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January 29, 2013

Eight Completely Avoidable Mistakes E-mail Marketers Make

Wouldn’t life be easier if we had the foresight to avoid every mistake in every part of our lives?  I suppose in a dream world us marketers would generate leads effortlessly, acquire customers easily and make no faux pas.

But welcome to reality!  Mistakes are part of what make us human, so it’s fairly ridiculous to think you can avoid them.  Sooner or later, we’ll end up smacking ourselves in the forehead and uttering a well-chosen expletive.

Some mistakes, however, can be prevented — and they should be.  Here are some common e-mail marketing mistakes that are easily avoidable, so you can avoid looking like a dufus.

Not segmenting your e-mail lists

People who are regular customers do not want to receive the same e-mails as prospects. Likewise you’ll want to phrase your e-mail differently for different audiences, for example, college students and business executives.  Don’t just send a blanket e-mail — make sure you segment your e-mail lists and send the appropriate message to the appropriate audiences.

Not allowing users to easily unsubscribe

People get really mad if they can’t find a way to unsubscribe to your e-mails.  As painful as it is, make sure you have an unsubscribe or opt-out button or link on the bottom of your e-mails (you’ll probably end up in a spam filter anyway).

Not including a call to action

What’s the point of digital marketing if it doesn’t ask your readers to do something?  Make sure your content has a call to action (CTA), however subtle, and ask them to visit your website, use a coupon, register for an event, like you on Facebook, have a great holiday, watch a video, etc.  You get the idea.

Not optimizing your e-mails for mobile devices

While plain text e-mails aren’t quite as exciting, some mobile devices don’t deal well with HTML e-mails, which means people viewing your content on those devices will see… nothing (cue “sad trombone”).

Including no links to your website or social media sites

This ties in with No. 3.  You always want to give your prospects somewhere else to go to find out more about your products.  Include “follow us on social media” buttons with links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. and sprinkle a couple of relevant links back to your website throughout the e-mail.

Forgetting to test your e-mails first

The beauty of many of these mistakes is they are, in fact, avoidable. Most e-mail marketing software allows you to send a test e-mail before publishing to see exactly what the e-mail will look like. So use it.  Be sure to test all links, videos, etc. to make sure they work properly.

Including text and links that look like spam

This one’s a doozy.  There are several spam-look-alike words every marketer should avoid — keep those words out of your subject line, your sender name, links and e-mail texts.  Make sure the e-mail is coming from a legitimate sender name, not FreeDownloadToday45!23.

Maxing out your e-mail size with huge files or images

You spend a lot of time and energy creating and sending your e-mails, so you want them to be opened, right?  If you’ve got too many large images, graphics or videos that slow down the download speed, you are shooting yourself in the foot (another reason to test your e-mails first!).

I’m not saying these are the only mistakes you could possible make.  But be careful to avoid these and you’ll be putting yourself in a good position for a successful e-mail marketing campaign that makes you look like one smart marketer.

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Natalie McCatty is a content writer for Solutions 8, Arizona’s fastest growing digital marketing firm offering search engine marketing, video production, social media, web design and more. Follow her on Twitter @nmccatty8 or read more of her work on the Sol8 blog.