in Email Marketing Mistakes

16 email marketing mistakes that destroy your brand

What are you doing wrong in your email marketing?

Email marketing can be a big win for your business, but whether you’re experienced or not experienced – it’s easy to make mistakes.

It doesn’t matter if that mistake is big or small, either way it will impact your business.

Here are 15 email marketing mistakes that you should keep an eye out for!

Sending emails too infrequently

The biggest mistake a lot of ecommerce stores make is not sending enough emails.

86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly, and 15% would like to get them daily. (Statista, 2015)

A lot of stores have a monthly newsletter of some sort, but usually that’s about it.

You want to contact your email list at least once per week.

The sweet spot we’ve found at Wavebreak is sending 1-2 emails per week. Usually one.

Now don’t get me wrong – a monthly newsletter isn’t bad, you’re just missing out on a ton of revenue by only sending one email per month.

So send more emails!

Sending emails too frequently

Hold your horses!

Before you get ahead of yourself and start blasting out an email every single day of the month, you should know that sending too many emails is also bad.

You’ll frustrate your email subscribers and a lot will unsubscribe from your list.

In other words, you’ll lose future revenue.

That’s the exact opposite of what you want to do.

78% of consumers have unsubscribed from emails because a brand was sending too many emails. (HubSpot, 2016)

Like I said before, here at Wavebreak, we’ve found that about one email per week usually does the trick.

Now if you’re really serious about your email marketing and you have the resources, you can even test your email frequency.

If you don’t have the bandwith for that, just stick to the two days per week benchmark.

No personalization

The people on your email list are real people. So treat them like they are!

Now you don’t have to go crazy with this – just throwing in a person’s name and using a friendly tone can go a long way.

Write your emails as if you’re writing them to a friend.

Would you call your friend “valued customer”?

No! You’d call them by their name!

Don’t be afraid to start an email with “Hi John” or “Hey Dave”.

You’ll get more opens, clicks, AND sales.

Super salesy emails

You’re not a used car salesmen, so don’t email like you are one.

Instead of shoving your products down your customers’ virtual throats, present them with an offer served on a silver platter.

People hate being told what to do.

So instead of telling people to buy, make people want to buy.

You make people want to buy by telling people about your product, what problem it solves, etc.

Not by saying “BUY THIS NOW”.

Subject lines that don’t get opened

If people don’t open your emails, they don’t read them.

And they definitely don’t go to your store and buy something from you.

That’s why subject lines are important.

Some of the things I’ve already written in this article can also be applied here.

Here are a few quick tips on how to write subject lines that get emails opened.

First things first, be personal.

The open rate for emails with a personalized message was 17.6%, compared to 11.4% without personalization. (Statista, 2014)

Use the person’s name in your subject line.

Emails that included the first name of the recipient in their subject line had higher clickthrough rates than emails that did not. (HubSpot, 2014)

Just be careful not to force it. Use it where it sounds natural.

For example, “Hey Hannah, I have a special offer for you”.

Like we talked about before, at first glance it looks like an email that was sent from a friend.

That’s how you get your email opened.

Your subject line doesn’t match your email

Now that you’ve got your subject line down, you’re not done – yet.

The body of your email has to match your subject line.

If it doesn’t match, you’re going to get a lot of opens (which is good), but you’re not going to get many clicks or sales (which is bad).

So if my subject line is “Hey Hannah, I have a special offer for you”, but my email is full of random products that aren’t on sale… Hannah isn’t going to convert.

She’s just going to delete the email.

What would better suit that subject line would probably be some sort of discount or promo code.

AKA the special offer that you talked about in the subject line.

Make sure your subject lines match the content of your emails or you’ll mislead people and miss out on sales.

Too many call to actions

Getting someone to open your email is hard.

The average person gets 121 emails every day.

So once someone opens your email, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to take action.

If someone opens your email and you have 10 different buttons that say “CLICK HERE!” they’re going to be overwhelmed.

So many shiny things to look at and click on that I’m not going to do anything at all!

They’re not going to click any of your big shiny buttons and instead they’re going to delete your email.

You want to make your call-to-action so obvious and easy to find that a 5-year-old could look at your email and see it.

If you can spot your call to action while squinting, that means it’ll be easy for other people to see!

That might mean instead of highlighting a million different products in your emails, just showcasing one or two.

