Of late, companies have been complaining that the performances of email marketing campaigns are going down. The worrying factor is that, companies are not ready to analyse the mistakes that they actually do while sending bulk emails to customers, lists or subscribers. Another important factor is that, companies are not updating their email marketing strategies on a regular basis! Though the market is flooded with email marketing resources, mistakes still rule the campaigns at times. The companies then complain about their best email marketing campaigns being almost dead, or show poor results every single time. There are several common email marketing mistakes that happen during the creation and execution phases. We easily forget to eliminate them while sending mails. The big list starts right from the sender’s address to choosing a bad template. We’ll run through every single common mistake as we move on. Read on to get rid of these mistakes and turn into a marketing rock star today!
What is Email Marketing?
Before we get into the deeper part of email marketing tips, let me try to explain email marketing briefly. The trend has evolved from users checking their phone to read the notifications that say ‘1 message received’ to ‘1 email received’. “Every mail sent to a potential lead or a current customer could be considered as email marketing.” As soon as a company launches the beta version of its product, the first focus gets into collecting email addresses to send out the invites. Later, when the main product rolls out during the general release, the company follows up with the beta customers for further help in getting testimonials of their product, to know the issues in the product, and further updates them with the latest feature sets. The current trend of getting a high number of sales and upgrades are achieved through email marketing.
Every mail sent out to bulk audience / subscribers or customers always helps in driving traffic, improving the engagement rate and sales. But at the same time, when these are not handled properly, companies can end up spamming the users and fail miserably. Sending crisp mails matter the most and the output/goal of the mail should always be clear and planned in advance.
Companies have been doing several mistakes when it comes down to email marketing. We have handpicked 50 common mistakes that prove vital for companies when they create and execute email marketing campaigns to their audience base!
50 Common Mistakes :
1. Sender’s Email Address : Sending from ‘noreply’ , ‘donotreply’
An email sent from sender’s address such as “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com” is highly uninviting. Here “noreply” directly means that the company doesn’t want to get any response/reply or feedback from the user in return for the mail that has been sent. A customer might like to interact with the company for his queries/issues, he will be happy if it is answered properly which might bring in potential deals/sales. So send emails from a proper email address which the customers can recognize and respond to. You can include phone number and other contact details on your email as well. Sending mails from these kind of addresses will have a serious impact in the open rates and bounce rates too.
2. Sending essay type emails
Well it totally comes down to the type of sender/company who sends the mail. Newsletter mails from product companies won’t be too long and mostly it’d be broken down by bulletins. If I’m not wrong, sales emails would be crispy enough! Usually educational institutions and resource oriented emails would be too lengthy(I have really had bitter experiences with them). Is that annoying lengthy essay mail even necessary when you can provide a link to the actual explanatory part? Everyone must remember that users won’t be interested to read such long emails. Always send short and clear emails for the audience to have better metrics.
3. No correlation between the email content & Landing page
This kind of mistakes mostly happens in offer mails. Companies selects the best selling/looking products’ image and adds it in the mail. The company could boast about a 70% off on the particular product category whereas the original offer for the showcased product in the email could be just 20%. Will definitely look disappointing for the user who was looking out for 70% off for the product. Such things will hurt the user experience and the chances of a sale happening will be too low on these cases. It is always better to show the exact offer content in the mail and provide the same value in the offer page to help the user check out and increase sales.
4. Failing To Optimise for mobile device
Technology has evolved and statistics say that most of the users check their emails on mobile devices. On an average, 60 to 65% of the users check their emails on mobile. When you work hard to promote your product through email or send out fantastic newsletter to your audience for enlightening them with offers, you must always check for the mobile device compatibility of your email. Though most of the mails sent through marketing automation tools have this option by default, still there are companies that prepare HTML mails and send it out their users. They should be very careful in testing the mails for compatibility before sending it. Use mobile friendly CTA’s and buttons to have good engagement rates.
