Common email marketing mistakes to avoid

Common email marketing mistakes to avoid
An email is only as successful as its open rate and engagement. You can spend hours on a perfect text and nicely designed newsletter. But if recipients don’t open them or decide to click on your links, it’s all for nothing.

In this final part of the guide, you’ll find many of the most common mistakes you can make when getting started with email marketing. You’ll also get suggestions and recommendations on how to solve the situation so you can succeed with your email strategy.

Table of contents
Email marketing checklist with common mistakes to avoid

13 common email marketing mistakes to avoid

1. You use purchased mailing lists

Mistake: Sending to purchased email addresses, which have not given their consent, contravenes the new GDPR, which came into force in 2018. In short, the GDPR means that there is now a higher consent requirement for email sending. The best practice nowadays is for the recipient to confirm their email before making your mailing to them.

In addition, sending emails to people who have not explicitly asked for your communications has severe consequences for you and your brand. It creates annoyance instead of engagement. What’s more, your messages risk being classified as spam. In the worst case, your domain could be blacklisted with the consequence that your emails go straight to spam or don’t get through at all.

It is impossible to determine the quality of purchased email lists. Often, a large proportion of purchased lists consists of incorrect email addresses or email addresses that are no longer in use.

Solution: save your money and invest in building your emailing list instead. Think quality over quantity.

2. Lack of planning

Mistake: You don’t set off on a trip without deciding on the destination, planning the route, buying tickets, packing your bag, and bringing your passport. Similarly, you shouldn’t start your email marketing without being clear about what you want to achieve, what you need to prepare, and how to execute it.

Solution: you need a well-thought-out strategy with clear metrics, a timetable, and procedures for your email marketing before you set off. Otherwise, you risk spending time and energy on a half-hearted attempt that doesn’t produce the results you were hoping to achieve.

3. You fail to make your emails responsive

Mistake: 70% of your recipients will read your emails through mobile. No matter how relevant your content is, the results will be absent if your emails are not responsive to mobile users. However, this is easy to forget, especially if you are eager to get your email out.

Solution: Get a Newsletter allows you to preview how your emails will look on mobile, which you should always do. It’s also a good idea to do a routine check and send a test email to yourself to make sure everything looks as you expected.

The fact that the majority of recipients will be reading your emails on mobile is another reason you should keep all texts short and to the point in your mailings.

4. You forget to test the email before sending

Mistake: On the same theme. Testing emails is a hygiene factor in email marketing. Make it a habit to always go through and be sure the links, buttons, and design are the way you want them.

Solution: Find a routine to always test your emails on different devices and in various email programs as they can differ. But remember that it’s not always possible to make every email look the same in every email client.

5. You fail to give a warm welcome

Mistake: The first impression the recipient gets of you and your email communication is through the first confirmation email they receive. What happens next? Does it go quiet a few weeks from now until the next newsletter comes out? Hopefully not, as that would be a mistake.

Solution: make sure to be personal already in the confirmation email and invest in developing a genuine welcome email. Tell them how happy you are that their subscriber has chosen to sign up for your mailing, and show them who you are and what they can expect from you.

How often will you send emails? What will the mailings contain? What is the benefit of staying a subscriber?

You can also ask the recipient to add your sender as a “trusted sender” and tell them what they want to do if they ever want to unsubscribe

6. You don't put enough effort into the subject line

Mistake: The subject line is the most important sentence of your email. Don’t waste your chances of getting the recipient to open your email by writing too monotonous and boring subject lines.

A basic rule is not to reuse old subject lines and avoid using monotonous subject lines such as “March newsletter”, “April newsletter”, etc. It may tell you what it is, but it says nothing about the content that will attract the reader to open it.

Solution: you want the subject line to create FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), that the recipient feels they are missing out if they don’t open your email.

7. You don't put enough effort into the preheader

Mistake: The preheader, preview, or snippet as it’s also called – is the first little sentence that appears in an email program, right after the subject line. A small piece of text that can determine whether your emails get opened or not.

