9 Email Marketing Mistakes To Avoid & Fix Now!

email marketing mistakes to avoidRegardless of what you’ve heard, email marketing is still a top marketing strategy.  You can personalize your messages, tailor them for certain individuals and make special offers to subscribers.

However, as effective as email is, it’s not effective if you’re making obvious email marketing mistakes.  There’s no sense in sending email if it’s not getting opened or doesn’t get delivered.

Here’s a list of the most common and overlooked email marketing mistakes to avoid so you get the most out of using email.

9 Common and Often Overlooked email Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

To give you some examples, I chose 9 of the most common mistakes I’ve encountered with my email marketing list that’s helped me not only boost my open and click through rates, they’ve helped me increase sales simply by creating trust with my subscribers.

Email Marketing Mistake #1. You’re not being consistent with your emails.

Be consistent!  Sending too much email or not often enough isn’t smart.

First of all, a subscriber that doesn’t hear from you for weeks at a time will forget who you are.  I’m sure that’s even happened to you.  You opt in to an email list for great tips or an awesome newsletter but get nothing for weeks.  When you finally get something you opt out because you can’t remember who the heck that person is. Not good.

But don’t flood your subscriber’s inbox with thousands of useless emails either. Instead keep in contact with them regularly enough with useful information that your subscribers will perk up when they see your emails.

Fix:  Plan an email schedule.  Depending on your niche, you should be sending at least one email every 14 days. One email a week works fine for most niches.

Because I publish a blog, I have an automatic email that goes to my subscriber list that alerts subscribers when I’ve published a new blog post.   It’s part of my Aweber autoresponder service that does two things for me:

  • It keeps my readers coming back to my site.
  • It’s automatic.

I can’t help but keep in touch with my subscribers, plus it saves me time and effort :-)

Email Marketing Mistake #2. You Have NO REAL Relationship with your readers

You won’t be effective with email if you don’t have a relationship with your readers.

Email is not about selling stuff to your readers, it’s about building relationships that create trust and loyalty. That’s how you make sales. The better  your relationships, the more sales you’ll make.  That’s an honest to goodness FACT.

But how do you build those relationships for getting more results?

Fix:  Connect with your readers. Get personal. Know what they’re feeling and connect with that. Provide information and ideas they can use and benefit from. Offer special discounts, free bonuses or sales. 

*** Top Tip:  If your goal is to grow your email list, establish relationships and increase your sales, I highly recommend “30 Days to a Bigger Email List, Better Relationships and More Results” by Contentrix.  For only $20 this is an awesome, comprehensive course with copywriting tips, templates, swipe files, online training, a cool audio showing you how to profit offering free gifts, and more.  There’s no other course I’ve found where you get as much bang for your buck.

Email Marketing Mistake #3. Your emails don’t fit with your target audience’s schedule.

Do you know when your emails typically get read?  You should.  To adequately know this use an email autoresponder that gives you feedback about the emails you send.

Generally the best time to send an email is when people are checking their in boxes. That’s typically between the hours of 9am and 4pm.  But every business and email list is different, and according to the website Go Delivery, email marketers need to TEST.  

Fix: Conduct tests by sending emails at various times before coming to any conclusions about the schedule of your readers. 

Email Marketing Mistake #4. You’re Using Bad Subject lines.

Your subject line is all your reader has to go on for whether or not they want to open your email, so you don’t want your subject line to be so unappealing and anonymous that readers will dismiss it or worse yet it triggers the spam filters and doesn’t get delivered.

Fix:  Here are two things to do when writing your subject line.

  • Create unique catchy email subject lines
  • Avoid SPAM trigger words like free, cheap, guarantee, income, winner, subscribe, Money, Cash, etc.  Here’s a good list of spam trigger words I found:   

http://www.mequoda.com/articles/email-marketing/subject-line-spam-trigger-words/

  • Split test your emails.  I never wanted to take the time to do this but it can increase your open rates by as much as 50%.  Again my Aweber email service comes to the rescue. It has a split testing tool that makes split testing easy.  Split testing works like this; if you have 500 people on your email list send 100 of them your email with one subject line and send another 100 with a different subject line. The email with the header that gets the most opens is the one you send to the rest of your list.  Super simple.

Email Marketing Mistake #5. Not providing what your subscribers really want.

Anticipate the needs and wants of your target market by stepping into their shoes.

For example, a mom who home schools her kids probably needs organizational tips to help her optimize her time.  She may also be looking for ideas to help her kids focus more or how about toys that make learning fun.

Fix:  Get these ideas and more by simply visiting topic related forums.

Don’t make the mistake of sending email just for the sake of sending out an email.  Whatever you send readers send your subscribers make it something they’ll benefit from.

Email Marketing Mistake #6. You’re not sending application specific email confirmations.

Nothing screams SPAM faster than sending your readers email that they didn’t sign up for.  For example, a reader may opt in for your free e-book, however you didn’t tell them they’ll also be getting your weekly newsletter.  Subscribers don’t like that.

