Email marketing has made it possible for small businesses to reach more people than ever before. It is a great way to convert new customers and keep the existing customers engaged. However, it’s hard to achieve positive results without a good email marketing strategy. If you want your email campaign to succeed, you need to do it right.

Paying attention to detail and avoiding small mistakes is what can set you apart from the competition. Here is a list of the most common email marketing mistakes and how to avoid them.


1. Unsolicited messages

Are you absolutely sure that your customers have agreed to receive your messages? If there is one basic rule of email marketing, it’s don’t send messages if you don’t have permission. If you are sending commercial messages without consent, you are sending spam. The easiest and the most important way to get more subscriptions is to have a visible subscription link on your website.


2. Making it Hard to Unsubscribe

Making the process of unsubscribing from your emails as simple as possible for the recipients is very important. If you make unsubscribing too difficult, people won’t bother with going through the process. They will just flag your message as spam. The more users do this, the greater the harm to your sender reputation.

That is why you should always make sure to provide an easy way out for your customers. Ideally, it shouldn’t take more than two clicks. If possible, try to avoid asking for email and password to unsubscribe or sending confirmation messages. 

3. Underestimating the Importance of Subject and Sender

Before you can convince your audience to read your email, you have to convince them to actually open it. People will decide whether to open your email or send it to the spam folder based on the subject line and the email address you are sending from. Making this decision takes only a couple of seconds, and you can’t afford to miss this chance to get the attention of your readers.   

Using a subject line that tells the readers nothing about the content of the email is definitely a big mistake. You need a subject line that conveys useful information and grabs the reader's attention. With that said, don’t overdo it and never use misleading headlines. The headline needs to be consistent with what’s in the body of the text. Otherwise, you’ll leave your audience disappointed.

Pay attention to the email you are sending from too. By using a generic name in your email address such as “no-reply” or “admin” you will make your messages seem impersonal. You are basically telling your audience you don’t want to interact with them. People are much more likely to respond if they feel like they are talking to a real person.


4. Overlooking the Email Preview Text

Almost every email client displays some preview text near the subject line. The preview (also called the preheader) is usually about 100 characters long. By default, it will be pulled from the beginning of your email. However, you can also specifically define the text you want your readers to see in the preview. It’s easy to forget about this little detail, but using a preheader can really help you make a big impression.

Preheaders give your readers a sense of what’s in your email before they decide whether to click on it. They are very useful because they can supplement the subject line and give you a chance to catch the attention of the recipients. The preheader is your opportunity to make the readers interested enough to open your email, so why waste it?

5. Sending Image-Only Emails

Sending an email that contains only images is rarely a good idea. There are two main reasons for this. First of all, the images might not be displayed at all, especially on mobile. Many people have images turned off by default. If the important information is shown only in images, you risk failing to convey your message completely.

Second, there is a good chance that spam filters will mark your message as spam. Since most email clients aren’t able to read the text in images, image only-emails are automatically marked as spam.

However, this doesn’t mean you should completely avoid using images. In fact, there is a good chance that people will click an image link rather than a text link. Just make sure to repeat everything in plain text if the images in your email contain important information. Including a link to a web version of your email is also a good idea.


6. Sending Without Testing

Not testing your emails before sending them out can be a big mistake. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend making sure that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes, all links work, and all images are loaded correctly. If the recipient’s email client doesn’t display the message correctly, everything else you have done will go to waste. Test your email on the most popular clients like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook before you send them out and you should be fine.

You can also go a step further and try A/B testing to optimize your emails. Send two or more variations of the same message to a small portion of recipients and track their performance using email analytics software. Shiftmail is a great solution for this. It will tell you exactly how many users have opened your email, the amount of time they have spent reading it as well as the number of clicks on content links within the email. You can also use it to find out what type of platform your customers are using to read your emails.


7. Failing to Segment Your Audience 

The “one size fits all” approach might have worked ten years ago, but today it’s definitely out of the question. Targeting and personalization are absolutely necessary to get your readers’ attention. Making your message relevant to the recipient will not only increase your metrics and revenues, but it will also give you a competitive advantage.

There are many ways you can go about segmentation. It can be straightforward, but it can also be as complex as you want it. Get creative and use the information you have about your customers such as location or purchase history to create personalized content. The more information you have about your email recipients, the greater the chance of making your message relevant.

8. Ignoring the Analytics

Not taking time to review your message statistics is a huge mistake. All the time you spend putting together your messages is worth nothing if the recipients aren’t actually opening them. If you pay attention to the analytics, you can discover a lot of useful information. To do this right, you will need email analytics software.

If you use Shiftmail, you will not only know if your customers are opening your emails, but you will also know exactly how much time they spend reading them. It will also measure the number of clicks on the content links within your message. That is a great indicator of the quality of content you are sending.