Photo courtesy of Louise McLaren on Flickr

By Olga Stoyan and Serhat Pala

Here are more common marketing mistakes people make. This week, we concentrate on email marketing specifically.

1. Relying on graphics rather than text.

True, graphics look good, but images can sometimes be disabled by the recipient’s email service or they can take time to download. Try to use a combination of the two. This way the text shows up right away and recipients can start getting the message while the images load. If the images are disabled, you still get your point across to your recipients and you’re less likely to get an opt out because of a “broken” email.

2. Sending emails at the same time and date.

Sometimes it’s good not to play by the rules. If all the tests have shown the optimal time to send is, say, Wednesday morning, it is most likely to get the best open rate. But there are two issues:

  1. Your competitors are likely to have done the same tests and are very likely to send at the same time. Your email promotion can either lose to the better competitor offer or get lost among other emails and not be seen at all.
  2. You lose people who are not available at that time. Some people are busy in the morning, some are busy in the afternoon. Some have more time on weekends and some during week days.

3. Not resending emails.

It is true that if you resend an email to people who did not open it the first time you would probably get a very low open rate. But the click rate is usually higher. And this way you are able to reach out to people who missed your first email. Many people have a separate email address for promotions, which they check every once in a while. Business customers would have a separate folder in their Outlook for offers, which works the same. This is good, because it makes opt out rates lower (people expect to get offers to that address/folder and do not get upset or unsubscribe when they receive these offers).

But, this way they also end up with dozens of promos every day. The more emails they receive from you the better chance they will see it. In our experience, we’ve had some of our best orders come from a third or even fourth resend.

Tip: for the third or fourth resend, do not exclude people who opened before and use a Subject line like Last Chance. This does wonders.

4. Not segmenting email lists.

Different types of your customers have different needs and will be more responsive to a catered offer. Segment your customers based on the nature of your business ( e.g. corporate vs individual, men vs women, bigger orders vs smaller, based on type of product etc). One segment that needs to be paid attention to in all businesses is the Old Customers. You can get their attention with bigger offers and Subject lines like We Miss You.

5. Leaving the decision to come up with the Subject line until the end.

The subject line is important, too important to leave it until the end. Keep in mind, a great deal of people will only see the From line and Subject line of your email (depending on what they use to manage their inbox).

So make sure subject line is:

  • interesting (try different approaches, and pay attention to your incoming emails to see what triggers you);
  • relevant and makes sense (don’t say “best deal ever” and give them a smiley face); and
  • not going to trigger spam filters (keywords like free, CAPS etc… trigger spam filters)

The name in theĀ From line is important, and should be consistent.

Instead of leaving your Subject line until the end, try putting it in first. This will help you focus the rest of the email.

6. Not looking at (or having) email statistics.

How do you know what to change if you don’t know what is working and what is not. Here are the key statistics:

  • Deliverability – How many of your emails actually hit the intended inbox? If it’s lower than 90% you have a problem. Reasons why it is not hitting the intended inboxes could include having the wrong email address, accidentally being blacklisted as a spammer, or your emails are getting caught in people’s junk mail folders.
  • Open rate – Reasons the open rate is low could be that you are sending them at the wrong time, with the wrong subject line, to the wrong people, or on the wrong day of the week.
  • Click through rate – Reasons people aren’t clicking on the links in your email could include not having an interesting offer, not having good graphics, not having a compelling call to action, or having buttons in your email that do not work.

Why make your own mistakes when you can learn from others? Avoid these pitfalls of email marketing and reap the rewards of doing things the right way right away.

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Wow, nice tips here! I’d like to start my own website with autoresponder (like aweber, is that good?) I will not do the mistakes you listed here for sure, thumbs up!

    • Thanks for the comment, Gillian. Good luck with your website. Can’t really say anything about Aweber, but do your research and shop around before committing to any service.

  2. […] We’ve already pointed out before how important email marketing is. […]


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