Nevertheless, a lot of people fail to write good preheaders, and it can look something like this instead: “Read in browser” or “Does the letter look strange – click here”. Don’t make that mistake.

Solution: the preheader allows you to elaborate, grab the reader’s attention, and show what value the email brings. Think of the preheader text as an extension of the subject line.

8. Your emails lack clear call-to-actions

Mistake: What do you want the recipient to do based on your emails? An email without a call-to-action is an email without engagement. Your emails should always encourage your recipients to do an action, something you want them to do.

You shouldn’t leave it up to the reader to figure out what you want them to do. Even though your email is “just” informational, what do you want the information to lead and generate? How can you guarantee it will have the effect you want?

Solution: start every email by going back to your goals, setting a vision for your mailing, and then shaping a clear call to action based on that.

9. You have an inconsistent email frequency

Mistake: If you periodically send several times a month, only to fall off one period, you risk losing momentum. In the worst case, the recipient may even forget why they chose to subscribe in the first place.

By finding a regularity in your mailings that suits you and your recipients, you build up an expectation for the recipient and clarity for you in your work.

Solution: of course, you can test the waters at the beginning and see what your recipients like, but after that, you should stick to a regular mailing frequency. When it comes to how often to send, there are no one-size-fits-all rules for all companies and industries.

What’s the right move for you depends on what you do, how valuable your content is and how your recipients work.

10. You fail to create recognition

Mistake: If you change the look and feel of your newsletters too often, maybe even from time to time, you risk losing subscribers. Simply because they won’t recognize your emails and forget they’ve opted in.

You gain a lot if your recipients can tell immediately that the mailing is from you. And in this way, email marketing can be a huge asset for building brand awareness.

Solution: make sure you keep the same graphic layout, and that your mailings are consistent with your other marketing. It’s about creating reassurance and expectation, so they know what they’re getting if you contact them.

11. You write too much text

Mistake: the vast majority skim through the content for something of interest. If the recipients don’t find anything of interest within a few seconds, they will skip your email and go on to the next. It’s easier to write long texts, which is why it’s one of the most common mistakes you can make with newsletters.

Solution: the chances of getting your emails read increase if you keep it short, and break up the text with solid headlines, images, and lists. It’s better to write a summary and then link to a website or downloadable file if you want to read more.

It takes time to be concise, but one trick is to (1) write your text as you think, (2) read it aloud to yourself, and (3) then weed out or link on to the parts of the text that don’t add any direct value to the recipient.

Think like this:

1. What are you offering? – Heading
2. How can you help the recipient? – Content
3. What should they do next? – Call-To-Action

12. You write too impersonally

Mistake: some common email marketing mistakes that result in too impersonal texts are falling into the trap of thinking that your emails are just one-way communication. That you only focus on getting your message across or tend to write “like a business” and lose your personality.

Solution: You can write more personally with simple means. (1) Make it a habit to invite the reader into a dialogue by asking open-ended questions, asking for feedback, inserting simple survey questions, and asking them to contact support. (2) Think about inviting yourself and the people behind the keys by adding short personal stories, a quote, an idea or thoughts, and pictures.

13. No one knows about your newsletters

Mistake: if you have a great email offer, your customers want to know about it. The same goes if you write valuable articles that educate the reader, they want to know about it. It would be a shame if no one found your well-written emails or saw the value in signing up.

Don’t forget to promote your newsletter on multiple channels and clearly state why someone should sign up. A small box at the bottom of your homepage is not enough.

Solution: there are various ways to show that you have a newsletter worth following – signup forms or popups on the homepage are just one of them. Post about it on social media and mention it when talking to customers.

Make it easy for your current subscribers to share and invite their friends. Instead of writing “sign up for our newsletter” – phrase it so that the recipient feels like they’re becoming part of a secret club, or a group and getting an exclusive membership.

Over to you

Now it’s time for you to start your email marketing for real. Good luck on your journey!

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