5. Confusing subject lines
The easiest mistake of all. Subject line is the important area that needs to have maximum focus. Usually subject lines decide the open rates of the email. Never give too much hype on your subject line. You could fail miserably if the content doesn’t meet the expectations of the reader. Always think out of the box. Choose the best words for the subject line that will enable the users to click on the mail and help them read it. Some companies send mail with subject lines on all caps. These might end up in spam folder. Using lengthy subject lines will not attract the users. Stay short and clear!
6. Open Rate Is Not Big A Big Deal
Many companies and indeed some marketers, fail to understand the correct metrics of the email marketing campaigns. Some consider the number of mails sent and the corresponding email open rates as the big deal. But reality is that how far you have engaged the users through your mail matters the most. For example, the sales that has happened through the mail, conversion that has happened through the mail and email bounce rate can be a good metric to analyse the performance of the campaign.
7. Forgetting to SPAM test your email
There are so many free tools available online to spam test your email. This test has become mandatory these days to get rid of getting your emails in the spam folder. It is a best practice to put your email through spam filters and analyse it completely before sending it out to the bulk list. It also helps you to understand whether your IP is blacklisted or not.
8. Preferring too many images in an email
Images definitely add value to any email but a common survey says that only one third of the audience have enabled to display the images by default. The rest of them will get only empty boxes(alt text will be available though). So, it is better to send out text based emails and think twice before adding too many images in it! If your company falls under e-commerce category, images are must. But see that, images don’t affect the engagement rates and sales numbers.
9. Purchasing email lists from vendors
Sometimes, this is the biggest blunder that even bigger companies do at times. There are vendors who sell email lists. If you provide them the criteria and your requirements, they’ll build you an email list. It could be anything, right from your competitors to the titles you want to target, they will get you a big list for a hefty number. Please avoid such lists, your mails can end up reaching their spam folder. There are a number of ways through which you can build your own email list. You can use tools such as SumoMe, Opt in architect, optinmonster etc to build your own list. You can try out some of these and build a valid and relevant list of folks who’re really keen and interested to hear from you.
10. Failing to test your emails
That ‘ouch’ moment once you get to know that your email did not look well on a different browser/mail service provider. There are tools like Litmus to test emails on devices and browsers. This helps you to eliminate the fear of getting screwed up with your emails. Proper test mails should be sent out to teams and fellow workers to check the links, images and subject lines before sending out to the big list.
11. Including more than one Call To Action(CTA)
You have one job to do. Gather the user’s attention and direct them to achieve ‘your’ goal. Your goal could be anything. It could be a signup, purchase or get traffic through your mail. You must have determined the exact CTA for your goal and focus on that particular CTA on the email. But there are companies who fail to understand this and add too many CTA’s in mail. Obviously the user will get confused and he might miss out something that could be really important on your perspective! So, always have single CTA in your email.
12. Failing to follow up :
Every company when launches its product, often tries to reach out to its early followers and customers. This is because they’re the early assets through whom they can get product feedbacks and suggestions. This will definitely help the company to fix the showstopper issues and enables the company to work on feature rich updates. But once the company acclaims the center stage, mostly it fails to follow the same. When it reaches a stage where branding and marketing activities carry the company through, regular follow ups with customers do lack. This will never be a good sign for any company. Always remember “customer is the king!” Regular follow ups with customer will always place you on top in the minds of the customer and the market.
13. Sending email with errors
Typos and grammatical mistakes are common in our day to day life. But the weird part is we hate it when we see it from the companies that we follow or as a customer! We’ll be like, “ Do they even read their mails before sending it to us?” It is just human mentality and cannot be done much! It is always better to check the mail content thoroughly including the formatting and the links part too.
14. Not providing unsubscribe option
There’s some way through which you have attracted the user and made him subscribe for your updates. Good, you did it! But if the same user feels that he does not want to be a part of your list anymore, he should be shown the right way to opt out. Some companies forget to add unsubscribe option in their mailers. In such instances, the users have to mail back the company folks to opt out. And there are instances where the user gets mail even after unsubscribing. It could be due to technical glitch, but it must be addressed with utmost care!
15. Failing To Make things Simpler
You have done something really smart and people want to follow your company. It is good to verify their email address. But the verification process should be dead easy. The user shouldn’t regret for making up the mind to sign up. Mostly one click and two step process succeeds everywhere. And it should be the same when it comes down to unsubscribe. Do not irritate the user with too many steps and questions. Just let them go!
