6 major habits to avoid when it comes to email marketing

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As individuals we are inundated with a bombardment of advertisements and pitches from just about every communication channel you can think of, including social media sites, direct mail, broadcast media, print ads, blogs, and webinars; and sometimes it can get a bit chaotic out there with marketers all aggressively competing for our undivided attention.

An inbox is a place of solace amongst the noise for most. But for email marketing purposes, having the luxury of email spam filters in place makes broadcasting your message a little more challenging. There are 6 major habits to avoid when it comes to email marketing, and to be invited inside and reap the benefits of a successful email marketing campaign and avoid any negative impact on your delivery, you will need to have the correct etiquette and shun these six habits right away:

  1. Sending unsolicited emails
    Always obtain your audience’s permission first, before you decide to include them in your list. Web harvested, purchased or even third party lists are generally poor in quality, beleaguered with old email addresses, and very often contain spam traps – which is an email address that’s not actively used, but is actively monitored by anti-spam organizations, security companies, nation-wide ISPs and corporate email servers to name a few. If you hit a spam trap on your list an ISP or security organisation can block your IP addresses from which the emails are coming. Legislation including POPI and the CAN SPAM Act must be understood, as they are laws that give all recipients the right to have companies stop emailing them; if companies violate this legislation they are liable for hefty fines or even prison sentences. Read more about what POPI means for your business here.

  2. Sending bad content and poor design
    If you want your email campaign efforts to be successful, good quality content on a well-designed email template is key. You have to pay attention to what your audience wants and then use this data to make them feel special. Personalize your message by using their name rather than addressing everyone in your campaign as “Hey All/ Hello”, and envision intimacy when writing rather than leaving recipients feeling generalized. Another thing to steer clear of is attempting to trick your audience into opening your emails by using deceptive headings and subject lines, as this is likely to lead to a high complaint and unsubscribe rate. When designing your template layout, avoid using too many graphics that can confuse or dissuade your audience and make sure your call-to-action is clear and concise – less is always more!

  3. Not testing email campaigns
    Make sure your campaigns look pixel perfect across all platforms and always lookout for any typos, spacing issues, image sizes and link errors etc. It’s worth getting a fresh pair of eyes to give it a once over, as you are more likely to miss something if you’ve read it multiple times. TotalSend has a design test that allows you to see how your email renders across all email platforms, and view your email's spam score.

  4. Sending to your entire subscriber list
    Make sure your lists are immaculate, and then start segmenting your lists, either by demographic attributes (who they are) or by historical behaviour and transactions (what they've done). Behavioural or demographic segmenting is especially useful in targeting your audience – ultimately increasing subscriber engagement and relevance.

  5. Sending without considering the time
    When deciding on the best times to send your campaigns, think about your audience and ask yourself questions such as do they work different shifts, have alternative sleep patterns, or different purchasing times?  An Experian study found a large percentage of recipients were active late at night - unique open rates averaged 21.7% from 8pm to 11:59pm and 17.6% for 12am to 4am. Moreover, this late night group was more likely to click through, with open rates of 4.2% and 3.2%, respectively. These night owls also had the highest click through rates for all times of day. So make sure you use your feedback data and tweak your times accordingly.

  6. Not measuring the success of email campaigns
    The final habit that you have to do away with is not taking the adequate time to measure the success of your campaigns.  Future campaigns will be more effective if you get into the swing of calculating basic metrics and evaluate them across email campaigns to see what tone, timing and topics are most successful.
    • Open Rate shows what percentage of recipients actually open your emails and measures recipient interest from subject lines of your emails. To improve this rate, always keep subject lines short and relative to your content.
    • A click through rate reveals how interested recipients were in an issue, and how you converted that interest into click-throughs. Improve this metric by creating compelling content and descriptions, change your format, or craft a call out box with a link and a simple call to action.
    • The conversion rate is vitally important as it measures the effectiveness of an email campaign through sales or desired responses. To improve this metric frame, write a compelling message and provide the audience with reason to act, optimize the landing page by minimising distractions such as navigation bars and multiple links.

Make sure you reap the benefits of all your email marketing efforts without any drawbacks by abandoning these bad habits today. For even better results on your next send out, do incorporate these HTML email design tips for best practices.