Fix:  When you send your subscriber their subscriber confirmation, be clear about what they’ll be getting.  If you’re including them in your newsletter, say that. They may choose not to opt in but you won’t be violating CAN-SPAM rules.

Email Marketing Mistake #7.  No contact details

Supplying your contact details is a trust thing. It symbolizes to a subscriber that you’re genuine and not afraid to post who you are and how you can be contacted.  No contact information implies you have something to hide or you just don’t want to be contacted.  If you’re genuinely interested in your subscribers and want to engage and help them, contact information clearly signifies that.

Fix:  Include your mailing address and phone number.  It’s perfectly acceptable to use a P.O. Box.

Email Marketing Mistake #8. There’s no way for subscribers to opt out

If your email doesn’t give a subscriber a way to unsubscribe, it violates the CAN-SPAM laws.

If you’re afraid of subscribers opting out then you’ve got the wrong mind set.  Don’t waste your time and resources on people that aren’t interested? Let them go and make room for those that want your great information.

Fix:  Include an option for opting out of your email list at the bottom of each post.

Email Marketing Mistake #9. You’re not proofreading Your emails.

A few years ago I had a rather awkward but necessary wake up call from a subscriber who commented after opting out of my list:

Just wanted to say that your email lost it for me. Maybe you better start proofreading!

Ouch!  How embarrassing. But my reader was right. I reread my email and it had 2 spelling and grammar mistakes.   If anything makes you sit up and take notice that will.  But believe me; you don’t want to get to that point :-(

Fix:  Here’s what I do now to proofread my emails.  I copy my post into a word document, or simply create it there.  When the document is complete I run it through the spell and grammar checker. When the email looks good I transfer it to my email autoresponder and send a test to myself.  Then I get up from my computer and take a break for about 10 minutes.  When I come back I read the test.  That’s when I generally notice spelling, grammar and flow errors that I might have missed.  It adds another few minutes to the process but sending email out with mistakes is shooting yourself in the foot.

There you have it, 9 email marketing mistakes to avoid.  What email marketing mistakes have you made?  Or what mistakes annoy you the most.  Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Blessings,

Comments

  1. Hi, thanks for the great tips; what do you think about the confidentiality disclaimer requirement?

    • I’m not certain about confidentiality disclaimer requirement, there seems to be some controversy regarding them. This may be a good point to research.

  2. I’m really surprised Liz that no one has commented on this post yet. What a wonderful job you did here.

    I can’t tell you how many lists I started over the years because I honestly didn’t know what to write. I felt horrible after a good bit of time had gone by and I hadn’t emailed my list in forever that I’d just junk it and start over. I know that when speaking with a lot of my readers they have the same issue. We all know that doing nothing but promoting will kill your list in an instant.

    You really shared some wonderful tips here and I’ll be sure to share this post with my friends as well. They need to read this all the way to the end.

    Thank you for taking the time to put this one together. Great read and wonderful education on email marketing mistakes we’ve all made at one time or another.

    Hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..Results Revealed From My Opt-In Box TestMy Profile

    • Hi Adrienne,

      I think it is hard to know what to write in email to keep your readers interested, but not only that, how do you keep it going? That’s been my struggle so I’m hoping others find benefit. Thank you for your kind words and sharing your thoughts :-)

  3. Hi Liz,

    Being consistent is the number one factor we must consider. We do need to remind people “hey I’m here” and give them good content. Your idea of linking your blog post to your email list is great!

    Oh and Yes, that 80/20 rule is a MUST! Don’t you just go crazy by those “buy me” emails? After a while people will just get fed up with you.

    To me, email marketing is a grate way to engage people on your list. Give ‘em good information that they can use and then pitch!

    Well done!

    Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted..The Power of Social MediaMy Profile

    • Thank you Donna!

      Email marketing can sometimes get a bad wrap which is such a shame because email has proved to be the biggest benefit for me and many of the folks I work with.

      Glad to hear you like the idea of linking blog posts with my email list, it’s so easy and a great way to automatically keep connecting with your subscribers.

      Thanks for your great feedback :-)

  4. I’m still trying to get into the email list groove.

    I’m trying to keep it personable, at the same time make it informative. Since, I’m in the beginning, it’s all about testing! Mostly, I’m testing the type of content: should I include an entire blog post? link to my blog post? etc.?

    Love your mistakes list! I need to definitely work out the schedule!

    Thank you!
    Jennifer Kennedy recently posted..Why Creating Online Courses Can Be Scary + What to Do About ItMy Profile

    • Hey Jennifer,

      Email is definitely hard for folks to get into, it gets such a bad wrap, but I think that’s primarily because folks make mistakes with it, so I hope these things help you.

      And yes, make a schedule for your emails, posts, comments, etc., plan it out. That will make things so much easier for you in the long run. We have so many hours in the day to get things done and planning helps with all that.

      Thanks for your feedback and all my best for your success :-)
      Liz

  5. Liz,

    You know what’s great about this is that not only did you single out what these mistakes are, you told us how to fix them. How awesome is that?

