5 Email Marketing Mistakes

Contrary to popular belief that despite social media channels bypassing the good old email marketing, it apparently is alive and well, and being used as an effective way to communicate with our target audience.

For starters, it’s not as complicated to setup as Google AdWords or Facebook adverts. Email marketing service providers have been improving in their offerings and enabled managing campaigns and measuring their effectiveness with greater clarity.

But despite 44 years since the first e-mail was ever sent and countless guidelines and etiquettes later, email marketing mistakes continue to prevail.

This is important because email marketing is not exactly the same as an office worker sending a message to a colleague whose objective is primarily to deliver the message and accomplish a task; email marketing should consider the behavior of its recipients to make a compelling message and achieve objectives such as making sales, maintaining a brand’s appeal or any other calls to action.

1. Did not get permission to send email
Email marketing is not about sending email to any email address you know. It’s sending a message people wish to receive from you. That means you are not supposed to do the following:

  • Add email to your mailing list from business cards you received in a meeting or an event
  • Add email to your mailing list from your Gmail or Yahoo! email contact list
  • Add email to your mailing list from list of customers of your online shop who signed up only for delivery notification
  • And so on.. unless they subscribe to your newsletter through a form that ideally offers double opt-in facility to confirm desire to sign up (just in case someone use their email).

2. Failure to include an unsubscribe link
Other emails I receive are even worse. Selling package tours to wholesale gifts for Christmas, these seemingly legit companies send emails that don’t include an unsubscribe link — something that should be present so that someone, like me who did not subscribe to the mailing list in the first place, has a way out.

So marking such emails as spam — something that theoretically lowers the credibility of a sender for future campaigns — seems the logical way to go.

3. Failure to include an automated unsubscribe link
Marketing Magazine should feel guilty about this. As get a copy of its magazine and access its content online, I feel less need to read emails. So I promptly clicked the ‘unsubscribe’ button at the footer. But instead of reading the confirmatory ‘you’ve been removed from the mailing list,’ it opens a compose email window with predefined email recipient and subject line. OK, even if it means one extra click, all I had to do was to click the ‘Send’ button. And hope that’s it.

4. Sending emails only when selling something
Even e-commerce sites, understood to send emails to promote new or in-season products, can send emails that offer value to customers and subscribers. What to do with defective deliveries. How to process refunds. And many other tips and how-tos. More than just creativity, it’s all about “giving” and striking the balance out of the “taking” of all these sales emails.

5. Failure to segment emails when necessary
As mailing lists grow in size, they can also become more diverse. So in such cases, the need to group customers according to interests, geographic locations, and so on. Without making necessary custom emails to a selected group of recipients, messages need to be general in nature and relevant to all. Otherwise, if you suddenly move away from general email topics and promote a restaurant in Hong Kong, and send to everyone in the mailing list, those who are away from Hong Kong could feel alienated and render the message irrelevant.