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Did you read your email this morning? Sure you did, it’s the first thing 66 percent of people do after they wake up. Your inbox probably was—and regularly is—bogged down by hundreds of marketing emails trying to sell you everything from flowers to SEO services.
Well, this morning was like every morning. Before I even had my coffee I was scrolling through emails, judging which ones to open, delete, or save for later.
One particular marketing email caught my eye—and not in a good way:
This email embodies most of the worst email marketing mistakes you could possibly make. Whenever I get emails that are THIS BAD, I respond with some professional tips:
Chances are, my reply will never be read. But take my advice—before you draft your next marketing email, understand that a bad email marketing campaign will turn off potential customers faster than a photo of grandma in a bikini.
Yes, email marketing is an incredible way to acquire leads and sales—if you do the exact opposite of what that guy did. In fact, you need to avoid the following 7 email marketing mistakes like the plague:
- Glaring spelling and grammar mistakes
- A bad subject line
- Not optimizing your email for mobile viewing
- The “from” email is either “noreply” or looks spammy
- Failing to include your contact info or the option to “unsubscribe” at the bottom
- Buying email lists
- Not forming a strategy based off of tracking analytics
Email Mistake #1:Glaring spelling and grammar mistakes
Re-read that email I was sent. On first glance, it sorta makes sense, but then when you actually READ it you realize it sounds like it was written by a computer that doesn’t speak English. Red flag.
They way you present yourself also represents your product or service. If you’re communicating “I can’t proofread an email,” you’re also communicating “What else do I let fall through the cracks?” Avoid it by reading your email out loud and always having one (or two) people read if after you.
Pro Tip: Send yourself a test email from your email marketing platform so you can see both the email and the subject line from a recipient’s point of view.
Email Mistake #2: A bad subject line
People are judgy.
That’s not my opinion—it’s a fact. The human brain relies on biases to quickly judge people, events, and surroundings because it takes less cognitive work than trying to form an original opinion on every single thing. What that means is that people make basic assumptions based on past experiences and observations.
This inherent judgy-ness explains why more than 47 percent of email recipients decide whether to open an email and 69 percent of them decide if an email is spam based on the subject line alone. This process—from first look to judgment—happens in under a tenth of a second. What that means is that your email subject line needs to stand out, capture attention, and convince readers to care about what’s inside immediately.
Another tanker? A subject line that’s too long. You can craft the most compelling subject line known to man, but if it gets cut off in their inbox you’re still at square one. When you send your test email, also check to make sure your subject line is still compelling in mobile view.
Pro Tip: Don’t use a “Re: ” subject line. It pisses people off that you’re trying to “trick” them, and damages your credibility.
Get our tried-and-true tips on crafting the perfect email subject line here >>
Email Mistake #3: It’s not optimized for mobile viewing
I’m connected to my email account all the time via my smartphone—and I’m willing to bet you are, too. You and I aren’t unique—around 68 percent of email messages are opened on mobile.
When your email isn’t optimized for mobile, people feel sad at best, annoyed at worst. I’ve had times where I am legitimately interested in the email, but it’s so hard to navigate or view that I give up and move on. It’s probably happened to you, too.
Pro Tip: Always test your emails on a mobile device.
Email Mistake #4: The “from” name or email address sounds (or looks) spammy
Here’s what you’re communicating when you have a return address that includes “noreply” or is a string of letters and numbers:
“I want you to hear from me, but I don’t care to hear from you.”
Another reason you shouldn’t use spammy reply addresses? Because 40 percent of email subscribers have marked emails as spam because it had no personal relevance to them. Moral of the story is, always include a real name and a real email address.
Pro tip: If you don’t want to be bombarded with emails to your own inbox, create an account that’s “firstname.lastname@example.org,” or email@example.com.”
Email Mistake #5: Failing to include an “Unsubscribe” link or your mailing address
This is a requirement on most email marketing platforms, but even if it’s not, you should always have a link to unsubscribe. Otherwise, you’re taking the choice away from the consumer, which will not leave them thinking of you in a good light.
Oh yea, it’s also illegal. In fact, sending one—just one—email without an option to unsubscribe can cost you up to $40,654.
The fifth requirement of the US CAN-SPAM Act states;
“Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future.”
That’s right, spammers—Uncle Sam is watching you.
Pro Tip: In your contact info, include tracked phone number so you can track phone calls from the campaign.
Email Mistake #6: Buying email lists
Remember that awful email example that sparked me to write this? I guarantee I received it because I am on a bought email list. It’s easy for consumers to tell when they’re on a bought email list, and the campaigns themselves rarely produce meaningful results. Whenever I—or any other self-respecting consumer—sees one of these offending emails, it goes straight into the trash can.
Pro Tip: Just don’t do this. Ever.
Email Mistake #7: Not Using tracking analytics to drive a Data-Driven marketing strategy
This is the biggest offender. You can’t do anything without a strategy (well, you can, but it won’t be pretty), and you can’t have a winning strategy without using tracking analytics on every email campaign.
This is how how a good email marketer feels every time they hear a business doesn’t have tracking on their email marketing collateral:
Sending out an email marketing campaign without tracking it is like saying you’re going to lose 50 pounds and then throwing out your scale. How can you see if your efforts are successful if you don’t track your progress?
Pro Tip: At the minimum, you should be tracking:
- Delivery rate
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Conversion rate
Once you get that data, you can start tweaking your campaigns to be more successful.
The best email marketers understand that successful email strategies are carefully planned and executed based on hard data.
Don’t Become a Bad Email Marketing Example: Avoid Mistakes By Using A Professional
Let’s be honest—you have a company to run. Do you really want to waste hours of your time trying to execute an email marketing strategy? Investing in email marketing is worth it—with an average 4400% ROI—but only if you execute it well. If you’re not the most creative, not the best writer, or are just plain too busy, I highly recommend you hire an email marketing company like Blue Corona—or at least a writer—to help drive your campaigns.
Have questions? Let us know by contacting us!
About The Author: Betsy is Blue Corona's Digital Content Manager. When she’s not directing Blue Corona's corporate digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring with her wife, diving into the latest marketing trends, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod