The Common Mistakes Made by Email Marketers

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Everyone makes mistakes and email marketers are no exception… The cost effective nature of email means that even bad email marketing provides a good ROI compared to other channels – but it could be even better. So what are the common mistakes made by email marketers and how can you avoid them?

Getting the frequency wrong

One of the common debates for email marketers is how often to send. Those who send too much often have the frequency dictated by short-term sales targets and pressures – but this leads to long term damage to the database, as customers stop engaging and responding. However, on the other hand, others are too tentative and don’t maximise the potential of their database.

Both can be solved by effective planning, taking a view from the eyes of the customer to see what the range of emails appears like over a period of time, and instead, focussing on making sure you have as many relevant touchpoints as possible,

Saying what you want to say, not what your subscriber wants to hear

Most of us are guilty of this. Email has become the channel for broadcasting our latest news, promotions and other content that we as marketers of the business really care about. Instead, we should be taking advantage of the data we hold against them, talking about things which they want to hear.

Email isn’t like the other broadcast above the line channels where we should interrupt customers and get some of it to stick. It’s a personal channel where conversations should exist, and as a result, what we send should be tailored around the customers interests and behaviour to help drive engagement.

Not focussing on the start of the relationship

If you have sent the initial welcome email and then decide to dump the customer into the pot of emails with everyone else then you are certainly not maximising the chances of a successful, long-term relationship with each customer.

If you get it wrong at the start of the relationship your customers may form a negative opinion of your emails. This can then lead to these being filtered out, whether that is physically through unsubscribing, or simply ignoring you in their inbox.

Tailoring the experience for new customers gets more bang for your buck than any other time, whether that is introducing tailored content, segmenting the emails to these customers or simply reducing the number of emails you send.

Leaving money on the table (cart recovery, product replenishment/anniversary, win back)

Marketers which simply pursue the same old tactics of sending just batch and blast messages and ignoring opportunities staring them in the face are leaving money on the table.

Whether that is cart recovery campaigns which should bring in 5% of all online revenue, product replenishment and anniversary emails to drive repeat purchases or simply reactivating customers who have not purchased in a while. A good set of triggered messages can drive 10-15% of all online revenue, and once set-up, require minimal resource.

Gimmicks over substance (symbols in subject lines, animation, weather targeting)

Every now and again an innovation or trend comes along in email marketing that generates far more publicity than it’s worth. Over the last few years, we’ve been told by so called experts that you must put symbols in subject lines, target based upon the weather or use animation in your emails. These are worthwhile tactics if they support your wider strategic objectives, but hiding behind these rather than constantly driving relevance and value in your email campaigns won’t lead to any real gains in performance.

About James Lucas

Former Senior Marketing Executive at Emailcenter UK Ltd, a leading provider of email marketing software and solutions.