8 Email Marketing Mistakes You Probably Make (& How To Fix Them)

Oct 18, 2018 3:30:00 PM

Email marketing strategies are one of the most vital aspects of driving sales.

In fact, when done right email marketing strategies yield a 3800% return on investment!

Not only that, but the value of orders customers place are usually 3x higher with properly email nurtured customers.

This can be one of the most profitable, valuable investments to promote your content.

Yet, many people struggle to get that kind of ROI and success in their marketing strategies.

So where do they go wrong?

Let’s dive in.  that people make and tell you how to fix them!

The 8 Most Common And Most Costly Email Marketing Mistakes

Now, we've been helping tons of companies optimize their email marketing campaigns for a while now, and (not to brag) but we've even been recognized as a top Email & Marketing Automation Company on DesignRush.

We know exactly how most businesses fail in regards to email marketing.

From our experience, we've identified these major mistakes.

Mistake #1: You Email Blast

One of my first jobs was as a waiter, and for the first few months, I was absolutely horrible.

8 Email Marketing Mistakes You Probably Make (& How To Fix Them)

I never knew why my tips were so low until 3 months in.

A couple I was serving told me, “Listen, you’re nice, but we didn’t come here to talk to you. We came here to eat and enjoy each other’s company.”

I remember being taken aback...almost offended!

I mean sure, I came by every other bite to make sure they were enjoying their meal, and I exercised the best “lingering” you’ve ever seen.

But then I picked out those valuable words, We didn’t come here to talk to you.

And it clicked in my brain. I understood how my constant contact attempts just annoyed them. They weren’t there for me. They were there for what I gave them.

Have you ever subscribed to something you liked, but found yourself buried in emails a week later that you never wanted in the first place?

It happens all the time.

That’s textbook “how to get people to unsubscribe”.

This is the first point. Don’t email blast...ever!

One of the easiest traps to fall into is the “They subscribed so I’ll just send them everything we do!”, and this tactic rarely ever works.

Pro Tip: If you have someone really engaged with your product or already a great promoter of it, it might be wise to send them more educating, valuable emails than not. But that’s your discretion. Are they going to benefit or just be annoyed by it?

You don’t want people hopping out of the buyer’s journey because you were that annoying waiter that just wants to talk to them every 2 minutes.

So, how do you fix this and get leads engaged with your site, product, or services?

How To Fix It: Establish Email Frequency Up Front

One of the best ways to establish expectations with your prospects is by being upfront with how often they will receive your content.

For instance, Linked In does a great job by providing an expectation of how often you’ll receive the bigger news stories with their Daily Rundown.

8 Email Marketing Mistakes You Probably Make (& How To Fix Them) linked in daily round up feed

Even though this is on social media, the concept is the same.

It’s just one notification that you have to go through.

Here’s another great example from HubSpot about how to communicate how often you’ll receive their emails.

When you subscribe to their blog, they notify you that you’ll receive daily emails of their marketing blogs. 

8 Email Marketing Mistakes You Probably Make (& How To Fix Them) Hubspot email description

They even put it in the title sentence, so you know what to expect.

These are great ways to communicate just how often you’ll be sending emails to your subscribers so they don’t feel overwhelmed.

3 Tips To Accomplish This?

  • Group the content you intend to send out within one or two weekly emails. This gives them the option to engage with what they want to see without getting annoyed.
  • Evaluate the engagement an email recipient has with your content. High engagement leads/customers could benefit from more content than other less-involved prospects.
  • Tell prospects how often to expect emails on the subscription form. Brief, up-front explanations are always better than unexpected floods of emails.

Mistake #2: You Don’t Send At The Right Times

So you’re getting people to subscribe to your emails with great offers!

But you’re not really driving sales with your big email list.

What’s going on?

Odds are, you're not getting those emails opened or interacted with.

How do you help assure your emails get opened, read, and engaged with by your audience?

Send it on the best days and at the right times.

How To Fix It: Run Tests

You need to track the percentage of recipients that open and interact with your emails.

Woah woah. I know many people read that and thought, “That sounds like a ton to do.” or “That sounds complex.”

Breathe easy. It’s not, we promise.

In fact, most emailing services like MailChimp and Optinmonster do it for you.

Even if you’re a solo show or a small business owner, you can do it yourself quite easily.

How To Test What Days & Times Work Best

To track what days and times work best, you have to run what’s called an A/B test.

They’re crazy easy. They basically compare two numbers against each other. That’s it.

Here’s what you need to track:

  • Open Rate - Percentage of sent emails that are opened
  • Click Through Rate (CTR) - Percent of opened emails that had the recipient click on an offer/link in your email.
  • Send Days
  • Send Times

Here’s how you do it...you track open rate and CTR on each day and time you send emails to your email list.

Then, based on the numbers you get, you start sending emails on those days at those times.

Simple as that.

