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Email marketing is an extremely effective way to get your message out to prospects and customers. Email allows for segmentation so you are able to target your message to those who will most want to read it. In fact, HubSpot found that 13 percent of all leads come from email marketing.

According to Pew Research, 92 percent of adults use email. Additionally, Radicati Group found that while social media is popular, there are three times more email accounts than Twitter and Facebook accounts combined. Campaign Monitor reports customers are six times more likely to click-through from an email than from a Tweet.

Committing yourself to email marketing is an important business step. Here are 10 common email mistakes you want to avoid:

Not getting permission

A surefire way to stop your email marketing efforts is to spam people. Not following the CAN-SPAM Act can get you into legal trouble. Make sure the people who supply their email addresses understand you will be contacting them via email. If you have an email form on your site that doesn’t specify this or if you upload a list of addresses you gathered somewhere else, permission is not granted. Be clear about how you will use an email address.

Not being aligned with your marketing plan

Every part of your marketing efforts should be cohesive. Email marketing never should stand on its own. Doing so confuses the recipient. Your branding, colors, fonts and logos, should be part of your email campaign. Make sure links within the email go to your website.

Poor subject lines

According to Convince and Convert digital marketing advisers, 33 percent of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. One third of your list will look at the subject line and decide right then and there.

Take the time to clean up and craft your subject line. Get personal. According to research by Adestra, personalized subject lines are 22 percent more likely to be opened. Avoid buzzwords, be concise, descriptive and limit the subject line to 50 characters or fewer. Add a sense of urgency, if possible. But don’t make every email one that needs to be opened “now!”

Finally, remember to test. A/B tests help you figure out which subject lines are better. Testing helps you determine what resonates best with your target audience.

Not focusing on the audience

You have to remember that not every email (or other marketing tactic) is an automatic conversion. Make sure your email messages are not about you and your needs (such as “buy now!”). Marketing is about the customer and his or her needs.

Every one of your emails should focus on your target audience. Be the solution to their problems. Don’t just try to sell to them. Instead, focus on helping them. If you forget about your audience, you will lose them.

Improperly segmenting

Keep in mind that not every person in your target audience is the same. Email marketing allows you to zero in on individuals and be more personal. Take the time to segment your list so you can speak more intimately to specific people in the audience.

When segmenting, considering different regions, locations, states or zip codes. If your product or service differs depending on age or gender, be sure to segment accordingly. Pay attention to engagement and buying behaviors; new customers should be targeted differently from long-standing customers.

Remember, shouting through a megaphone is different from whispering in someone’s ear. When you send the same message to everyone, it’s done through a megaphone. Taking time to target your customers let’s them know you are speaking directly to them. After all, no one in Texas, New York or Arizona, for example, will care about an offer that’s only available in Chicago. Shouting that out via a general email message will alienate those readers and likely lead to unsubscribes.

Long and confusing messages

Keeping in mind the way your emails are received is also important. Research by Campaign Monitor found 41 percent of email is opened on mobile devices. When you consider how a recipient sees your email, you’ll want to shorten it. Most messages are too long. You have approximately three seconds or less to engage a reader.

Additionally, don’t confuse your readers. Give them a picture, paragraph and a point of action. Make your message clear and concise.

Ineffective images

Using the correct image can gather attention and make an immediate impression. When deciding to use an image, make sure you have the rights or have purchased the rights to the photograph. Never use something that might invite legal problems.

Large images take a long time to load. Crop photos so they are no wider than 600 pixels. Always preview the email before sending. Make sure the image appears properly for mobile users.

Limit the number of images in your email. After surveying more than two million of their customers, email provider Constant Contact found, “with some industry specific exceptions, emails with three or fewer images and approximately 20 lines of text result in the highest click-through rates.”

Remember to optimize for blocked images. Approximately 60 percent of your audience will have images disabled. Thus, more than half of your readers will miss the call to action (unless they agree to download the images). While embedding in-line images can help with some blocking, it is not effective on all email clients. Create well-written alt tags to provide information about the image and give readers an idea about what they are missing if they don’t download the photo.

Not optimizing

Considering how many people open emails on a mobile device, marketers who do not optimize their email messages for mobile lose customers.

Email service provider Constant Contact found that 80 percent of smartphone owners say it is “extremely important” to read emails on their mobile devices. If they cannot, 75 percent of the nearly 1,500 survey respondents said they were “highly likely” to delete the email.

However, the good news is that 23 percent of readers who open an email on a mobile device open it again later according to Campaign Monitor.

Too much mail

Findings from survey conducted by YouGov showed that over-communication turns customers off. Two-thirds of those surveyed (in the United States and United Kingdom) said they would unsubscribe if they received too many emails. Research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey revealed 69 percent of subscribers said that too many emails is the No. 1 reason they unsubscribe.

Do some research to determine what your target audience is willing to accept. In general, once a week or once a month works well. You might even consider creating your subscription form in a way that lets the reader decide. Allow him or her to choose to receive emails on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Not monitoring, measuring or managing

One of the most common mistakes email marketers make is failing to analyze the results of a campaign. If you don’t learn from your results, your future campaigns will suffer.

The data you collect in email metrics can be a gold mine. First, you’ll discover a list of good and bad addresses. Remove hard bounces. They will only cost you money as you resend emails that will never be opened.

After a period of time, typically three or six months, take a look at inactive subscribers. If they have not opened or clicked-through, consider removing them from the list as well. Remember, you want to focus on your target audience. If these subscribers are not engaged with your mailings, they are not part of the target audience.

Examine open rates and days and times that emails are opened. By doing this, you can find the best time to send future emails.

Additionally, diving deeper into the data may allow for better segmentation based on who has opened, how often they open, when they open and whether they have shared the mailing with others. Being able to pinpoint specific readers helps you be more personalized with your mailings going forward. When that happens, a bigger percentage will be opened and you will engage with your customer more successfully.

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