- Top 15 common email marketing mistakes to avoid
- Wrapping up
Email marketing is one of the most widely used promotional channels. Because the competition is so fierce — 93% of B2B business owners use newsletters to connect with target audiences and acquire leads — it’s getting increasingly harder to get the recipient’s attention.
Hence, there’s no room for mistakes. However, no matter how brilliant your email campaigns are, we may commit those mistakes when contacting clients.
Top 15 common email marketing mistakes to avoid
As you are working on email marketing campaigns, there are a lot of things that can go awry at any moment. From putting a broken link inside the copy to rendering issues, the effects of email marketing mistakes can go anywhere from "whatever" to a full disaster.
To be sure your email marketing strategy represents the company in the best way possible, make sure to avoid the following mistakes:
Email marketing mistake 1. Buying subscriber lists or sending unsolicited emails
Since it takes time to curate a custom subscriber base, some marketers look for an easier way — such as purchasing a ready-to-go email database. Buying ready-to-deploy subscriber lists is one of the most common marketing mistakes. At first, it seems a perfect way to reach out to thousands of people, but in the long run, it turns out that purchasing an audience is not a viable marketing strategy.
However, you should try to avoid the approach because the audience of the database didn’t sign up for an email — to most readers, your email will be irrelevant, so they will quickly flag it as spam. Every time your corporate email is reported is one time too many since the email client will filter it, and your email will not reach even genuine readers.
As we know, being flagged as spam affects deliverability of future campaigns. Find other reasons that affect it in this Ultimate Email Deliverability Guide.
Even when collecting your database manually and adding to your list only those users who registered on your website or for an upcoming event, you need to get the user’s permission.
According to the GDPR regulations and the CanSPAM rules, users, when subscribing to your newsletters or joining your website, must check the “I give my consent” box manually on their own.
(Souce: Registration form on the MAC Cosmetics website)
Otherwise, your newsletters are considered unsolicited.
Email marketing mistake 2. No welcome email marketing campaigns
Users who register with your website expect a certain reaction from you. We’re talking about welcome emails.
Normally, in such emails, brands share with users instructions on using their tool and offer the most recent blog posts or the most popular product items.
(Source: Email from Goodreads)
It would be nice of you to notify email recipients about how often you will reach out to them and what will be in those newsletters. Be sure to highlight your strengths.
You may also add your personal signature if you like.
Immediately send a welcome/a series of onboarding emails. Build a necessary workflow with your ESP.
Remember that the first welcome email should go the minute your new subscriber registers with your website or signs up for newsletters.
Email marketing mistake 3. No consistent content marketing strategy
It’s impossible to overrate the importance of email marketing campaign planning and setting clear goals for every newsletter you send.
In all marketing efforts, maintaining consistency is key. One of the worst mistakes in email marketing is sending marketing emails sporadically, as readers will have no habit of interacting with your content, have no idea when to expect a new email from you, or even forget they subscribed in the first place.
As mentioned above, in welcome emails, you inform prospective customers about email frequency, how often they will “hear” from you, and what those emails will be about.
(Source: Email from BBC)
So, creating an editorial calendar is a way to build long-term communication strategies and a base of engaged readers. Sending marketing emails out on set days of the week, with fixed timing, helps the audience create a ritual of interacting with your email as soon as it’s out and waiting for new content.
Email marketing mistake 4. Errors in email texts
There are different views on typos. While some find these email marketing mistakes super annoying and would never deal with the company that put "Your missing out" in the subject line, others consider them an efficient way to get readers’ attention, like a bizarre type of catchy subject lines.
To start with, let’s distinguish between the two most common types of errors marketers commit when working on email copy:
- typos — e.g. abuot vs. about;
- grammos — e.g. you’re vs. your.
To make sure typos or grammar errors are not a turn-off for readers and won't affect click-through rates, try following these simple tips:
- install a spell-checker, like Grammarly, Ginger, TrustMyPaper, etc.;
- avoid long sentences and complicated clauses — they leave you at a higher risk of grammar difficulties;
- proofread your emails manually or consult with the Essay Tigers service to catch passive voice misuses and other stylistic issues.
