Email marketing is a form of electronic marketing in which marketers send one or more messages to a group of people, usually via electronic messaging services like SMTP and HTML. These messages are usually commercial in nature and designed to encourage the recipient to take some sort of action. That action might be to buy a product, visit a website, or register for information about a product or service.
While email marketing is a valuable tool for any business, it’s not a perfect vehicle for every type of message. Here are the top 10 email marketing mistakes that professionals make, along with some possible solutions. (You can also find a complete guide to creating an email marketing plan.)
1. Using Personal Email Addresses
The first major email marketing mistake is to use personal email addresses, rather than business email addresses, when sending marketing correspondence. Your customers and potential customers have a personal connection to your business because you provide a product or service that they need or want. Use your business email address, rather than your personal email address, when communicating with customers. Businesses that use personal email addresses to conduct business often confuse customers and lose business as a result.
2. Thinking That Subject Lines and Hooks Will Bring in More Emails
A lot of email marketing happens because businesses believe that using the subject line of the email and a hook—such as “New Product, Limited Time Offer!” or “Find Out How to Make Money With This Useful Tip!”—will get consumers to open and read the message. Although there’s some truth to this, in reality it’s quite the opposite. The more you rely on subject lines and hooks, the less attention you will get on the messages you send. Think about how many emails you get each day. Now think about how many of those emails include a compelling headline and some interesting content? The answer is very few.
To get attention, you need to forget about the subject line and use the first few words of your email to hook the reader. For example, in the case of our example business, Newegg, the subject line of the email could be “Introducing the New Generation of Laptops” and the hook could be “Save $100 on your next laptop purchase!” The content of the email would then go on to talk about the amazing new laptops that Newegg has for sale.
3. Focusing On One Or Two Platforms
Another major email marketing mistake is to focus on one or two platforms for sending out your messages. For example, if you’re starting a new store and decide to use email marketing to attract customers, you might choose to use MailChimp, ConvertKit, or HubSpot to send out your emails. Each of these platforms is completely different, and you may not have the time to learn how to use all of them, especially since you’ll also be busy running your business.
If you’re just getting started, it may be best to choose one platform and learn how to use it effectively. After you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can start to branch out and use other platforms. Most businesses that use email marketing do so through a single channel (usually a combination of mail, SMS, and social media), so it’s important to research the strengths of each platform and how to use them together.
4. Not Testing Incoming Email Campaigns
Even though email marketing is a broad term and can cover a wide variety of marketing efforts, one of the most basic yet critical steps you need to take is to ensure that you are testing your campaigns. You have no idea what will work and what will not, so you need to be finding out as you go. Start by collecting as much data as possible about the emails that you send out and how consumers respond to them. There are several ways to do this, but one of the simplest is to add a little code to the email that you send out and observe the results. When you’re testing, you should not be using real email addresses, so you can ensure that you’re not sending out any spam.
5. Failing To Plan For The Long Haul
A common mistake that businesses make is to set a goal for a short-term result and then completely change their strategy when they don’t get that result. Although very fortunate to have gained so much success so far, Newegg made this mistake in the early days and did not see the anticipated results until they changed their approach and tried something new. For example, to gain greater traction with their email campaigns, they decided to focus on creating compelling content and using SEO to gain top rankings in search results for keywords relevant to their industry. After making this change, they began to see increased results from their email marketing efforts and evolved their strategy in response.
6. Underestimating The Importance Of Tracking And Measuring
Email marketing is mostly done manually, so it’s easy to see why so many businesses make the mistake of underestimating the importance of tracking and measuring their results. Although you may not always get the desired results from a single campaign, you can usually find data that will allow you to optimize your strategy and get more out of your campaigns. For example, if a campaign sends out an email to a list of 10,000 people and only 500 of them open the email, you can deduce that the email may have been delivered but not necessarily opened and read by the recipient. In this case, you would want to try sending the email to a different audience.
7. Overemphasizing Short-Lived Results
If you’re just getting started, it may be appealing to you to try and maximize the results of your email marketing efforts as quickly as possible. After all, you’ve just gotten started and have not yet achieved a significant amount of success. To be able to make the most of your resources, it’s important to focus on the long term and be realistic about your expectations. Remember, you’re just getting started and the results of your efforts will be slower in coming.
8. Thinking That Consumers Will Remember Your Company
Another mistake that businesses make is to believe that consumers will remember their company, rather than the product or service that the company offers. Although you may get some initial interest from a consumer, you may not always remember the company’s name a few weeks or months later when they come back for another product or service. To get people to remember you, you need to be unique and offer something special. For example, if you’re a business that sells mattresses, you might try offering a free mattress with each of their mattresses since people usually end up buying more than one at a time. It’s also worth considering some form of engagement or loyalty program where you can reward people for repeating purchases. These types of strategies help ensure that customers will remember your company the next time they need whatever it is that you sell.
9. Assuming That Consumers Will Respond To Everything In An Email
Many businesses make the mistake of assuming that all of their customers will respond to everything that they send out in an email. Although you may get some initial interest from a consumer, you may not always get a coherent response to your entire email, especially if it’s long. In some cases, consumers may even decide to ignore all of the email that they receive from a particular business, regardless of how important the content may be. If you want your email to be effective, it needs to have a coherent theme, be concise, and utilize multiple platforms.
10. Thinking That Consumers Will Respond To Calls-To-Action In An Email
One of the most important things that you need to do if you want to be successful with your email marketing is to try and get people to take action. Calls-to-action are important because they help you get people to take some sort of action or provide you with critical information. In most cases, encouraging people to take an action will get you a click or a tap on a phone number, but in some instances, you may need to go that extra mile and lay out a full plan. For example, if you’re trying to get people to subscribe to a newsletter, you may want to provide them with some additional benefits, such as early access to deals or discounts in exchange for their email address. Just remember, not everyone will always want or need what you’re offering, so you always have the option of providing a nice alternative to get people’s attention.