Moral of the story: keep it simple and make it easy for people to give you their money.

No call to actions

Just like email frequency (and a lot of things in life), too little of something can also be harmful.

Sometimes I open up emails, read them, and when I’m done I’m wondering what in the world I’m supposed to do next.

Don’t leave me hanging like that!

I just read your entire email and I was ready to give you my money – but – you didn’t even give me the chance!

If you’re sending out an email, make sure you have some sort of call to action.

Link to the product or product category you talked about.

At the very least, just include a button that links to your website.

Make it easy for your email subscribers to take the next step.

Emails aren’t mobile friendly

Two-thirds of emails are read on either smartphones or tablets. (Marketing Land, 2015)

If you’re sending emails that aren’t mobile friendly, the majority of people who read your email aren’t going to take action.

To make your emails appear better on mobile devices use large text, only have a single column of content, and put your call to action front and center.

Not collecting email addresses

I’ve been in ecommerce for a long time and it still amazes me when a store isn’t collecting email addresses anywhere on their website.

If you don’t have a way to collect email addresses you’re missing out on so many future customers and tons of revenue.

A customer might not be ready to buy now, but they might be ready to buy in a month or two.

Give them a way to keep in touch before you lose them forever.

Add some sort of email collection form or widget to your website.

Anything is better than nothing.

Not having an obvious email newsletter sign up

A lot of stores with email newsletter sign up forms have them tucked away at the bottom of their website in a tiny footer section.

At that point you’re at least collecting email addresses, but you’re still not maximizing the value of that form.

If you put it in a place where people can see it, you’re going to get a lot more email subscribers and a lot more sales.

Don’t be afraid to make your email newsletter sign up stand out!

Use one of those pop ups if you have to.

Not sending emails to past customers

I used to think this wasn’t a thing.

I was sure that everyone with an online store was sending out promotional emails to their past customers.

Sadly… I was wrong.

In fact, there was one guy who would literally lay off his entire staff in the winter months because he couldn’t afford to pay them.

When he heard could email past customers he said “can you do that?” and didn’t even want to give it a shot.

Luckily someone convinced him to give it a go anyway and now when winter comes, he doesn’t have to lay off a single person.

All because he emails his past customers.

If you’re not adding your past customers to your email list and sending them emails, start doing it right now!

Not sending abandon cart emails

Someone goes to your store and adds a product to their cart.

They go to checkout, but then they leave.

And they disappear forever.

OR you could send them an abandoned cart email.

Then they get a reminder and complete the order.

And you get a sale that you almost gave up!

And all you have to do is implement a simple plugin or app to do this all for you.

That’ll take you a couple of hours tops and it will bring you boatloads of revenue that you previously were missing out on!

Not using email series to promote sales

A lot online stores will have a promotion or sale of some sort and send out an email about it, but they’ll stop there.

They’ll only send one email.

To get the most out of your promotion, what you need is an email sequence.

That means sending multiple emails about the sale.

A few days before the sale start emailing about the upcoming sale and start generating some hype.

When it’s time for the sale, email your list every single day of it.

And on the last day, send two emails – one at the beginning of the day and one at the end of the day.

Use an email sequence to make sure all of your customers know about your sale.

Having no way to opt out of emails

Not only is this annoying and frustrating, but it’s also illegal.

You can be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and even go to prison.

Most email marketing platforms automatically include this in your emails.

However, if you’re using some sort of homegrown solution, make sure that your email subscribers have a way to unsubscribe.

After someone unsubscribes, make sure you honor their request.

There are brands that I no longer buy from because I unsubscribed from their emails only to get spammed by them the very next week.

This can do big damage to your brand.

Not including an address in your footer

This is another sneaky thing that can also get you in trouble with the law.

Most email platforms usually include this as well, but sometimes they’re a little more relaxed.

That doesn’t mean you don’t need to include it.

In fact, if you don’t include it, you’re facing the same fines and prison time as not having a way to opt out of emails.

Just plop an address (your office or P.O. Box or warehouse) at the bottom and you’re good to go.

Final words on Email Marketing Mistakes

We all make mistakes.

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an email newsletter for the first time or if you’re an email marketing veteran.

There’s always room for improvement.

Next time you send an email to your list remember these 15 email marketing mistakes.