Email marketing mistake 5. Underestimating the power of subject lines
The subject line is the frosting on the email cake. Although it doesn’t offer the main value of email marketing campaigns, it creates the first impression and decides the fate of your open rates. Poor subject lines can even make readers unsubscribe from you. Make your subject lines brief yet informative and use relevant emojis to catch subscribers' attention.
Email marketing mistake 6. Poorly personalized emails
Striving for personalization is great — it promotes your brand as considerate and caring, increasing the sender's reputation. According to GetResponse, personalized subject lines have a 24% open rate, while generic ones are opened by 21% of recipients; personalized email body has a 3.89% CTR compared to a 3.29% CTR of non-personalized emails.
(Source: Email from Harry Potter Fan Club)
Because personalization is such a powerful tool, the worst mistakes in email marketing come at a high cost. Just from our clients' experience, most issues marketers face have to do with personal data tokens. If you use [FNAME] or other tags, test if they are displayed right before starting email campaigns. Otherwise, you might end up awkwardly calling a recipient the wrong name or having "Dear [FNAME]" in the copy.
Please be advised:
You can add merge tags to your email copy for your specific ESP with Stripo.
In our A to Z blog post — the personalizing copy section — we in detail show how to do it.
Email marketing mistake 7. Old or broken links
CTR is one of the most important metrics for email marketers. Newsletters rarely have much standalone marketing value — however, they are a powerful tool to connect a prospective customer to the website or a social media channel.
We harness the potential of emails by adding links to them. Naturally, sending a newsletter with a broken or old link will deal a lot of damage. The most common email marketing mistakes connected with links are:
- forgetting to add a link to the marketing email;
- linking to admin accounts or documents that only the team can view;
- linking to different offers than those promoted;
- directing a reader to a 404 page;
- using links from previous newsletters. This happens quite often when using templates.
To ensure all of your links are functioning and secure, use a link testing tool — there are a lot of free tools you can try.
Email marketing mistake 8. Not having a clear CTA
Call to action is the climax of your emails. You’re focusing target audience with all your email content towards it. It should be easy for email recipients to guess at first glance what your email's main idea and goal is.
(Source: Email from 100% PURE)
When working on an email campaign, make sure CTA buttons are noticeable, have a clear copy, and have proper URLs.
See the types of buttons here.
Email marketing mistake 9. Non-accessible email layout
Another email marketing big mistake is not building accessible emails.
We tend to forget about those who use screen readers.
People may do it for various reasons: permanent or temporary visual impairments, being busy when driving/cooking, etc.
Some recipients who suffer from color blindness cannot distinguish, say, green from red and vice versa.
Dyslectics might be unable to read our emails when we use no full stops or semicolons at the end of a line or bulleted lists. And you never underline links in accessible emails.
(Source: Made up email)
We know you will find many email marketing mistakes examples in your Inbox. But we made up the example in order not to use email samples by real brands here.
No worries — all emails built with Stripo are adjusted to screen readers. You cannot see it in the code. Stripo adds necessary code elements when exporting emails to any ESP/CRM.
Find more details on how to make your emails accessible in Stripo’s respective blog post.
Email marketing mistake 10. Non-mobile friendly emails
Missing out on mobile users means letting go of dozens of prospective leads and major conversion boosts — 42% of emails are opened on mobile devices.
However, marketers are still slow to adopt mobile-friendly design practices. Sending out visually rich but non-responsive emails is one of the top common mistakes in email marketing that prevents business owners from connecting to the mobile core audience effortlessly.
Ensure the email builder you use provides you with fully responsive email templates to increase sales.
You can make all the images you add to your emails responsive by just toggling the respective button.
You can also set different font sizes and calls-to-action button widths when working on email design with Stripo.
See how to fully optimize your emails for mobile devices with Stripo in our “Responsive Email Layout” blog post.
Email marketing mistake 11. No testing
From your template editor to the email recipient inbox, an email goes through around 15,000 renderings. From the alignment of elements to the text and image size, whether there are too many images or not enough, it all drastically depends on the device, browser, or email client the reader is using.
