates with readers, and aiming at long-term strategies, you will reduce the spam rate for your emails and will be able to create a dedicated audience of brand fans.
The article has been initially published on Stripo.