Here’s A Shortcut On The Best Times/Days To Send Emails

8 Email Marketing Mistakes You Probably Make (& How To Fix Them) When should you send your emails_

Now, best times and days tend to differ slightly from industry to industry, generally speaking, but evidence from from thousands of studies show they’re fairly similar across the board.

Best days to send emails: Tuesday, Thursday, and Wednesday.Best times to send emails: 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 6 a.m.

Mistake #3: You Don’t Focus On Your Great Offers

An offer is what makes your email amazing.

It’s the button you include at the bottom that leads to your great offer!

These "calls to action" are what drive your conversion rates!

This offer can be in the form of a piece of content, a checklist, a consultation call, a coupon, or literally anything else you could seek to offer to your subscribers.

You may have a lead, but how do you get them to buy from you and experience your great product or service?

You funnel them towards a purchase and get them there by offering stellar content.

How To Fix It: Align Your Offers To Funnel Them Down

Let’s say you’re a plumbing service in a large metropolitan area.

The people you want to attract are higher-end residential home builders or contractors.

Let's go through some steps to get people to convert.

Step 1: Get Them To Opt-In & Subscribe

Your focus may be attracting them by pushing content based on extravagant home builds and cool home design concepts.

You can entice them to subscribe to see cool design concepts, home build tips & tricks, and then entice them with an expansive ebook of designs to include in their next build.

Step 2: Introduce Offers Based On Their Interests

You know they’re subscribing based on great builds, so build on that (pun intended)!

  • Make a checklist for kitchen build "must-haves".
  • Make a blueprint catalogue for those great builds you've already sent them.
  • Then funnel them to a consultative call by placing a call-to-action button with your plumbing build specialist.

Step 3: Deliver Your Offer Exceptionally Well

They call after receiving about the 5th email offering a consultation with a high-end plumbing expert.

You properly critique them on their existing plans for their build’s plumbing and discuss handling the project since it’s what they are looking for.

Step 4: Nurture & Close

This is the biggest step.

You’re nurturing them to a sale, so educate and engage them through every aspect so that they want to work with you.

Once they’re ready to buy...they will.

That’s how you close a sale by aligning your content offers and email marketing efforts at the beginning with your product or service at the end.

Mistake #4: You Use Poor Titles & Content

2 major factors influencing your open rates and CTRs are bad subject lines and email copy.

Companies make the mistake of being too vague or too “salesy” in their email subject lines and they suffer from low open rate and CTR.

Fix this by optimizing these areas:

  • The subject line
  • The description
  • The copy
  • The visuals
  • The offer

Optimizing Your Email’s Subject Line

You should communicate subject and value without revealing everything.

You want to entertain them, make them want to dive in, but don't show everything.

If a marketing company sent you an email saying “You need to know this information!” they might as well delete it for you.

But if they said “8 Mistakes Your Emails Probably Have & How To Fix Them” you might want to read that more.

Its value is obvious because it says “how to fix them”. It specifically says it has the answers to your emails issues without revealing them.

Focus on those three areas to best entice readers with your subject line.

Optimizing Your Email’s Description

The description is what you continue to read after the subject line.

It’s what introduces your email.

Two characteristics will benefit this: slight informality and a direct approach.

Check out this email preview in Gmail to see a great sense of slight informality. 

8 Email Marketing Mistakes You Probably Make (& How To Fix Them) good email description

See how slightly informal it is?

“Hi, Chase, blah blah blah”.

While I don’t know this person on a first name basis, I feel like I can approach her and just ask her more about the service she’s talking about.

It can be inferred that I’d probably open her email then. Informality is powerful.

Obviously, there’s a line between informal and unprofessional. Be careful but be approachable.

Let’s look at another email description to see a great example of a direct approach.

8 Email Marketing Mistakes You Probably Make (& How To Fix Them) good email description

What's their email about? 12 lessons they want to offer me.

See what I’m saying?

You don’t have to wonder what the topic of this email is. They get right to the point. This helps me know they’re not pandering but getting to the point.

Our subconscious minds love that.

Fix your descriptors by optimizing those areas.

Optimizing Your Email’s Content (Copy, Visuals, & Offer)

HubSpot is a marketing empire, and they’re who we work with.

Naturally, they fill up our inboxes with great emails. Here’s one that encompasses everything you need out of the copy, visuals, and offer. 

Screen recording
See how their copy explained the topic, described the value, educated me, and led me to want to click the offer at the end?

The visual at the top is just to add a bit of imagery.

It all adds together to make a great email viewing experience. Now, brb I’m going to go check out that email!

Here are a few tips and pointers to keep in mind when writing the actual copy down:

  • Use simple terms - You don’t have to be a brainiac to communicate effectively.
  • Talk in your audience’s language - Start throwing words like photosynthesis or antidisestablishmentarianism around to people unversed in those things and they’ll go right to sleep.
  • Incorporate emojis where organic and necessary - They drive better open rates.

