Errors Ruining Your Email Marketing

Email continues to be a powerful marketing tool and with the lowest cost per lead, it is also extremely cost effective. Email is also a big contributor to direct traffic, which is known to result in a higher percentage of conversions. However, your email marketing efforts can fall flat unless these common errors are eliminated:

Sending impersonal messages

Use customer behavioral data available at your disposal to personalize the message to each recipient. You can use behavioral email marketing software to build an individual profile of your subscribers or customers. Behavioral campaigns take into account the actions that your customers take when dealing with your business. When putting together a behavioral campaign, you should take into account factors such as the customer’s age, location, last time he visited your website, last transaction he completed on your website (signed in, viewed a specific product, used a particular feature etc.).  

You can also send out trigger based emails automatically on important occasions related to your subscribers and based on the actions that they have taken when interacting with your business. Trigger based messages can make your subscribers feel special and valued. It can include welcome messages, reminders to purchase a product that they had viewed on your website, a birthday greeting, a reminder to visit your website after say a month of no visits, reminder to renew a service or reorder a product. Trigger based emails are almost always focused on up-sell or resell but it is important to only share details of products that the customer is interested in

Transactional campaigns are initiated by a transaction that the customer has completed, such as a purchase, a profile update, opts in for a newsletter etc. The trigger email can help to reinforce your brand and help the customers to feel valued. Transactional and trigger based campaigns have an average open rate of 50% compared to the 20% for conventional newsletters.

Not optimizing emails for mobile devices 

Mobile devices drive 45 percent of email opens and given this fact, it is vital to ensure that your email messages are optimized for viewing on mobile devices without having to pinch or zoom. If customers are unable to read the email, they will simply delete it. 

Not measuring

It is vital to track the performance of your email campaigns and act based on the valuable learnings. Measure click-through and open rates and aim for continuous improvements with split testing. You need to keep experimenting based on the data and your target audience. If your email reports show that a particular type of email based on a topic, content or layout is faring poorly, look at ways to improve or consider dropping it completely.

Not providing an option to unsubscribe

 It is important to offer subscribers one-click unsubscribe option or the facility to selectively subscribe for only specific topics or a newsletter.

Not being consistent 

Set a frequency for your emails and stick to it. See how long it normally takes you to gather interesting information for a newsletter. You can even find out from your subscribers, how often they would like to hear from you. This information can be captured during subscription or through an email preference hub. When you involve subscribers in setting the frequency of your messages, you are putting the power into their hands. Research has shown that sending emails once in two weeks to subscribers works well without being overwhelming.

Sending emails only when you want to sell something 

Don’t email subscribers with only cross sell or up sell offers. Make it a point to include useful content such as tutorials, how-to-guides etc. to balance the sales announcements.

Not sending a welcome email

Welcome emails are known to garner the more opens and clicks than other emails and reduce complaints for spam. So make sure to send an email to welcome new subscribers.

Emailing people without consent

You cannot email someone because they just handed you their business card at an event or have connected with you on LinkedIn. You cannot even email someone because they participated in a raffle draw that you organized unless they have expressly given you consent to contact you with information about promotions etc.

Not spending time on the subject line 

Spend some time on crafting a compelling subject line. Don’t just write something and expect people to open your email. Its best to even do a split test with two subject lines to see which one works best in terms of open rates. However, make sure that you don’t use over hyped subject lines. If you use a very attractive subject line to bait the recipient without having content to match in the body of the email, it can very easily erode the credibility of your brand.  

Adding too many fields on opt-in forms

Don’t ask for information that you will not use. Your opt-in forms should ideally have just one field for the email address. The more you ask the lower the chance of someone signing up for the information.

Not having an email disaster recovery plan

In the event of a mistake creeping up in your email such as having a visual that is not related to the product, subject line that is unrelated to the body copy, or spelling errors in the subject line, you need to have a plan on how to respond. As and when an error occurs, its important to make a proper assessment; don’t be in a hurry to send out a correction. If the error is likely to have a very serious financial or reputational impact, then it will be necessary to send out a correction. However, if it is a minor issue, then its best to ignore it. Sending out a correction will only serve to highlight the error to those who may not even have seen it. You also need to weigh in the possibility of subscribers getting irritated about getting two consecutive emails on the same subject; it may even prompt people to unsubscribe in sheer frustration. If you do send out a correction, make it very clear in the subject line that it is indeed a correction; you can use words such as ‘update’, ‘sorry’ etc.

Not proofreading your emails

Make it a point to proofread your emails multiple times before it goes out. This will help you to catch typos, detect broken links, errors in the dates etc. It helps to have several people proofread the email to detect errors.

Not paying attention to message preview

Almost all email clients show a pre-header or a preview of the message close to the subject line. This is usually about 100 characters and is taken from the initial few lines of your message. Paying attention to the pre-header and tweaking it can improve the open rates of your emails.  

Using a no-reply email address

Give people an opportunity to engage with you and don’t hide behind a generic admin or no-reply email account; its like saying that you don’t want to engage with the very people that keep you in business. Always, provide toll-free numbers or dedicated email addresses within your body copy and encourage recipients to contact you for queries or clarifications.

Having multiple Calls to Action (CTAs) in an email

Don’t stuff your email with multiple CTAs. Giving people too many choices confuses them. Include a single CTA and link it to a landing page that has similar content. This will help to improve conversions.  You need to be clear on what the reader is expected to do after reading your email. Be specific on what you want the person to do. You need to have a clear purpose, a single idea, a single CTA and one task for the recipient to complete. 

Sending long emails

Keeping emails short, fun and easy to read will increase engagement levels. Don’t cram too much information into a single email. Besides sucking up time and effort, such emails are likely to be ineffective. With dwindling attention spans, it is unlikely that somebody will read a long email that takes 10 minutes to complete.

Sending image only emails 

Using only images in an email is something that should be strictly avoided as it can have issues on mobile devices and can trigger spam filters. Make sure to use the appropriate text-to-image ratio.

Sending no image emails

Use at least one image in emails; split tests show that people tend to respond better to emails with images as opposed to those having only text links.

Emailing those who are not opening your message

If the email reports show that a certain subscriber is consistently ignoring your emails, it may be a good idea to remove them from the mailing list as the spam filters may categorize the email as junk after a while.

Not segmenting email lists

The one size fits all approach will not get you the results that you are seeking. If you already know from the signing up stage that a subscriber is interested in a particular type of information or content, then you need to share only such material with the person.

Not adjusting for blocked images

A high percentage of subscribers have disabled images and many email clients block images automatically. So unless the recipient of your email opts to download images, your call to action will be missed. This can be countered with images off optimization, which is basically using CSS to give a background color and stylize alt/title text. You can also use a third party service for a more effortless implementation.