1. You’re emailing people who didn’t ask to receive your emails. Using a double opt-in approach is a great way to ensure that the people getting your emails actually want to receive them.
2. Your emails are all different – they don’t follow a set layout or template. Your emails should follow the same brand guidelines that you use for everything else – your website, print communications, online ads, etc. This creates a familiar brand experience for subscribers.
3. You’re sending too many emails. Don’t bombard your subscribers with too much communication or you’ll likely get a wave of unsubscribes (or potentially even reported as spam).
4. You’re not using transactional emails. Your emails can be promotional or informational in nature sometimes, but you also need to email leads and customers automatically when they complete certain actions on your website like subscribe to your newsletter, make a purchase, submit a feature request, sign up for a free trial, report an error, etc. People expect to see these types of emails and may feel slighted or become concerned if they don’t receive them.
5. The “Sent From” field doesn’t represent your business, so recipients are seeing that they got an email from “Bob S.” instead of “The XYZ Company.” This is unprofessional and a big turn off for subscribers.
6. Your images are too small or of a poor quality. Images should be eye catching and look professional to draw readers in. There are tons of paid stock photo sites that you can use to find really great images to use.
7. Your email is too cluttered or busy looking. Use of whitespace is just as important in an email as it is on a website because it gives people’s eyes a chance to rest.
8. The whole email is an image. Some recipients may have their email set to block images, which means that they’ll have to download the image in your email to read it. This definitely hurts engagement because a lot of people won’t take the time to do that. Instead, they’ll just skip your email.
9. The whole email is text. You want a nice balance of text and images to engage and inform readers.
10. There’s not a link allowing people to unsubscribe from your emails. (Note: This can land you in legal trouble – fix this one immediately!)
11. The links in your email just take people to the homepage. Always use links that send traffic to the page on your site that most closely matches the content of your email.
12. You’re not using a strong call-to-action (CTA) to tell recipients what you want them to do next. Just like the sales funnel on your website, you want to take subscribers on a set path through your email to get them to convert.
13. You’re not integrating your social media accounts with your emails. Where appropriate, your emails should include links to your social media accounts so that subscribers can follow you there as well.
14. You’re overusing emojis or special characters. To avoid annoying people, either stay away from emojis altogether or use them judiciously. The last thing you want to do is become the company that sprinkles smiley faces throughout every email.
15. Your emails aren’t creating urgency. Your subject line and/or call-to-action should prompt readers to take action right away to result in the highest possible engagement rates. Otherwise, people may intend on returning to your email later and just forget to do so.
16. You aren’t segmenting your email list to provided targeted communication, just mass emailing everyone on your list.
17. You’re still emailing people that have unsubscribed or changed their preferences to opt out of certain kinds of communication.
18. You aren’t testing your subject lines. An email's subject line is the first thing a recipient sees, which means that if the subject line is uninteresting, it probably won’t get opened.
19. You’re using click-bait. An email’s subject shouldn’t give away the entire email, but it should describe the email enough that recipients know what to expect when they open it. Avoid using subject lines like “You Won’t Believe Your Eyes!” or “Did You Know This?” because they look spammy and can get you blocked by some email clients.
20. Your emails aren’t optimized for mobile viewing. Most people check their email on their phones at some point during the day, which means that a poor mobile experience could be costing you substantial opens and click-throughs.
These are the most common mistakes that we’ve seen, but we want to hear from you too! Have any other common pitfalls that you’ve seen? Share them with our readers!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!