Common email marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

Common email marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

One of the sites I keep regular tabs on is Marketing Sherpa. Articles are initially free for the first 7 days and then require the payment of a small fee to view again. This model in itself is genius – it obviously encourages you to keep regular tabs on the site without having to pay for content. As a result I’m sure they have lots of regular visitors.

One of areas that they regularly cover is email marketing. A recent free 38 page report titled “Marketing Sherpa’s Dirty Dozen: Email Newsletter Mistakes Nearly Everyone Makes” is essential reading for all email marketers wanting to avoid many common mistakes. Topics covered include:

  1. Blatant Lack of Permission. Their comments include good examples on how clear opt-in forms should be structured.
  2. Utterly Deficient Segmentation. They explain why list segmentation is a good idea and how this can be achieved – with example preference centres.
  3. Lame ‘Welcome’ Messages. This flags that instead of sending a rather boring standard welcome message (not a good way to make an initial stand out impression) why not incude links to recent site content or for e-commerce sites even special offers of promotions.
  4. Frequency Decisions Made for the Wrong Reason. The issue of frequency is an interesting one from my perspective and one that I have covered in a previous post. Nonetheless, the authors make some good points and recommendations including conducting testing, and a complete no-brainer – sending out an email when you have something that the reader would be interested in receiving (i.e. not what you think they should hear).
  5. Institution-to-One-Messaging. This looks at something many companies forget – that personalisation not only relates to the recipient, i.e. Dear Joe, but who the message is coming from. Try as far as possible to send the mssage from a person rather than the company. Financial Services marketers might be interested in taking a look at the example they give from Charles Schwab who provides the contact details for the personal consultant to the customer in the email.
  6. No Real Interactivity. This highlights an important point. The Internet at its best can engender engagement and two way communication. Don’t therefore just reat email and newsletters in particular as a one way ‘blast’ communication.
  7. Deliverability: Content, Formatting & Lack of Self-Advocacy. Deliverability is key. Afterall, if your messages are not getting delivered to subscribers or they aren’t being opened, why even bother investing marketing dollars in them.  This highlights that you shouldn’t just worry about the technical aspects surrounding email deliverability. Simple things like subject lines and how engaging they are can also radically affect open rates.
  8. Designing Images That Appear as Red Xs. Some of the biggest clients I have worked with in the past have fallen into this trap. In today’s diverse email client environment, ensure that your messages will work without any graphics – i.e. ensure that you achieve a sound balance between text and images.
  9. Disregarding Your Blackberry and Mobile Readers. Although Bl(cr)ackberries do not currently display HTML messages its important to pay attention to this reader demographic as these device recipients are often high earners. I’ve often been able to reach this audience by incorporating a link to an HTML version of an email at the top of the message – something along the lines of “If this message is not displaying correctly, click here. For  This allows Blackberry readers to still see the message – but as a web page. For specific B2B communications where I know the audience is likely to have lots of Blackbery users I have even tailored this message to read “If you are reading this message on a Blackberry,  please click here”.
  10. Repeating Ad Types. If at all possible rotate your HTML templates.This can keep your creative interesting and help with response rates.
  11. Collecting Bad Response Rates. Are you calculating your stats according to industry best practice? This section alone warrents downloading the document.
  12. Relying on Email only. This last point is from a B2B persective is the most important of all. While email marketing can be highly engaging reaching out to an audience, the most effective campaigns I have ever worked on require physical follow up by sales team members to close deals. Email can provide important metrics around who has interacted with the communication and what they have looked at – even to what extent the recipient has forwarded the communication on. These metrics can provide members of Sales Teams with the informtion they need to successfully close deals.

No related posts.