email marketing mistakes | hands at keyboard

Ruh-Roh! Are You Making These Email Marketing Mistakes?

I still remember the first time I heard of someone using email. It was 1994. Prince, David Bowie, and Michael Jackson were alive and well. Hair styles and fashion trends were still recovering from the ‘80s. And I was finishing up my freshman year in college. (Yes, I’m old.)


My friend Gretchen and I were walking back to our dorm after dinner, when she said, “I’m going to stop at the computer lab to check email.”


“Email?” I said. “Who are you emailing?”


“My high school friends at other colleges,” she replied.


“Oh, OK. Have fun!” I had ZERO interest in joining her, setting up an email account, or even emailing anyone. Instead, I hightailed it back to my dorm to watch “Beverly Hills 90210.”


Amazing how times have changed. Now I get paid to send emails for companies.


But anyway, my point is that email became a commonplace communication tool around twenty years ago – and people STILL don’t know how to use it properly personally, professionally, or for marketing. In fact, I’ve been deluged lately with countless emails from various companies of all shapes, sizes, and industries that are absolutely riddled with cringe-inducing email marketing mistakes.


Let’s take a look at the worse offenses, shall we?


Sloppy subject lines


Subject lines need to become your email BFFs, stat. Funny, interesting, compelling ones generate way-above-industry-average open rates. The useless ones get trashed immediately.


The bad ones fall into three main categories:


Generic: Your “May 2016 Newsletter” contains … what? Your email could contain the private mobile phone number of George Lucas, but without an awesome headline, no one’s going to see it.


[Copy]: Do you replicate old emails for new ones? Me too. It’s a fantastic time saver. Just keep a reminder somewhere that says “Update email newsletter subject line!” or you could send out an email that says, “Test 1 2 3 [copy]”. Oops.


Misleading: I’ve gotten a few too many emails from big brands with completely misleading subject lines. They promise me an article on, say, sea turtles, but all I find is one on snakes. I hate snakes. <Delete>


Mysterious senders


All too often, the “from” line is the name of a mystery person I’ve never heard of.


It could be George Washington (he’s in sales I think), Tom Jefferson or Jim Madison (they might be in marketing), or John Adams (I have no idea what department he’s in). Why would I want to open emails from people I’ve never heard of? I don’t even have time for the people I do know!


Forgotten preview blurbs


The tippy top of email templates include a little preview blurb. This preview is super important for all of us (which would be most of us) who read email on our mobile phones because it gives us a synopsis of what we’ll find when we scroll down. So don’t forget to write one!


Excessive text


Need I say more here? Keep all email messages short and sweet – and preferably fun. Provide a link to more information on your website. If people want to read more, they will click through to your website.


Distorted images


Are you a graphic designer? Me neither. So when you look at the preview of your email before you send it and the images look weird, call your graphic designer and ask for help. Don’t send out a weird looking email. My eyeballs thank you.


Every font known to man


Choose one font. One you love so much you’d marry it if you could. Use that one in your emails, and that one only. Want headers and subheads to stand out? Play with size. Bold ‘em if you want. But that’s it.


Now, the good news is these emails marketing mistakes are pretty easy to fix. The bad thing is that there’s a lot more to email marketing than this. Need help? Give us a shout.

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