I believe it was Nietzsche who said: “email is dead.”
Oh, what? He didn’t say email?
Well whoever it was that said email is dead, specifically, email marketing was dead wrong. As of 2017, there were an estimated 3.7 billion email accounts worldwide and an average of 269 billion emails sent per day.
I think it’s fair to say that email is very much alive. And email marketing is still an effective way to reach your audience and gain customers.
However, it’s not as simple as just sending out an occasional email to market your products and services. If you want to be a successful email marketer, you have to do it well. To do it well, there’s not just one thing you have to do properly; there is a myriad of strategies that can lead you to success.
However, there are some specific things you want to avoid doing. That’s what we’re going to be talking about here. So, without further ado, let’s go over 8 email marketing mistakes you need to avoid.
1. Bad sender info
People are more likely to open an email if it appears to be sent from a real person. So you want to make sure the sent from information is not going to turn people off. For example, stay away from sending email marketing messages from sender addresses like DoNotReply@yourdomain.com. If I see this, there is hardly a chance of me opening the email, and I’m not alone.
This doesn’t mean that your “sent from” info needs to be hyperpersonal. When I receive emails from brands rather than individuals, I’m not necessarily off-put. For example, I receive emails all the time from “Airbnb” or “Fubotv” or “Time Out.” I don’t see these emails and delete them immediately because I’m familiar with the brand and know what to expect.
An alternative to sender info that is just the brand name is making the “sent from” name an individual. This is also an effective tactic because it makes the email feel personal. If I get an email from “Jen From Hotels.com” I at least have some subconscious thought of “oh an email from a real human. Great!”
This is all to say, there’s no one right way to format your sender info, but there is certainly a wrong way to do it.
2. Inauthentic subject lines
You need your subject lines to grab the attention of your readers, but that’s no excuse to be overdramatic, hyperbolic or sensational. If you consistently use your subject lines to overstate what’s in your emails, your contacts will soon start to ignore your emails or unsubscribe.
This doesn’t mean you need to be boring, in fact, boring subject lines are probably just as bad as overstated ones. Find the perfect balance between the two and you’ll manage to get high open rates without sacrificing your reputation.
3. Boring copy
If you want people to read your emails, you need to write engaging copy. Emails that read like they’re written by Ben Stein don’t often have readers that make it past the first paragraph.
Boring email copy is copy that lacks personality. If you read a draft of one of your emails and it feels like it could’ve been written by a robot, you need to make some changes and spice it up. People will subscribe and continue to read emails if it feels like it’s coming from an actual person, and the best way to do that is to inject some personality into it.
The good news here is that there’s really not a ton of companies out there telling interesting stories, so if you can write engaging copy, you have a good chance at standing out.
4. Missing the mark on calls to action
Most of your emails should have some sort of call to action (CTA). This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re asking people to buy something in every email. The call to action can be as simple as “visit this new page on our website” or “download our new app.”
But you need to make sure that your CTAs are clear and you don’t have too many in an email. Too many can mean too many instances of the same CTA or multiple CTAs asking the reader to do different things. Let’s go over why both of them can be problematic.
This first mistake can just be plain annoying. If I open an email and am asked to buy something that’s on sale six times before I even scroll down, I’m much more likely to delete the email than click through.
Too many of the same CTAs is bad, but too many different ones might be worse because it shows a lack of focus in the email. You can’t cure cancer with one email, so don’t try to do too much. If your email content is all over the place and your CTAs don’t relate to the content, nobody is going to click on that CTA. It’s best to have one or two goals in an email, and clear CTAs that relate to your email content.
5. Ignoring mobile
Think about how many emails you read from your phone. It’s probably a lot, right? Yeah, well this is true for most of the people you’re sending emails too as well.
Your newsletter has to be optimized for mobile, so that when people open it on their phone, they can read it clearly and the design makes sense. If you ignore mobile, you’re going to be unnecessarily shutting the door on tons of potential conversions.
6. Not testing
Have you ever sent an email and had an embarrassing typo in it? Or maybe accidentally replied all when you meant to just reply to one person? Now think about how embarrassing, and potentially damaging to your business, an email mistake might be if it’s sent to your entire list.
This is why you need to test every single newsletter email internally before sending out the live one. To be clear, testing is obviously great for helping you avoid humiliating gaffes, but it also is a great opportunity to make marginal improvements to emails.
Chances are, nobody is going to be too upset if you misspell a word or forget a space between two words, but there’s little doubt that flawless emails will have better results. When you send a test email internally before sending it out to your whole list, you have the opportunity to catch little mistakes and come across more professionally.
7. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach
Not all of your email subscribers are going to be the same, so don’t treat them as such. Any marketing automation tool worth its salt will enable you to segment your contacts so that you can make sure to get the right message to the right person.
You can segment your audience by anything from geographical location to product interest. With this type of information, you can make sure you’re not sending emails that don’t apply to your subscribers.
For example, if you have a free shipping offer, but only for customers within the contiguous United States, you can configure an email so it doesn’t send to your international subscribers or those in Hawaii or Alaska.
When people are only receiving emails that are relevant to them, they’re much more likely to stay engaged.
8. Inconsistency is ineffective
Your open rates will improve as your subscribers come to recognize you better (assuming they recognize you for sending good emails and not bad ones), and the best way to get them to recognize you is to send emails consistently.
Establish a cadence that makes sense for you. It can be once a week, twice a week, twice a month, or even something else. Once you’ve established this, it’s critical that you stick to it, and if you do, you can expect to see your open rates grow.