Email marketing yields outstanding results for many brands. With an average return on investment (ROI) of , it’s a reliable channel for increasing awareness and sales. However, not all marketers achieve these goals. Most times, it’s because they’re not aware of the mistakes they may be making. What are some of the most common email marketing no-no’s that could be sabotaging your ROI right now? Let’s take a look and see how you can fix them!
Are you making these email marketing mistakes?
You’re using a messy email list. Your emails contain spam trigger words that cause them to land in the junk pile. Or you continue to email people who haven’t engaged with your content in more than six months.
These are just a few examples of email marketing mistakes you can easily avoid and increase ROI.
You use an outdated email list
For how long have you been growing your email list? No matter when you started, you’re happy about every new subscriber you get. The more your community expands, the higher your chances to boost sales. But are all your subscribers real and active?
If you haven’t taken the time to figure that out, some of your emails may be landing in people’s spam folder. A bounce rate higher than 2% and constant spam complaints tarnish your sender reputation. In turn, a bad reputation will get you mistaken for a spammer in the eyes of Internet and email service providers. And where do spammers belong? That’s right: in the spam folder.
Worst case scenario: if you don’t clean your database, you may even end up on an email blacklist, which means you won’t be able to send any emails at all.
Thankfully, there’s a simple fix to that.
Liviu Tanase, founder and CEO of email validation service , says it can take minutes to restore the quality of your database. “An email list of 100,000 contacts takes under an hour to validate, and that improves your email marketing dramatically,” he says.
“Gone are the times when email marketers sprayed and prayed for results. With email laws and regulations such as , it’s vital for senders to abide by best practices. Thorough email hygiene is one of them,” Tanase added.
Pruning your email list of bad contacts is not only an email marketing best practice, but it’s a must if you want long-term results. So, before you send out your next newsletter or campaign, consider using an to make sure your list is accurate and up-to-date.
Also, you can install an email verification API on your signup and registration forms. This way, you can make sure every new subscriber goes through a filter before being added to your list. The API checks email addresses in real time and allows only the valid ones to go through.
You email people who don’t engage with your content
Every email list has inactive subscribers. Some people will open all of your emails – these are your most faithful supporters. Others will open your messages from time to time, depending on what you send and how it resonates with them. Finally, there will be subscribers who either:
- · open your emails for a while, then stop engaging
- · never open any of your emails.
If you continue to email subscribers who haven’t clicked on your emails in more than six months, you’re exposing yourself to significant risk. Here are three reasons why:
- 1. you’re paying your email service provider to send emails these people don’t care about.
- 2. these subscribers affect your overall engagement rates. That has a direct impact on your sender reputation.
- 3. some of those email addresses may be repurposed into spam traps and cause you trouble with Internet and email service providers.
It’s hard to let go of subscribers. You probably put a lot of effort into growing your email list, so it’s understandable that you want to hold on to every address. Nonetheless, keeping them is one of the biggest email marketing mistakes and will cost you in the long run.
On the other hand, weeding out unengaged people from your database has immediate benefits. You’ll notice higher open and click-through rates within weeks.
Your content is over-promotional
When was the last time you enjoyed reading a sales email? Even when they bear the signature of the most talented copywriters, sales emails are quite hard to enjoy. Now, imagine your favorite brand sending you such messages every time – or most of the time. You’d find some offers useful, but at some point, you’d get tired of them and may even opt out.
Your subscribers feel the same. Whether they got on your list to get a free e-book or a discount, they don’t expect you to bombard them with sales emails all the time. Instead, they’re hoping for you to give them a good reason to click your subject lines.
If it’s hard for you to assess how many promotional emails is too many, apply the . Let 20% of your messages make a sales offer, while the rest of 80% can focus on useful content that will improve people’s businesses and lives.
No idea what to include in your emails? Create a weekly newsletter and strive to turn it into a real experience for the people on your list. Send your most recent blog articles or other helpful resources you discover online. Share your opinions on the hottest topics in your industry – and invite your subscribers to do the same. Also, interview members of your team and send those interviews out.
As you can see, coming up with ideas isn’t that hard. What’s important to remember is that your subscribers are hoping to get help, education, inspiration, and entertainment from the emails they receive. If you can provide all of them at once, everybody wins.
How’s your email marketing performing?
If you feel like you’ve been making these email marketing mistakes, don’t worry: every marketer has made them at least once. As long as you’re willing to fix them, you’re on the right path.
To figure out what to improve, you first have to determine your weak points. So, what do your email marketing metrics look like? It’s easy to find out: look at your reports.
First, how high is your bounce rate? If it’s higher than 2%, that’s an indicator of poor email hygiene, so make sure to validate your list and prune out invalid addresses.
Also, study your open and click-through rates in the past three to six months. If they’ve been sinking, it could be your outdated email list, the quality of your content, or both.
Then, find out how many people reply to or forward your emails – this tells you how much they enjoy what you send. Lastly, see how many spam complaints you get on average and remove those users right away, along with the unengaged ones.
All these metrics contribute to your sender reputation, which determines your entire email marketing performance. Think of it as your professional reputation: it takes time to build it and a few small mistakes to tarnish it. Why not avoid them if you can?
About the author:
Corina Leslie is the PR Manager for email validation company , an Inc. 5000 honoree. She’s written hundreds of articles on email marketing and is a contributor to Thrive Global and Money magazine. Most often, you’ll find her on the , where she shares her tips and interviews experts on digital marketing and PR.