166578128There are few things more disappointing in an email marketer's job than seeing a typo in the subject line of your latest campaign after clicking "send".

We all make mistakes with grammar and spelling from time to time (not to mention dead links, failed personalization tags and missing images). 

However, there are other mistakes you can make that can be avoided with a little bit of marketing knowledge and experience. You might very well be committing these fallacies time and time again without even knowing it.

In order to steer clear of these slip-ups, you need to learn about them. What follows are four email marketing mistakes you could be making in your campaigns and tips on how to avoid each.

1) Poor Subject Line

A poorly written subject line can kill an entire email campaign. It’s like a prospective blind date showing up at your doorstep donning something questionable. You probably think the entire night has been ruined and he or she hasn’t even said anything yet. This person might be just what you need, but you’ve already closed the door in their face. The same goes for an email and subject line:  it must be attractive and provide value to the person receiving it, or they won’t even open it. In fact, it could irritate them enough to unsubscribe. 

Although email marketing can be highly effective, a subject line such as “Going on Now” or “Click to Open!” doesn’t tell the recipient anything about the great email you have put together for them. Creating a great subject line may sound simple and common-sense, but it is actually harder than it sounds.

Marketers often sit in front of an amazing email they created, staring at a blank subject line. It should be informative, valuable, yet brief, while still incorporating a sense of urgency. Put some thought and time into creating a subject line, and figuring out why you are sending the email in the first place. Knowing the point and having a purpose can help develop the perfect first impression.  

2) Not Optimizing for Mobile

“Seriously? This email won’t open on my iPhone! What is this, the stone age?”

Marketers know, it’s hard enough to get someone to open your email, much less actually read it. Don’t do yourself a disfavor by not optimizing your email for mobile. Lucky for you most email systems, including HubSpot, take care of this for you.

But if you are using a proprietary system (or still using an outdated one) you could be up a creek without a paddle. The thing is, more and more people are using their smart phone as their primary device for email. My advice: if your email system is not taking care of this for you already, it’s time to upgrade.

3) No Contextual List Segmentation

You have 20,000, opted-in addresses on your email list? Nice! That’s a great achievement. It’s a great compliment to your business too, because these contacts have given you permission to stay in contact with them. But in return, they expect to receive relevant content from you. 

For example, sending an email for “Ladies Night” to the entire email list is probably not a great idea, as the list most likely includes a substantial number of men. Will the men on your list care about “Ladies Night?” Probably not. And now you may have annoyed them with an untargeted email.

Take the time and care to personalize your emails for the right audience. Otherwise, you could be neglecting the privilege you've earned to email your subscribers. There are only a few instances when it's appropriate to email your entire list.     

4) No Call To Action/Bad Call To Action

So you’ve spent all this time crafting a perfect email to target and encourage your list suscribers to take an action. But what action are you enticing them to take? If you don’t know, they certainly have no idea. That’s why there is nothing more crippling to an email than an unclear call-to-action (or lack thereof).

Without a relevant call-to-action (CTA), the recipients you are aiming to nurture have nowhere to go. It is a path without end, a trip with no destination. Without a relevant CTA, how do your readers know the outcome you desire for them?

The bottom line is, you must not only serve up CTAs in your emails, you must serve CTAs that are relevant to the email copy you have dished alongside it. This way, recipients know exactly the opportunity they have a chance to take advantage of.

The Bottom Line

There you have it! The 4 email marketing mistakes you don’t want to make. If you have a feeling that you are making any mistakes in other areas of your digital marketing, it may be time to address those too.

Take a look at our Beginner’s Guide To Inbound Marketing ebook and learn about the plans and processes behind inbound best practices.

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Originally published Aug 1, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated January 18 2023


Email Marketing