6 Email Marketing Mistakes You Might be Making
By Tanya Douglas Posted February 20, 2022
In the digital marketing world, few marketing methods can claim to match the efficiency of email marketing. This timeless method has evolved substantially from the days of cold email blasts, an outbound practice of questionable efficiency. Today, it spearheads marketing campaigns in tandem with SEO and CRM solutions, enhancing inbound strategies with immense ROI potential. In turn, email channels also augment management and collaborative efforts, such as through email-blast reports and automatic email notifications, respectively. However, this complex marketing method also entails challenges – especially for the uninitiated. So, in this article, we will outline the 6 most common mistakes you may best avoid.
#1 Not getting express permission
Perhaps the first mistake email marketers make is neglecting to get their recipients’ express permission – often through purchasing email lists. This misstep alone can both severely undermine your campaigns’ effectiveness and land you in legal trouble.
Starting with the latter, regulations in the EU and the US strictly prohibit such practices. The former does so through GDPR regulations and the latter through FCC equivalents. Data protection and anti-spam laws will differ across the world, of course, but all such regulations now stress the need for explicit consent.
In addition, email carriers often prohibit such practices as well. Even if they do not identify them themselves, recipients will most often flag unsolicited emails as spam. Naturally, being penalized or blacklisted by carriers will also hamper your efforts.
Finally, regarding campaign effectiveness, recipients themselves actively frown upon this practice. They will often flag such emails as spam and will certainly not respond to them in beneficial ways. Thus, there is simply no benefit to engaging in this practice worth the risks that follow.
#2 Not leveraging automation
The second among email marketing mistakes you might be making lies in not leveraging automation. Surprisingly, many email marketers still rely on manual email outreach. While this may seem sustainable for smaller businesses, it’s simply suboptimal; you really need to automate it as much as you can, for many reasons.
For one, simple automation alone can go a long way toward building trust. For example, simple automated acknowledgments of support tickets can let existing customers know they’re valued. Similarly, order confirmation and receipt emails are common practice now and also help boost your sender reputation.
As regards email marketing specifically, automation can present immense opportunities. For instance, marketers may automate newsletter and promotional emails for specific subscribers or customer segments. In doing so, they can both reduce their workload and apply personalization - a coveted quality in itself. Moreover, automated emails can extend one’s campaigns beyond regular working hours without the expenses that would follow.
#3 Failing to segment and personalize
This third issue is perhaps the most fundamental one, as it considerably informs campaign effectiveness. In simple terms, it sees marketers fail to embrace list segmentation and personalization. Both subjects offer enough depth to warrant their own articles, so here we may try to cover their fundamentals.
The practice of list segmentation is the natural next step after audience analysis. Through CRM solutions, businesses may segment their leads based on demographics, psychographics, value, and other notable characteristics. In turn, they may tailor their email campaigns to specific segments, better addressing their pain points and meeting their needs.
As another product of this practice, businesses may then further personalize their outreach for better results. This may include segment-specific outreach timing, style and tone adjustments, and even exact offer choices. It may even include event-triggered email automation, where behavioral analytics can offer demonstrable benefits.
Of course, personalization doesn’t need to begin with such advanced techniques. It may simply entail using your recipients’ names and histories within your email copy, which by itself works wonders.
#4 Crafting weak copy
On that subject, fourth among email marketing mistakes you might be making is simply crafting weak copy. This subject too offers massive depth, so here we may cover the basics.
Largely, marketing email copy needs to fulfill a very specific purpose; inspire trust and compel the recipient to convert. The conversion type will depend on the campaign’s goals, of course; it may be a simple signup or a transaction. Still, it’s the copy itself that will ensure success or guarantee failure.
The very first mistake often comes with “inbox looks”; how an unopened email looks to the recipient. Here, the subject line should clearly and briefly state the email’s subject. The subheader should augment it further, while the sender name should always include the company name and be immediately recognizable.
The second mistake lies in copy body. Here, grammatical and syntactical mistakes are less common, but fluff is quite common still; colorful language that doesn’t add value. For copy body, it’s ideal to remain laser-focused on a proposition’s value while not opting for hard sells. Using the recipient’s information will further inspire trust, as will adopting a tone that resonates with their segment.
The final mistake lies with poor CTAs; unreadable or weak calls to action. Here, it is crucial to keep CTA buttons visible without visual clutter alongside them. Their copy should convince through strong action verbs, and their offer should be crystal clear in its relevance and value.
#5 Neglecting mobile users
Chances are high that this is one of the email marketing mistakes you might be making; mobile optimization. Marketers still overlook mobile users, to the direct detriment of their campaigns.
Mobile devices have drastically affected the marketing world, and for a good reason. Over 5 billion people now have mobile devices, and mobile website traffic now surpasses desktop traffic. As regards email specifically, 4 in 10 emails are opened on mobile devices.
By necessity, mobile devices have less screen real estate – which largely informed the mobile-first web design direction of recent years. This presents a notable challenge for email marketers as well; mobile users will both view and interact with emails differently.
As such, it’s ideally advisable to use email test tools that provide mobile preview functionalities. This will allow marketers to simplify their designs, condense their messages, and better cater to mobile users on the whole.
#6 Not A/B testing
Finally, a common mistake across all marketing endeavors lies in simple lack of tracking and testing. Email tracking offers excellent, actionable insights, as does A/B testing software – with immense benefits.
Very few campaigns will go according to plan. Unnoticed errors, simple changes in market trends, and many other factors will affect email campaigns’ final performance. The ongoing pandemic is an excellent example of this, as customer behaviors have notably changed.
Thus, consistently monitoring campaigns and A/B testing reactive adjustments are both immensely useful practices. They will allow marketers to keep up with the demands and expectations of their segments and adjust in time. As with all marketing methods, analytics should ultimately dictate one’s course of action – and email marketing is no exception.
In brief, email marketing mistakes you might be making can range quite widely. Mistakes might be made regarding how you put together your lists and whether you’ve acquired your recipients’ consent. They might come from how you approach your copy, how you craft your CTAs, or even from whether you monitor your efforts. Of course, the frequency and severity of such mistakes will differ, as will the exact solutions you use to avoid or correct them. Nonetheless, while brief, this article should hopefully help you ensure success.