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14 email marketing mistakes to avoid

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Dec. 15, 2016
Email marketers and small business owners share their tips on how to decrease the likelihood of your emails being immediately deleted by prospective and existing customers.

“While sending more emails does not always translate to increased sales, under-mailing can also cause conversion rates to suffer,” says Sechrist. “Therefore, the best way to decide the optimal number of emails to send is through A/B tests. You may find that different segments prefer emails at a different frequency. In that case, you can tailor your send volume for each segment accordingly. Another best practice to consider is giving your subscribers an option to pick [how often] they would like to hear from you.”

Mistake No. 11: Having a bad (or no) email sign-up page and/or unsubscribe process.

“So many businesses (small and large) don't have an email sign-up page or collection method,” says Jenn Barber, founder, Jenn Barber Marketing. “The people on their ‘list’ come from the Contact Us form or from business cards collected from events. This is so bad. As soon as companies decide to start emailing people, they need to have a collection method – [and] it needs to clearly communicate expectations [and your privacy policy] to the people signing up. There [also] needs to be a way for people to unsubscribe.”

“If your email does not have a clear unsubscribe link, the subscriber may mark the email as spam instead of simply unsubscribing,” says Alice Williams, communications specialist, Frontier Business Edge. “This can negatively affect [your] reputation.”

Mistake No. 12: Emailing people who have not given you permission to do so. 

“The last thing you want to do as an email marketer is violate email sending practices that might wind you up on the SPAM list or, more seriously, [in trouble] with the law, specifically Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) and EU Privacy laws,” says Musto. So before you send out your next email campaign, “make sure your marketing team is aware of [any] laws they need to abide by, to ensure your company doesn't fall victim to this email fail.”

Mistake No.13: Not tracking results – or email ROI.

“Tracking campaign performance through metrics like open rates and click-through rates can help you tweak, refine and improve your [email marketing],” says Mychelle Mollot, CMO, Klipfolio. “The more opens and clicks, the more that specific campaign and content resonated with your subscribers.”

Similarly, “you need to make sure your efforts are paying off—with new leads, new customers and, ultimately, an increase in revenue for your business,” she says. “The most important email marketing metric to track is your email ROI, something that many smaller businesses neglect doing. To track ROI, look at how many conversions have been generated as a result of email marketing campaigns. These conversions may happen on online, in-store or directly through email. Monitoring email ROI will help you determine overall success and help you continuously improve campaign performance.”


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