    As someone who is in the midst of getting my own autoresponder set up, this is like gold for me. I’ll be bookmarking this post and using it as a cheatsheet as I get things all set up.

    Thank you.
    Hermine recently posted..Why You Don’t Have an Opt-in Offer and How to Create OneMy Profile

    • Hi Hermine, I’m so glad you found this useful and best of luck to getting set up. If you need help or have questions just let me know, I’ll help if I can :-)

      Liz

  6. Rick Gregory
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Liz,

    I’m wanting to build my email list and wondering about the best and safest way to do it. Yes, I’ve read tons of posts on how to “build it slowly and carefully.” The problem is that I’ve got thousands of dollars worth of inventory – of an amazing product that removes pet stains and odors – that needs to be sold. I’d love to build it slowly, but actually need to build it quickly. What do you think about the “100% opt-in” lists that are readily available?
    Rick Gregory recently posted..5 Uses for “Miracle” Tea Tree OilMy Profile

    • Hi Rick,

      Ready made opt-in lists are a waste of your money, don’t do it. I know you’re anxious to build a list quickly but people on those lists are not reliable. In fact many of them have been placed on these lists through shady tactics – no matter what they tell you. From my experience the only way to make sales is to get targeted subscribers, and you won’t get that with paid lists.

      One of the things that works pretty well is to exchange services with other bloggers in your niche who have email lists. Ask them to promote your opt-in in exchange for something you can give them. It takes a bit of research to find bloggers and work out an exchange but with the right deal you can really boost your subscribers. Use social media and Facebook to help you find bloggers in your niche.

      Hope that helps,
      Liz

  7. Hi Liz

    I am with Adrienne this is a great post. I am guilty of several of these. I was very inconsistent which clearly does not work. I am correcting that now.

    I also find the subject line difficult at times. I study other peoples as there are so many people who do great ones but I still struggle.

    80/20 for promotion is an interesting ratio. I have heard 2 info emails and then a sales one is okay but that was some years back.

    This is a great post and one everyone who is marketing online should read Liz

    Sue
    Sue Price recently posted..Passion and Business – Part 2My Profile

    • Hi Sue,

      I know what you mean about the subject lines. I still struggle with that too at too. Trying to create a subject line that includes your keywords, is catchy contains a benefit and isn’t too long can be hard to compose. Thanks for your feedback Sue :-)

  8. Hi Liz,
    So the money is still in the list right ? ;)

    See Liz, there is this silly mistake I did in my early days and lost a couple of loyal subscribers. Though I didn’t see it that way, some of my subscribers thought I misled them in the subject line. The open rate was so high and CTR encouraging. I even had replies from some readers who thought I was sending them money (based on the subject of that message). This is just to say the subject line must not be misleading. You may attract readers to opening and clicking your links by using misleading hot phrases but the end of it is bad.

    I love this content Liz
    Enstine Muki recently posted..Best source for your premium royalty-free stock photos ~ DepositphotosMy Profile

    • Hi Enstine,

      Perception is everything, right? Sometimes what we see as OK, someone else perceives it not OK. But we can’t worry about pleasing everyone, because we won’t. As long as we’re striving to help our subscribers benefit and aren’t intentionally trying to deceive, I think that’s all we can do.

      Thanks for your great comment Enstine :-)

      Liz

  9. Mike Mahaffey says:

    I continue to sign up for a lot of email list! For one thing I love information, and more importantly to me, I get to see how other people are doing their list.

    I also unsubscribe to a lot of list and it is always for the same reason; no content, only sales pitches. I have noticed that the more “famous” internet marketing marketers, or the ones with the largest list, send me nothing but straight sales letters day after day after day until I unsubscribe.

    It seems to me that the moral of the story is to grow your list so large that you no longer concern yourself with the attrition rate, then you just go for the bucks?

    I think that a good ratio of content to sales letters works best, because sending content via email keeps unsubscribe numbers down, and am amazed at how personal people take the emails. If you don’t know what they want-ask and you shall receive.

    • Hey Mike,

      It all has to start with trust. Some marketers obtain trust from being famous, others get trust from getting to know their followers and visitors on a personal level.

      The famous marketers can get away with shooting off sales emails one after the other and get plenty of sales because they’re well known and experienced in their field so people trust that they know what they’re talking about. For the less famous markdeters trust and experience has to be proven.

      The inexperienced marketer will try to grow their email list as large as possible and then use email to make sales without having obtained trust or demonstrated experience.

      A bigger subscriber list doesn’t mean more sales. Just try it. Go buy an email list of 10,000 names, send them a sales letter and see what happens. You’re not likely to do very well. First of all people don’t buy from people they don’t know.

      You don’t need a huge email list, you simply need to find people that need help making the buying decision. If you can help folks on your list make their decision based on their needs and your experience with the product, you’re likely to not only make a sale, but get them to return asking your advice on making other related sales.

      Thanks for your comment Mike. Good hearing from you :-)
      Liz

  10. Thanks for the tips, these have been on my todo list for sometime, nows the time to add them.

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