5 Email Marketing Mistakes and Their Corresponding Corrective Actions

Ash Salleh
By Ash Salleh

Estimated read time: 5 minutes, 29 seconds

Email marketing is undoubtedly one of the most effective digital channels available to marketers. However, it is also quite complex.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the five worst email marketing mistakes and how to correct them.

Mistake #1: Failing to ask for permission

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on the 25th of May 2018, changing the email marketing landscape forever.

Articles 6 and 7 of GDPR specifically state that consumers need to give explicit consent for the use and processing of their personal information. Furthermore, businesses must be able to show proof of such consent.

That said, there are still businesses that are unfamiliar with GDPR. Meanwhile, many organizations choose to ignore standards altogether. These businesses send emails to people who never signed up to be included on their list and therefore never gave their permission to be contacted.

Corrective Action: Use the double opt-in method of confirmation.

Double opt-in (also called confirmed opt-in) is a method of confirming that a user wants to receive messages from you.

To use the double opt-in method, you just need to email new subscribers and ask them to confirm their subscription by clicking on a specific link in your email. Only after they’ve done this will they be included on your email list.

Using the double opt-in is a simple additional step to your signup process, but it ensures that you are in compliance with GDPR and other data privacy laws.

Mistake #2: Neglecting mobile users

In email marketing, mobile is king. According to Litmus, the majority of all email opens now occur on mobile. Furthermore, mobile users check their emails three times more than desktop users.

However, some businesses still don’t consider their mobile customers. In a recent survey by Smart Insights, not all businesses stated that they prioritized optimizing their emails for mobile.

Corrective Action: Optimize your emails for mobile.

A study suggested that users may delete emails that don’t display correctly on their mobile device within three seconds. This is why it’s crucial for you to optimize your emails for mobile.

To easily design emails for mobile, use mobile-responsive email templates. These templates are already optimized from the start, eliminating the need for coding.

With mobile-responsive email templates, you can create professional-looking emails that are sure to display perfectly on every mobile device.

campaign monitor responsive email template

Source: Campaign Monitor

Mistake #3: Writing weak subject lines

According to Campaign Monitor’s 2019 Email Marketing Benchmarks report, the average open rate of emails from over 20 industries is only 17.92%. This means that if you send an email to 100 subscribers, only 18 will open it.

Email marketing is a crowded channel, and it can be extremely challenging for audiences to notice you. Some brands compound this difficulty by writing dull subject lines that lack any sort of personalization and content that incentivizes subscribers to open the email.

Corrective Action: Optimize your subject lines.

Optimizing your subject lines takes some effort, but you can trust that it will all be worth it.

Start by personalizing your subject and including the subscriber’s first name somewhere near the beginning (ex. Hello there, John!).

Next, use incentivizing language proven to increase open rates like back in stock, X % off, on sale now, and brand new.

You can also try including a number in your subject line. YesWare’s analysis of 115 million emails indicated that emails that had numbers in the subject lines had higher open rates than those without.

Finally, make sure you also consider your mobile users when writing subject lines. Keep your subject lines three to five words long so that they are still displayed in full even on mobile devices.

campaign monitor email subject line

Source: Campaign Monitor

Mistake #4: Disregarding list segmentation

You could design a great-looking email for a newsletter that contains awesome content, but that doesn’t mean you should send it to all your subscribers. After all, every subscriber is different in terms of their behavior as well as the emails they take interest in.

One subscriber might be interested in receiving only promotional emails, while another might just be interested in reading your newsletters. Always keep these things in mind when sending your emails.

Corrective Action

The best way to handle subscribers with varying interests is to separate them into different segments.

You can segment your subscribers according to their demographic information. This includes their age, gender, salary range, and even their seniority level (ex. vice presidents, CEOs, entry-level employees, etc.)

It’s important to segment your subscribers according to geographical location as well. This allows you to target subscribers and send them location-specific emails. For example, imagine you are holding an event in a particular city. Since you segmented your subscribers by location, you can then send event invites to subscribers who reside in or near the city where your event is taking place.

For deeper segmentation, you can categorize your subscribers based on their behavior. Look at things like subscribers’ purchase histories and email engagement patterns and segment them accordingly.

Mistake #5: Not maintaining list health

An email list of 1 million people wouldn’t matter much if most of them are disengaged subscribers or worse, nonexistent.

If you notice your open rates plummeting, it could be due to subscribers who continue to ignore your emails.

On the other hand, if your bounce rates are high, it is likely due to subscribers who used invalid email addresses.

Having these types of subscribers on your email list is detrimental to both your list health and your sender reputation.

Corrective Action: Clean your email list.

To maintain the health of your email list, regular cleaning is necessary. You can try to send re-engagement emails to disengaged subscribers. If they still don’t open your emails, don’t be afraid to remove them from your list.

That being said, when it comes to keeping your list healthy, it’s best to do it at the onset. Using the double opt-in method of confirming subscribers is not just for compliance. It also serves two other purposes:

  1. It keeps your list healthy by ensuring that invalid email addresses aren’t added to your list.
  2. It protects your sender reputation by significantly reducing your hard bounce rates.

Wrap up

These are five of the most common email marketing mistakes committed by brands today. Have found yourself committing a few of them?? If you want to achieve success in email marketing, all you have to do is take the corresponding corrective actions mentioned in this post and you’ll be on your way to victory.

Ash Salleh

Ash Salleh is the Director of SEO at Campaign Monitor, where he works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimization. Prior to his time at Campaign Monitor, he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital.
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