16. Adding the users in BCC :
Everyone subscribes to your mailing list to receive the latest updates and blogs on your company page. Sending the mails by adding the users list in BCC will not make good sense. It is always recommended to have them addressed individually to get better results. If the user has a filter setup and has a separate folder to collect mail that are addressed to his mail ID, this kind of mail won’t even reach that folder.
17. Sending too many emails
Sometimes the users get annoyed when he’s bombarded with too many emails. One mail a week has been optimum for several companies and some companies have cautiously started to gather information about the level of interest of the user in getting mails. At the time of subscribing the mail list certain companies provide the option of receiving mails on daily basis, weekly basis and monthly basis. This enables the user to get rid of too many emails.
18. Sending sales emails alone won’t work
Yes! Sometimes users fall for your offers and signup for your list. It doesn’t mean that you gotta keep on sending sales and offer mailers alone. Help the users with some valuable content so that the users can spend some time on your site and get delighted. Surveys say that it also helps the users to retain with your company.
19. Failing to provide immediate value to the users
Sometimes, you can easily understand the mindset of your users. Depending on their interests and behaviour journey, you can easily upsell your products to your users. You can send upsell mailers to your customers and try providing an immediate value type offer to help them convert or start using your new product. These kind of mails cannot happen all the time and purely opportunity and interests based ones. Some companies miss out these.
20. Failing to understand your audience
Many companies lose subscribers to very simple factor of misunderstanding their audience and their interests. Let us say for example, a user subscribes for your company’s blog updates since he liked a particular blog very much. The user subscribed for getting further blogs when you update them on the site and did not sign up for your product. If the same user is sent with product feature update or sales mailer, obviously the user will unsubscribe from your list. Hence, it is important to understand your audience to a greater extent before sending out mailers to them.
21. Missing out on email marketing automation tools
You could be an early stage startup or a blogger who does freelance writing to make money online having a minimal list of subscribers. But still, it is always recommended to use a email marketing tool for sending out emails to your subscribers. It helps you in various factors like reporting metrics, automation, segmenting and much more. There are maximum chances of your email getting into spam folder if you keep on sending bulk mails through your email client. That’s the reason why email marketing services / tools are mandatory for every company.
22. Sending mail in a rush
Everything we plan to do end up getting done on a hurry 😉 It could be anything. Even though we plan and schedule the newsletters and mailers, we end up working on last minute issues. It could be due to dependencies and other various factors. But you should still find some time to have a complete review of the content, links, formatting, images, etc and send out the mailer. On a side note, try avoiding to send mails on a hurry!
23. Failing to follow your brand / Theme
Branding is an important aspect of marketing and any promotion carried out for the respective company must abide it. Branding helps the users to recognize your company just by having a look at your company’s logo. When it comes down to email marketing, some companies do not follow branding. The content and the template might look random and sometimes it could differ from the company’s colour schema. It is always better to follow a regular template and branding colour when sending mails.
24. Content doesn’t engage your audience
This one is quite similar to point no: 21. You must know your audience and should be on top notch in delivering the content that would best engage your list. If the content is not quite engaging, obviously users will skip your mails from the very next time, your mail priority might go down and the worst case would be unsubscribes! Always send the content that engages your audience and delights them.
25. Not segmenting your email list properly
Segmentation issues usually happen during customer onboarding drip campaigns. The users who have newly signed up should be put in a separate drip and onboarding process need to be carried out. When the drip completes, the user shouldn’t be receiving product mailers directly. The drip should be followed by a sequence of mails to help the user understand your mail flow to help them engage with you in a better way. Some companies do not follow this and ends up confusing the users.
26. Too much hype
You might feel like you’re sending the world’s best price(offer) mail to your subscribers. You might know the person for whom you’re sending the mails. But might not know what your competitor has on his side. But the user could know that. So it is always better to avoid too much hype in the emails. There are possibilities that the user might feel that the real offer is not worth the hype too!