With that in mind, business owners need to adopt the "Test it before you send it" mentality. Here’s a short checklist of the red flags to watch out for when testing emails:
- whether links are displayed correctly;
- whether email design renders correctly;
- the look of the subject line and the preview;
- the legibility of fonts on different devices and browser clients;
- image displaying across different platforms;
- the integrity of the email code;
- whether all alt tags are present;
- whether the marketing tracking system works correctly.
Email marketing mistake 12. Failing to automate workflow/drip campaigns
Sending emails manually might be easily managed if you are among small business owners or have a medium-sized subscriber base. However, keeping up with the campaign without marketing automation is impossible as the audience scales.
Email managers are often cautious about using automation tools as it’s a commitment in terms of time, effort, and money invested in software. However, automation is a way to build a sustainable communication strategy in the long run.
Here are some of the many tasks an automation solution helps optimize:
- building complex email campaigns — you build them once, and they work for you and your clients for a long time. Drip campaigns are mostly meant for trigger emails;
- tracking and monitoring — with automation software, you will know how many people opened the email, interacted with it, deleted it, or if emails failed the spam filter;
- strategizing. Automation tools help build sales funnels and ensure all of your campaigns are effective and goal-driven.
Email marketing mistake 13. Not segmenting subscribers
If you have a large audience, creating an equally relevant email to hundreds of thousands of people is hard. That’s where email segmentation comes into play — dividing subscribers into groups based on their interests, education, pain points, buying needs, and other criteria and sending emails with specific messages to each relevant group. Then, an email marketer creates newsletters that will resonate with these people on a deeper level.
The power of segmentation is not up for debate — segmented emails are opened 14% more often. Missing out on this stage is among common mistakes. In this way, you are lowering the efficiency of future campaigns and making them less manageable.
To segment email marketing audiences efficiently, marketers usually use these criteria:
- geographic — country and city of residence, native language, the best time to send newsletter emails. Ikea sent their email shown below to residents of Burbank and Carson cities;
(Source: Email from Ikea)
- demographic — gender, age, social and marital status;
- psychographic — interests, hobbies, education;
- behavioristic — customer journeys, on-site behavior, social media posting habits.
Email marketing mistake 14. Running several campaigns aimed at the same audiences
As a rule of thumb, expert marketing teams try not to involve one segment in multiple campaigns at once. Otherwise, you might send people conflicting emails, lowering the audience’s satisfaction and sender reputation.
Three emails per day seem like a little bit more than a regular customer expects.
If you want to test different emails on the audience with similar interests, break the segment down into two even subgroups and send a different newsletter to each. This way, you can choose a better-performing strategy without jeopardizing the company’s credibility and minimizing unsubscribe rates.
Email marketing mistake 15. Neglecting campaign analytics
Most marketing teams don’t run promotion campaigns across a single channel at a time — rather, you have to juggle PPC ads, social media promotion, and email marketing at once. As a result, it’s hard to distinguish high-performing strategies from failing ones.
To make data-driven marketing decisions, you need to be well aware of how subscribers react to all the content that you put out.
(Source: Screenshot of statistics of our email campaigns at eSputnik)
That’s why email marketers track the performance of every email by capturing relevant metrics:
- open rate;
- click-through rate;
- bounce rate;
- unsubscribe rate;
- revenue per email;
- ROI of the email.
To see a big-picture view of your marketing strategy, consider compiling the following reports:
- top five campaigns — collect data on campaigns with the highest ROI and analyze what led to their success;
- top five user journeys — based on the insights collected from email marketing, find the most efficient way to guide a visitor through the website and generate new leads;
- email delivery rate by location. If you are targeting multiple markets, it’s useful to have a general idea of deliverability for each area;
- engagement by device — to make sure your emails are well-optimized for computers, smartphones, and tablets alike, collect data for all these platforms and make sure there are no drastic differences in engagement rates.
Usually, email marketing means aiming at millions of prospective readers from all over the world. With a huge range of devices, platforms, interests, and behavior habits to consider, pleasing every subscriber on your list is next to impossible.
Having said that, most email marketing turn-offs come from rookie mistakes.
In this post, we investigated the pitfalls marketers normally face and shared tips on avoiding email marketing mistakes.
By testing your campaigns, writing content that resonates with readers, and aiming at long-term strategies, you will reduce the spam rate for your emails and will be able to create a dedicated audience of brand fans.