Top 10 Bad Habits of Email Marketing

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Unfortunately, when it comes to email marketing there are many bad habits and we’ve all experienced them, either as marketers or consumers. We explore here some of those habits that need to be broken, and – importantly – how to do it.

1. Poor targeting

As consumers we have all received badly targeted email, often for products we would never, ever use. When they fill our Inbox we view those organisations contacting us as a nuisance; even if we have previously used them, it could deter us from any future dealings. Remedy: Use the information you hold on your existing clients to better target both them and future new prospects.

2. Quantity placed above quality

When selecting or sourcing a distribution list for your email marketing, it is important to appreciate that sheer volume of data is not the key to a successful campaign. Sending to large volumes of email addresses not only suggests that your targeting is weak, but it can have a detrimental effect on the number of Inboxes you reach overall. Sending to a smaller, higher quality list will invariably yield you better results.

3. Inaccurate data

Buying inaccurate (often cheaper) data is a real issue in the industry, and the reason some inexpert people say ‘never buy data lists’. Using a reputable data supplier whose data will have good recency and accuracy is vital – they can also help you target and select the most appropriate data for your campaign/s.

4. Single contact emails

People are often disappointed in the results of their first email campaign, but shouldn’t pass judgment too quickly – a single email can be only so effective. Your email campaign should be part of an ongoing series of communications, by both email and other media, to generate and nurture leads.

5. Broadcasts from unsuitable platforms

Most marketing professionals will research and ensure they are using a platform suitable for their email communications. However, we do still encounter some organisations that try to use systems such as Outlook to send mass email. This causes issues with limited send capacity, spam filters blacklisting your whole company as well as creative limitations. On top of that, without being able to monitor open, click and other response statistics, you never know exactly how your email and list is performing.

6. Content or creative issues

This may seem an obvious point, but putting significant effort into both the design and content of you email will pay dividends. Generally speaking, if you are promoting a product ‘less is more’ in terms of copy; make it easy for the recipient to glance over then read more detail if the content is of interest. As always, the correct balance will depend heavily on the product or service you supply.

7. Bad timing

When you send your emails, the timing can be as vital as the design – but the best time to send will vary, dependent on your target audience. The best way to ensure you send at the most appropriate time is to test (and test again) various send times – then opt for the one or two that you have found give the best open and click results.

8. Not considering spam filters

If you don’t even reach the Inbox of your client or prospect, then your email campaign will of course not return good results. Make sure you are aware of spam filters and what they react to, thereby ensuring your content is not going to be blocked from reaching the intended recipient.

9. Trust issues

Virtually everyone is aware that email is not a high cost mode of communication, so it does not automatically make a client think ‘this is a reputable company’ when they receive an email – especially if you are displaying any of these other bad habits, too.

This is another reason that email should be just one element of your marketing and communications arsenal. Combine emails with Direct Mail, Social Media, Web Presence, Print/TV/Radio and any other advertising medium that is appropriate for your business and budget.

10. Product positioning

In the end, every business and product is different; hence you may find that email promotion is not right for a particular product in your range or a particular branch of your business. Always monitor and respond to results and tailor your media as well as your messages.

  • Do you know of any other bad habits that you have seen (or been guilty of!) connected with email marketing?
  • As a consumer, what type of emails do you like/dislike?