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5 mistakes that may be hurting your email marketing efforts

Thoughts by Nuno Sancha • Freelancer Freelancer

It doesn't matter if you side with the marketers predicting the death of email or with those who consider that email is alive and well.

Lindy tells us that we should expect email marketing to be around for a few more decades.

Reality tells us that every company uses some form of email marketing in their business. So instead of trying to figure out who is correct, we should focus on the present.

And while we are living in the present, we should discuss some of the email marketing mistakes that can hurt your efforts in the long run. They are simple mistakes, but they can cost us time and a lot of money – two things that we shouldn't be wasting.

Reinventing the wheel

Unless you are running a sale or sending a transaction email, you shouldn't start from scratch every time you need to send an email. Sitting there every week, or every other day, wasting time thinking about what you should write is not just unproductive; it can cost you money as well.

What you should be doing instead is recycling your content from other channels, like blog posts, videos, social media, podcasts, whatever.

Don't assume people consume everything you publish online, so act as your curator and aggregate all your great content in one place – your emails.

Today I received an email from one of my favorite no-bs marketers on earth – Louis Grenier – and his email is the perfect example of not reinventing the wheel. He held a hot seat in Jan 2021. The content is fire, and by now, he has more subscribers that weren't subscribed to him a year ago, so he sent this:

Louis Grenier - Email Example

I used just the first part of the email to make my case, but if you want to study a marvelous (content) marketer, I encourage you to follow Louis on Linkedin and subscribe to his newsletter.

Don't make it all about images.

A beautiful design can and will do a lot of heavy lifting on your emails. But it is crucial to have a balance between image and text. And when I say text, I don't mean words inside a big picture; I mean text in your email body, outside of the image.

There is a reason for this. A lot of email services have images turned off by default. So it doesn't matter how beautiful and well crafted your design is if your subscribers may not see it.

Having a mix of image and text will make sure that at least they will understand your message, and if you pique their interest, they may even take the extra step to enable the images to have a full picture – BA DUM TSS.

Email Clients - Default Image Display via CXL Institute

A perfect example of this is an old IKEA email that consisted of 100% images, with text embedded inside those images. As you can see, the final result was not that good.

Since then, IKEA has improved its emails, they still send well-designed emails, but now the essential pieces of text are in the body of the email. Thank them for this important lesson.

Email Lists aren't something that you should buy.

I don't believe that someone trying to grow his email list would buy a cold email list to add to his newsletter or email marketing strategy. But in case you are someone that thought "actually, I was thinking about doing it"; please don't.

Cold email lists are lousy marketing. I am not saying that someone should never send a cold email, but this is different.

Email marketing software providers – like Bento – kinda hate those cold lists:

  1. You don't have people's permission to add them to your marketing sequences;
  2. Those people won't open your emails – a 3% open rate would be a great result;
  3. People will report you as SPAM, which will damage your domain reputation and your ESP reputation in the process.

Instead, if you want to grow your email list invest in:

  • Sponsored emails
  • Co-marketing & partnership
  • SEO
  • Ask people their emails in exchange for something valuable to them
  • Run contests

I promise to discuss growing your email list in the following article because I don't want to deviate from the main subject. Stay tuned.

Mobile is important

People nowadays walk with their computers in their pockets. So you should make it easier for them to read your message and take action – if it's required. These days, email marketing software allows you to make your emails mobile-friendly quickly.

And the behavior of people when the email on mobile does not look good – image below – says it all.

Mobile Email Behaviour via CXL Institute

Besides, an article from 2015, MarTech said that nearly 68 percent of emails were opened on a mobile device. With the popularization of smartphones in almost every country on earth, that number must be higher by now.

So, if mobile wasn't a priority for you until now, it's time to start focusing on it.

Send a test email to yourself first.

I do not doubt that you have double-checked everything before clicking on SEND, but even the best ones sometimes miss something.

Maybe you forgot to add the subject line.

Or your images are looking good, but they don't look good when they arrive in the inbox.

Did you check your links? Are they pointing to the right place? Are some of them broke?

How does your email appear on a mobile phone? Can you read it? Are the fonts too large, too small?

As you can see, a lot can go wrong after you send that great email that you dedicated a portion of your day crafting with such passion.

I just clicked send when I thought that my work was done. I would edit the copy beforehand and then past it in the email editor.

I don't remember if I ever sent an email with "Hi |FNAME|...", but I know for sure that I've sent emails missing subject lines and with broken links as well. Why? Because I didn't test them before sending them.

These problems are avoidable when you send a test email to yourself. You can read it, edit the typos, and test all the issues above. After that, let your customers read your masterpiece and admire your creativity.

Final Words

Email marketing is not technically complicated, which makes people think that there is nothing to worry about. You write, you add beautiful visuals, and you dazzle your readers. This is not wrong, but it isn't the whole truth.

The illusion of easiness can make us overlook essential details and things can go south in a heartbeat.

There are no shortcuts for a great relationship. Your email is a channel that allows you to communicate and develop a relationship with customers and future customers.

So, don't be lazy. It can cost you a lot. Give them your best content, don't treat them as just a contact in an email list, and remember that they read most of their emails on a mobile phone.

If you keep these things in mind, you will avoid bad experiences. And a lot of the time, this is all people are asking from you.