6 Common Email Marketing Mistakes
By Rebecca Swayze September 9, 2010
Everyone makes mistakes – even email marketing geniuses (hard to imagine, we know ;)). Yet with so many things to double and triple-check before sending a campaign, it’s easy for important components to slip the minds of seasoned pros and newbies alike. In fact, The Retail Email Blog regularly posts about the mistakes and “oopsies” of big email marketers on their blog, so if in fact you do mess up from time to time, you are still in good company! All joking aside, it’s always best to avoid a mistake before it happens. Here’s a list of things to steer clear of in order to make your campaigns run more smoothly than you ever thought possible.
Everyone makes mistakes – even email marketing geniuses (hard to imagine, we know ;)).
Yet with so many things to double and triple-check before sending a campaign, it’s easy for important components to slip the minds of seasoned pros and newbies alike.
In fact, The Retail Email Blog regularly posts about the mistakes and “oopsies” of big email marketers on their blog, so if in fact you do mess up from time to time, you are still in good company!
All joking aside, it’s always best to avoid a mistake before it happens. Here’s a list of things to steer clear of in order to make your campaigns run more smoothly than you ever thought possible.
1. Buying Email Lists
Effective email marketing campaigns cater to specific demographics, tastes and interests. Using confirmed opt-in to obtain the proper permission from people who are truly interested in your targeted emails ensures that they really want to hear from you.
When you buy an email list, there’s no way to guarantee that those people are really interested in your messages, so you must avoid purchased lists at all costs. You can never assume anything about the addresses of random people that are not given to you directly by their owners.
2. Hard to Recognize “From” Names and Subject Lines
Once subscribers are on your list, you want to make sure that they open your messages regularly. Your subject line and from name/address are your only chance to grab subscribers attention in their jam-packed inboxes.
To help jog their memory, always use the same email address and contact name so that there is no confusion when your messages arrive. Your subject lines must clearly present the value of the emails while staying consistent with your past subject lines to evoke recognition and familiarity.
3. Avoiding CAN-SPAM Compliance
The Can-Spam Act requires that all messages contain the sender’s valid physical postal address, but some home-based and international businesses are hesitant to include this information in their campaigns.
Aside from the legal obligation, putting your contact address in your emails is the best way to show subscribers that you have a legitimate identity and that you won’t run for the hills as soon as they make a purchase from you.
4. Irrelevant and Infrequent Emails
Sending emails that don’t relate back to their original request for info irritates readers and is a guaranteed way to rack up a high number of unsubscribes. Add an infrequent schedule to the previous scenario and you have a recipe for email disaster.
As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t contacted subscribers in 6 months, delete them from your list. Revisit your landing page from time to time to assess your email content and make sure it matches up with your original offer. Set expectations so that subscribers know what to expect from you, and when to expect it.
Expectations are easiest to address in three stages:
- Create Subscriber Expectations Before The Opt-In
- Create and Reinforce Expectations Right After The Opt-In
- Create Subscriber Expectations Over Time
5. No Call to Action
With all of the emphasis placed on quality content and sharp design, it’s understandable that marketers sometimes miss the obvious. When a reader opens a message and they’re interested in learning more, don’t forget they will be thinking, “What do I do next?”
Give them a way to move forward easily. Include multiple calls to action and links back to your site so you don’t lose them. Set up your products favorably, and remember when creating your messages that there must be a logical sequence of events – you want readers to open, read, click-through and ultimately buy.
6. Not Testing Before Sending
With all of the time spent prepping marketing emails, typos can easily go unnoticed. Testing your messages before sending them only takes a minute or two and can help you pinpoint problems before they materialize.
Send test copies to test accounts at several different email services to ensure that the message is readable, the images are viewable and the links are functional.
Are You Making These Mistakes?
We know email marketing isn’t always easy. Like we’ve said from the get-go, everyone makes mistakes.
If any of the situations on the list above hit close to home, try changing your approach; you’ll be amazed at the impact a few simple changes can have on your campaign.
Once you put the changes into practice, come back and leave a comment to let us know how they have worked for you!