Email marketing is a tried-and-tested staple of the digital marketing world, not losing much of its efficacy over the years despite the emergence of countless newer technologies. That’s why it remains a key channel for small companies and enterprise businesses alike. Of course, like any method, email marketing can be done well — and it can be done poorly.
One of the key strengths of email marketing is its targetability and flexibility, but that strength also presents a practical challenge: when email marketing goes wrong, it goes very wrong. If you want to get it right and reap the resulting benefits, you need to know the common pitfalls to avoid. To that end, let’s go through 8 common email marketing mistakes:
1. Being too pushy
No one likes to be rushed, and while there’s something to be said for being straightforward, it generally pushes people away if you come across as demanding in your emails.
You need to focus on the value to the reader, not on what you’ll get in return, or you won’t convince them. Don’t worry so much about converting now — keep them interested and develop the lead.
2. Lacking strong CTAs
We looked at the problem of being too forceful, but this is the problem from the opposite end of the spectrum.
Once you’ve provided the value that made your email worth opening and reading, you need to provide the reader with an action that can return some value: a CTA (call to action) that lets them buy your product, or follow you on social media, or share your content.
3. Choosing the wrong times
This is particularly common with international sellers marketing to people throughout the world.
The performance of an email will depend heavily on when it’s delivered — emailing someone in the middle of the night is likely to get your message ignored, for instance, while catching them in the morning or early evening should get you much better results.
4. Paying for email addresses
Building an email list is a core part of the customer acquisition process, but it’s tricky. There are various ways to collect email addresses, from using landing pages with capture forms to offering discounts, and you need to remain vigilant against low-quality emails.
That said, the only alternative is paying for addresses, and that’s a horrible idea that never works — so don’t try it.
5. Reaching the wrong people
Targeting is absolutely everything in email marketing, yet it’s something that individuals and businesses get wrong remarkably often.
If you want to send out an email promoting a specific product with a niche interest, there’s no practical justification for sending it to everyone in your mailing list if most of the people on that list have expressed no interest in that niche.
6. Mismanaging the tone
How does your target audience communicate?
If you’re trying to reach an audience with a highly formal register and you fill your email copy with slang terms, you’ll alienate the people you’re trying to convince — and the same is true of using rigidly-professional language to win over a young audience with a great love for emojis. Match your tone to that of your audience.
7. Being inconsistent
You send out an email newsletter packed with information and high-quality visuals, promising a new customer experience. Your audience is impressed by the jump in production values and wants to see what’s next.
Unfortunately, your next emails are mediocre products of very little effort. Bad idea: inconsistency kills interest in your emails. If you set a level of quality, stick to it.
8. Failing to automate
With the level of automation being implemented throughout the business world, it seems odd that some people still try to send marketing emails manually, but it’s true.
They either don’t know about their automation options, or don’t want to pay for them, or find them hard to understand. Since they’re fairly intuitive and cost-effective these days, there’s no reason not to use them.
Each of these 8 email marketing mistakes is fairly common, and you might not be able to avoid all of them. For instance, it’s normal to need some time to figure out the kind of tone you want in your emails.
In the end, though, these mistakes will damage the impact of your email marketing strategy, so address them one by one until your long-term strategy seems solid.