Email marketing: 10 mistakes to avoid

October 10, 2018

Avoiding these 10 common mistakes can make your email messages a rewarding experience for your customers.

You understand why email continues to be a viable marketing option for businesses. Now, let’s learn how to avoid common mistakes that can trip up your email efforts.


1. Too much of a good thing

Avoid sending email too often. The most common reason people unsubscribe is because they receive too much email in general. If they get really annoyed, they might report you as spam or avoid doing business with you altogether.


2. The dead letter office

Your email won’t accomplish anything if it goes to a blocked address, a mailbox that’s full, or an address that’s no longer used. It’s normal to get one to two percent of emails returned (“bounced back”), but if you see a higher percentage, find out what the problem is so you can fix it.


3. Failure to measure

If you don’t analyze the results from email marketing, how will you know if it’s working? Some email solution providers do this for you, but it isn’t rocket science. The most important things to measure are:

  • Open rate: How many opened the email. 
  • Click-through rate: How many clicked on the link to your website or offer. 
  • Conversion rate: How many completed an action or made a purchase.


4. Vague subjects and SPAM triggers

Make the subject line of your email clear and action-oriented. If the reader doesn’t immediately sense its value, your email will go straight to the trash. Avoid exclamation points, question marks and anything that comes across as hucksterism. Even “free,” “clearance” and “cash” can trigger SPAM filters. (For a comprehensive trigger list, visit Hubspot.)


5. Impersonal touches

An advantage of being a small business is knowing your customer personally. Don’t overlook this, and don’t send every email to every customer. Target specific messages or offers to specific customers — for example to working moms, seniors, or students.


6. Call to inaction

If a customer opens your email, reads it, and stops there, what have you accomplished? Always have a next step and make it an easy one. You don’t have to give away something with every email, but you do need to reward your customer with valuable information or something else of interest to them.


7. Beating around the bush

What’s the purpose of the email? To introduce a new menu item? Remind customers to pick up their summer dry cleaning before fall? Celebrate coffee week? Focus your email on one subject, and stick to content that’s relevant to your audience.


8. Selling too hard

People seldom appreciate hard sell tactics. Try a problem and solution approach instead. Remember, your email should be all about the customer.


9. Avoid hit or miss, and all or nothing

Develop a calendar for your email marketing plan. You’ll lose momentum if your emails are hit or miss. Many marketers give customers the option of receiving fewer emails (for example, once a month), or opting in only if email is related to specific topics (new products, special offers, etc.)


10. Don’t get too up close and personal

Email marketing is a great way to get demographic information about your customers, but don’t overdo it. If you send a survey or questionnaire, limit the number of questions and how long it takes to complete, or you may lose their attention altogether.

Make your email messages a rewarding experience for your customers and they’ll be more likely to reward you with more business.


Read more: Use this one simple email marketing tip to increase your reach.

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