Mistake #5: You Don’t Segment Your Emails

Email segmentation is crucial as well because it helps you drive open rates, click-through rates (CTRs), conversion rates, and minimize unsubscribers.

Segmentation means dividing your subscribers into smaller groups based on specific criteria and then sending them emails that only pertain to their specific buyer’s journey stage.

The reason for this is that you’re sending targeted content to ideal buyers and feeding the specific needs they’ll have.

Here’s the best way to break up your email list:

8 Email Marketing Mistakes You Probably Make (& How To Fix Them) The best Ways To Segment Your Email LIst

  • Subscribers - This is everyone. Sometimes, you have announcements that everyone needs to see so this is a great group for that.
  • New Subscribers - Thank, congratulate, and reward your new subscribers. Imagine if you gave a 10% off coupon or free service to people subscribing to your blog!
  • Customers - Someone who’s already bought from you should receive helpful content on how to use their products or other relevant offers. Anything to get them to tell their friends about your brand.
  • Prospects - The biggie! These people should get offers, educating material, and incentivized promotional content to progress them from hitting subscribe to buying your product or service.
  • Inactive Subscribers - Subscribers that don’t do anything and haven’t for a while. Set a time frame and once it's over that send them something that reminds them of your great content and offers.
  • Shopping Cart Abandoners - Everyone has buyer’s indecision. You should send an email giving extra encouragement and reminders about people leaving shopping carts without buying.
  • Nearby - Having an event in your area? Send an email to these individuals so they know and can attend/support!

Mistake #6: You Don’t Automate Your Emails

This is quite possibly the most costly mistake businesses make. They don’t automate emails to contact everyone for them.

Imagine if you wrote one email, and copied it and sent it to everyone that did a specific thing on your website...

How useful and time-saving does that sound?

That’s literally what this is, and it’s amazing at saving you time, ensuring your engagement efforts, and nurturing leads.

I can’t emphasize this enough; automated emails and segmentation are the most important things to driving bottom line sales from your email marketing efforts.

Heck, probably even your overall marketing efforts, too! It’s that big.

Let’s say someone subscribes to your blog.

A thank you email would automatically trigger thanking them for subscribing and it offers them more relevant content to help them!

That person reads the extra content in that email and clicks the button on the bottom of the blog.

Mistake #7: You Buy Email Lists

This is a simple mistake that is easy to correct.

The mistake? Some people buy an email list.

The solution? Don’t.

Most companies that buy an email list are synonymous with “spammers”. It’s is a shortcut that takes you to the recipients trash, unsubscribed, or spammed list.

In fact, most email services don’t even allow you to import purchased email lists.

They only permit you to import email lists that you’ve built yourself over time.

HubSpot's customer code saying earn my attention don't steal it 8 Email Marketing Mistakes You Probably Make (& How To Fix Them)

HubSpot has this company motto that says “Earn my attention. Don’t steal it.” and it’s a fantastic concept.

To get all eyes on you...you have to work for it.

8 Email Marketing Mistakes You Probably Make (& How To Fix Them) guy giving a speech with everyone's attention


You want people to opt-in and subscribe to your list rather than stealing them.

This is how you gain loyal customers that are advocates of your brand.

Mistake #8: You Don’t Use Responsive Designs

One of the easiest email marketing mistakes people make is ignoring the power of the mobile device.

Almost 60% of all emails opened occurred on a phone! Only 15% on a desktop.

This means you need to have a responsive email design so that your emails don’t look jumbled on a phone.

Odds are, your recipients are looking at it on a mobile device, so make this a primary focus of your email marketing campaign!

How To Fix It: Make A Responsive Email Design

Self explanatory, I know. And we have covered this in past blogs, but it really is that important.

Make your email's responsive.

MailChimp, HubSpot, Optinmonster - they all offer this service so use it!

Their drag and drop editors have this service built in automatically, but it’s wise to preview it just before sending out.

Check out this blog & template kit from HubSpot with great examples of how your emails should look!

Some final tips to maximize your email marketing effectiveness:

  • Don’t use click bait titles. Tell the good, honest, valuable truth.
  • Use a reputable service. If you buy lists...they’re not reputable. If your email service uses paid lists...they’ll have a bad I.P. address which get’s spammed automatically.
  • Request that people who subscribe would add you to their address book so that your emails never get spammed.
  • Keep your actual coding clean on your emails. Most email services do, but double checking never hurt anyone.
  • Keep your language free from sales jargon. Simple, understandable terms that earn attention is always preferable to another sales pitch they probably don’t want.
  • Refresh your subscriber list from time to time. Delete inactive accounts or ones who have spammed you.
  • Keep the verbiage very action oriented. “Learn more valuable insights for free here!” is better than “more information”.

Interested in how to market best? We offer a few audits on websites and content to help beef up your online presence for FREE!


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