5 Email Marketing Mistakes That Can Sink Your Campaigns
Email marketing isn't always easy — setting up an email list is only the start of your connection with customers. The trouble is, there are several email marketing mistakes that get in the way of achieving a long and productive relationship with your customers. Here are some of the key mistakes that sink email marketing campaigns, and how small business owners can avoid them.
1. Losing Subscribers Before the Open
Did you know you can tank your email marketing campaign even before subscribers open your email? Some of the key email marketing mistakes affect how your email appears in recipients' inboxes.
According to Litmus, there are three areas that affect email open rates:
- The sender name (42% look at this first)
- The subject line (34%)
- The preview text (24%)
How can you get past this barrier? Here's what you do:
- Identify your emails as coming from a real person. Many use the [name] at [company] format, and include a corresponding email address from their domain
- Learn how to write headlines for emails that boost open rates
Once you nail these, subscribers will be more likely to open your emails.
2. Sending Irrelevant Email
One of the worst email marketing mistakes is bombarding your email list with irrelevant email. That's what happens when you send every email to everyone on your list.
But the truth is, people are unique. They all have their own interests and problems, and they'll be more interested in your emails if they see them as relevant. Around 53% of people will abandon your list because of irrelevant email.
How can you avoid this email marketing mistake? By using email list segmentation. Segmentation means dividing your list into different parts, called segments, so you can send different emails to each one. It's what lets retailers send different emails to people interested in technology vs. housewares, or in women's vs. men's clothing.
Here's a guide to help you get started with email list segmentation.
3. Not Saying Hi
Most email marketing software has default options for welcoming new subscribers, but you don't want to use those. After all, your subscribers want to connect with you, so it's best to make it personal.
The welcome email is one of the most important emails you can send. One reason is that it's the email your subscribers are most likely to open. Welcome emails have a 50-60% open rate, which is way higher than most other emails.
Your welcome email is a great chance to:
- Let subscribers know they were right to subscribe
- Tell them something about you
- Share a helpful resource
- Deliver any incentive that you promised
In other words, a welcome email starts the relationship off right. Get it wrong, and it'll be harder to achieve success with any of your email marketing campaigns.
4. Sending Disappointing Content
Once subscribers open your emails, you've got to keep them engaged with your content. However, there are still quite a few email marketing mistakes that can drive them away.
Not Delivering on the Email Subject Line
One way to lose them is when the content of your email doesn't deliver on the subject line. People have expectations when they read your email subject line; it's your job to deliver. That's part of letting subscribers know they've made the right decision by subscribing and opening your emails.
Excessively Long Emails
If your email is too long, people may not read to the end. That means they're unlikely to take action on your email. According to Sleeknote's email stats roundup, 125 words is the best length for your email. And Hubspot suggests no more than 200 words.
In other words, keep your emails short and sweet.
Selling Too Hard
While you're at it, there's one more email marketing mistake some people make: selling too hard. Sure, you want subscribers to buy your stuff, but a lot of your emails are about building a relationship so they want to buy. So be human, and avoid the hard sell for better email campaign results.
Poor Calls to Action
The last important bit of your email is the call to action (CTA). This is where you tell subscribers what you want them to do, like:
- Visit our store for discounts
- Check out the deal
- Grab the freebie
The best CTAs include an action you want subscribers to take, and a benefit they get. Repeat the CTA a couple times within an email — for example, as a button and as an inline link.
5. Failing to Test Emails
The final email marketing mistake that sinks campaigns is not testing your emails. No matter what email marketing advice you follow, it doesn't compare to knowing how your subscribers react to your emails.
Most email marketing software allows you to test different subject lines. You can also use split testing tools to compare different aspects of your emails, and see which headlines, content, links and buttons are most effective.
Test regularly, and you'll end up with better performing campaigns that avoid the worst email marketing mistakes.