27. Stop too much focus on the product / business :
This point might look somewhat similar to 19th one, but differs widely. Apart from sending product update mailers, companies should try sending mails that engages the user. May be they can share testimonials/success stories of other customers and help others to script their story through which the company can build the reputation. There are plenty of other opportunities like surveys, feedbacks kind of mailers to engage the users.
28. Email contains “Hi |Full Name|”,
Happens, when you want to send mail to a bulk list, still want to have a personal touch, but you forget to verify the rule. These kind of mails might create negative impact about your company. These issues must be handled very carefully. If you’re not confident enough about the rules you’ve setup, it is better to go ahead with a simple “Hi there” instead of messing it up.
29. Having inconsistent sends between the emails
Almost all companies add new users in the drip campaigns during the onboarding process. Once the onboarding drip gets done, it is important for the company to send mails with consistent intervals. The mails could be anything starting from blogs to product updates. But the point here is, it should be sent at proper gaps to have consistency. Sometimes, if your content is engaging enough, users will start to expect your mails on those particular days.
30. Sending the same content in another way
Users always expect something new from you when they subscribe for your updates. So is the case for your customers. For example, if your user has started to use your product and they know your product in and out, sending them a resource mail about your product features won’t make any sense for them. It is necessary that you send them something new to engage them in a better way.
31. Sending worthless emails
Offers, more offers and dead offers! Some companies fail to understand that some of their offers don’t make sense to users at all. Dumping the user with worthless offer mails will result in lot of unsubscribes. That’s why every time you send an email, it is mandatory to analyse the metrics and work on what worked and what didn’t. By doing this analysis, companies can understand what users really like and what can drive sales/conversions.
32. Doesn’t understand customer journey
Customer journey is an important phase where customers have to be engaged in a right way. Apart from customer engagement, companies have to involve the customers in the emails to get valuable insights. Genuine customer journey mapping needs to be done for every single customer and email follow ups and drips should be allotted accordingly. Failing in either of these will result in bad customer experience. There should be a system that helps to integrate customer behaviour/journey and their channels to eliminate the misunderstandings.
33. Failing to understand the message preview
Email preview is the important part of an email and must always be given high priority. Since this is the content that’s visible in the user’s mail next to the subject line, companies must use this space to the maximum extent. Some companies just start their email content right away after the subject line. You can add a short line along with a CTA to have better open rates and you get to catch the attention of the user.
34. Failing to build the email list :
Every single visitor to your website could be your potential customer. It is always best to have them sign up for your updates or help them subscribe for your updates. By doing so, you can build an email list and nurture them to become your customers. Let us say for example, a company is receiving 100,000 visitor every month, they can easily build a minimum of 1000 users in the list within a span of 2 to 3 months. This holds a high value than purchasing email lists.
35. Failing to understand the audience interests :
Maintaining a huge list of audience is a herculean task. If the audiences aren’t segmented properly, you might end up losing some. Not everyone signs up for your product. Some might have signed up for your product, some for your blogs, some for your discussion forum and some for your brand. But sending same mail to all will look like one size fits for all approach. That will end up in disasters. It is always recommended to follow the user interests and mail them accordingly.
36. Forgetting to link to your website :
Providing valuable content to users is a big deal, Yes! But, keeping them engaged only on their mailbox won’t help you in getting sales numbers or conversions either. You must engage them on your company page in a even better way. It is always a best practice to lead them to a landing page and show them some good content. Companies sometimes miss out this chance and fail to link the mails to their website!
37. Failing to follow SPAM Laws
There’s a separate set of SPAM laws that need to be kept in mind before sending mails to lists. This particularly differs by region and type as well. Any company which plans to send out mails to its users must be aware of these laws and must construct the mail accordingly.
38. Missing the personal touch
Customer service and Email Marketing are the two places where personal touch redefines the mood of the customers. It doesn’t stop with using their name in the addressing space, but to understand their journey and interests help in a much better way. Several companies forget this point. Without the help of customers, companies cannot fight the competition as well as sustain in the market.
