You’ve probably read or heard that email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment of all the marketing tools out there. This means that if you have an ounce of sense and you actually DO want to grow your business then you’ve added it to your marketing campaign. But while email may be all digital, and there is a lot about email that can be automated – at the end of the day every single email, whether automated or not, is created by humans.
And humans are not perfect. We make mistakes. Sometimes our mistakes are small, other times they’re not. But when it comes to email marketing, even the smallest of mistakes can have huge consequences. Especially when those tiny little mistakes become viral sensations on social media! So for those of you who want to avoid the most common email marketing mistakes, here’s a list of the bloopers every email marketer has made at least once:
Forgetting to optimize the Inbox view
For those of you who don’t already know this, the Inbox view is how your email appears to a subscriber in their inbox. In other words it includes the Sender name, the subject line and the preheader/preview text. And seeing as the success of an email campaign depends entirely on whether or not your subscribers actually open your emails, you would expect email marketers to be taking more care here. But no.
So before you send an email make sure that:
- The sender name is one that your subscribers expect to see and trust
- That your subject line is optimized for the content in your email (that means it should encourage opens but NO bait & switch!)
- That your preview text supports your subject line and further encourages opens (doesn’t just say “open in browser” or something similarly boring)
Forgetting to proofread and test emails properly
Spelling and grammar mistakes are more common than you think, and most of the time people will ignore or not notice them. But emails are only about a page long and usually don’t have very many actual words – so these mistakes stand out like flashing neon signs (especially in the subject line and preview text). So proofread EVERY word, then get someone else to proofread them too!
The other thing that happens a lot more often than you think is broken links in emails, or links that don’t go where they’re supposed to. If it’s happened to you before then you KNOW how frustrating it is – especially when it should take you somewhere or get something you’re very interested in. So send a test email, then click on EVERY link to make sure they’re working properly!
Another thing you absolutely have to test is whether your email works properly in the most popular email clients, and whether your mobile optimization is working properly. Because while some subscribers might opt to open that email somewhere else later, the majority of them will just delete it and the time and effort you spent on that email will be for nothing!
Lastly, make sure that any automated personalization techniques you’re using are working properly – because no one likes to get an email that opens with “Dear First Name”!!
Not managing their email lists properly
Now this is actually quite a big banner with lots of little mistakes that fall under it. They may seem insiginificant but may easily get you on the blacklist which is actually a big marketing problem. However, the majority of these mistakes would be avoided if the relevant people were taking proper care of the lists of subscriber email addresses.
- Sending one size fits all emails (not using list segmentation and simple personalization techniques)
- Sending targeted emails to the WRONG list (sometimes repeatedly!)
- Buying email lists (if you have to do this, then use an email scrubber before launching a campaign and GET PERMISSION before sending more emails!!)
- Not monitoring the click-through and open rates of email campaigns (this info helps plan future content for emails and also segment lists further)
- Not sticking to a fixed email schedule (this includes sending too many OR too little emails)
- Emails not reflecting subscriber behaviour (this means making sure the triggers for automated emails work properly!)
- Never using A/B testing to find which content is MOST engaging
And the list can go on forever!
Forgetting about the subscriber experience
You may have never had anything to do with developing a website, mobile app or even a game; but you probably have heard about user experience. Now subscriber experience is not exactly the same, because it’s not just about what your email looks like. Rather it’s about the whole email as a package.
- Is your content relevant to that subscriber (this relies on list segmentation too),
- Do you have the right balance of text and images (don’t forget about ALT text and plain text versions of your emails),
- Is your email too busy (too many links will overwhelm subscribers)
- Is your content engaging (meaning it will attract clicks – not too boring and not too pushy)
Hiding or not including the links subscribers want
As much as you might not WANT to include it, in order to be CAN-SPAM compliant you absolutely have to include an unsubscribe link/button in every email you send. Now you may think its very clever to basically hide that unsubscribe link where no one will notice it – but then subscribers will block you AND probably report your email as spam. So rather make it easy to find (and use!!)!
While including contact details is another CAN-SPAM compliance requirement, what many marketers don’t include is an EMAIL address for subscribers to use. Even when you’re using a “no-reply” address to send emails, sometimes subscribers want to contact you – but NOT phone you! So include a “reply to” address or else provide a link to a contact page WITH an email address.
Now while this list might help you avoid the most common email marketing mistakes, and maybe make you feel better if you’ve ever made a mistake of your own – just remember that it would take a whole book to list every single mistake that you could possibly make in an email campaign. And because we’re human, mistakes are going to happen. Hopefully they won’t have too many serious consequences, but if they do then just do your best to make sure it doesn’t happen again!