August 10, 2022

7 Email Marketing Mistakes

By: Mary Hiers

Here are 7 of the most common mistakes companies make with their email marketing. Click on one to learn more about it. 

  1. No Defined Target Audience
  2. No Personalization Strategy
  3. Outdated Email Contact Data
  4. Bad Subject Lines
  5. Bad Email Scheduling
  6. Not Personalizing the Rest of the Journey
  7. Not Tracking Email Marketing Performance

Email Marketing: Nobody Is Perfect

The “perfect” email marketing campaign is mythical. If nothing else, there will probably be a wrong email address somewhere in the recipient database.

These seven common email marketing blunders are by no means the only ones. But they’re common enough to be relatable for most businesses. 

Don’t despair if you have made (or are making) some of these email marketing mistakes. Learning is the key to fixing them and getting better results.

1. No Defined Target Audience

Suppose you sell pet food and send out the same marketing email to your entire list. That means you’re sending dog food information to cat people and cat food information to dog people. 

Having a defined target audience means your messages reach people who are receptive to them. There are many ways to create a defined target audience. Audience segmentation is one of them.

When people sign up for your email list, you could have them check off specific topics or products in which they are interested. Or you could include a similar poll in an email that goes out to everyone.

2. No Personalization Strategy

Here are a few sobering statistics.

  • 72% of customers only engage with messages that are personalized.
  • 70% of consumers say their loyalty depends partly on how well a company understands them.
  • 71% of customers find impersonal purchase experiences frustrating.

Personalization is a means to improve customers’ experience with your business. Step one to personalizing your email marketing strategy is defining your target audience(s).

Defined target audiences plus a commitment to personalization plus email marketing technology equal happier email recipients.

3. Outdated Email Contact Data

Like radioactive isotopes, data has a half-life. Think of data’s “half-life” as the time it takes for half of it to become irrelevant. 

People change jobs, change names, and change locations regularly. Quite often, these changes affect their email contact data. 

Trying to contact people whose emails bounce back is one way to ensure you have current data for your email database. Regularly asking email recipients to check and update their information is another.

In order for your email marketing messages to work, they have to reach their target audience. Good data “hygiene” helps make this happen.

4. Bad Subject Lines

You may not realize how important a good subject line is. A great subject line can get an indifferent recipient to open an email they might not otherwise. A dull subject line can bore your most loyal customer into deleting without reading.

Bad subject lines are ones that are too generic (Big sale!), emoji-laden, or full of words associated with spam. They don’t pique the reader’s sense of urgency. Or they do, but then run on for far too long.

Fortunately, writing good subject lines is a skill you can develop. The more you practice, the more you avoid dull, non-enticing subject lines (and the apathy they induce). 

5. Bad Email Scheduling

If you only send marketing emails when you feel like it, people will forget about you. Likewise, if you send them every day, people will grow annoyed and opt-out. 

If you send marketing emails when most of your customers are asleep, you may get low open rates. People’s response to discovering a full email inbox is often checking off the ones that aren’t earth-shattering and deleting them unread. 

Send emails on a regular schedule (say, weekly, on Mondays), and send them at the time of day when your customer base is up and working. Most email platforms will help you determine the best time of day to send emails, so there’s no excuse. 

6. Not Personalizing the Entire Customer Path

Imagine receiving email after email calling you by name, anticipating products or services you love, and generally wooing you until you take the next step in the buying process. Then imagine being treated like a stranger from then on.

If you reach someone through your marketing emails and they choose to make a purchase, it’s essential that you carry on the personalization of the rest of their path to purchase. Forgetting you’ve been emailing them for a year when they have their credit card out is rather rude and doesn’t bode well for future purchases.

7. Not Tracking Email Marketing Performance

How can you make your marketing emails perform better when you don’t know how they’re performing right now? Tracking email marketing performance doesn’t have to be overly complicated or time-consuming.

Many email marketing platforms have built-in tracking. They will tell you how many emails were successfully delivered, how many were opened, and how many people clicked through to your offer. 

Some platforms have even more detailed tracking capabilities. Why would you not take advantage of them? Platforms typically offer tools like A/B testing so you can see which subject line or call-to-action button works best, for example.

Bonus Mistake: Boring Emails

If you send the same marketing email endlessly, you can’t be surprised that people stop opening them. Email marketing doesn’t cost money in the same way as ad placement. But it does cost in terms of effort spent creating messages that people want to read. 

Whether you do email newsletters, promotional offers, or “abandoned cart” emails, you need to use some creativity. An updated design or different call-to-action placement can sometimes be just the thing to get people to take another look. 

Email marketing is so powerful that few businesses can afford to forego it. Return on investment is spectacular for email marketing, and marketing emails that correspond with current social media ads can help boost those ads’ ROI. 

If you like the idea of email marketing but don’t have the time or expertise to use it, we should talk. Coordinated digital marketing campaigns can deliver more than the sum of their components if done strategically.

Email marketing is effective. But there’s still no reason to get sloppy with it. Make too many mistakes, and you could be leaving money on the table. 

Schedule a call with our team to talk about email marketing. We would love to show you how to create email marketing campaigns that excel.

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