39. Failing to optimise your email for conversions
There are various books written on this particular point. And there are so many factors that can contribute to this point. The major factor could be missing out a CTA on your email. If you fail to add a CTA in your mail, users will just close the emails as soon as they get done with the mail. Apart from CTA, reducing the anxiety to opt any action, failing to write quality content to help the users to convert are some common factors.
40. Missing out emojis
Might sound unprofessional. But purely depends on companies and their lists. Emoticons are standing as the second language to millennials. They can be associated with any text content, subject lines to have fun and explain the stuff in a better way. By using them , you try to add some personal touch on your mails and these are again best for increasing the engagement rates.
41. Failing to understand the metrics
This is an important one. You will have to take the metrics seriously, you have to analyze it and find out the areas you need to work on. If you’re someone who feels so happy for getting a positive open rate, you’re doing it wrong! Open rates matter, Yes! But there are some key metrics that lie far beyond open rates. Bounce rates, number of unsubscribes, number of conversions happening through the mail and etc.
42. Missing out social buttons
Your audience is your asset to increase your page likes, social shares and that leads to increase in social reputation of your company. Now that they have signed up with your company, they might be happy enough to like your page and share about you on social networks. Make things easily available for them on your email. Add social buttons wherever needed. No customer/subscriber will go in search of your page and like it and share it. It should be an easy single step process.
43. Failing to check the links
Sometimes people could have added a link that might be leading to a wrong page. Or they could have provided a workspace URL in it and could have failed to use the redirects. Such kind of issues might create bad user experience. Before any mail goes out, these kind of stuff should be checked and sorted with high priority.
44. Not having a proper email signature :
Did I tell you that you can do wonder with your email signature ? Yes, you read that right! There are companies who are working in customising official email signatures such as Wisestamp, Newoldstamp, Hubspot’s email signature generator etc. to help business people to showcase their official page, latest blog posts and much more. Having a brilliant email signature matters at most of the time.
45. Missing out the additional promotions
Customer communication tools such as Drift, intercom are on the rise. Sending mails through these tools actually helps the company to understand the user journey and get valuable insights about user behaviour as well. Through the help of these tools, You can help your users to do additional purchases and sales by setting up in-app messages that triggers some special offers. This not only enables the customers to go through additional offers, it keeps them excited about the upcoming offers as well.
46. Failing to ask for feedback
You had a new customer successfully onboard. But did you try to understand what the customer really felt when he was put under your onboarding email drip ? He could have had bad experience, faced some issues or your email could have had errors. It is always good to hear back from your customers to eliminate the issues and get the process smoother and streamlined.
47. Missing the right time zones to send emails
You could have customers from different regions, means they’re from different time zones. It is best to send emails on the respective user’s time zone. You can segment the users according to the regions and send the mails to have good open rates and engagement rate. It also helps in high conversion rates as well.
48. Missing to add social proof for your emails
This point makes a lot of sense to build the trust about your company on the user’s mind. Social proof acts as key to reach success for several companies. The social proof could be anything starting from a customer testimonial to a influencer sharing his words on your product on social media. That could add whole lot of value to your company. You can share it on your mail to increase the trust on users and prospects towards your company.
49. Failing to stop the unsubscribes
Somehow or the other, some users will unsubscribe from your list owing to some factors. Your content could be on top notch, but still there might be something that might not go in sync with the user’s mindset. But there are several ways through which you can stop the user from unsubscribing. Groupon US does it in a uber cool way. If you haven’t checked their unsubscribe page yet, you must try checking it once. It’ll be hilarious and will make you to subscribe back! Apart from that, you can have some simple survey form at the end and understand the reason of the unsubscribe and you can work on it accordingly.
50. Missing out plain text email
Plain text mails makes a lot of sense for initial onboarding process of your customers. And it’s quite simple and easy to load as well. When your company is at the early stage and don’t have too many resources to send graphical mails or if you’re an early stage blogger, plain text is the best way to kick start things. Sometimes, sending a plain text mail in between a series of graphical mails might surprise the users as well!
There you go! You should have definitely gained some valuable insights on the common email marketing mistakes and how to overcome them. If you have any further points/mistakes to share with me, please feel free to add them in the comments section!