STOP making the 5 most common email marketing mistakes

Email marketing remains an effective tool of communication to your customers. It is one of the noisiest marketing channels and should make up a percentage of your efforts. Like most channels, successful email marketing comes down to numbers. How many people open your email, how many click through and convert and the number of people unsubscribing compared with the volume of people subscribing.

It is key to remember that email is a nurturing tool, not just a broadcasting method. If you continually broadcast messages with no offer of value then your churn rate will quickly leap. Plan ahead and avoid these common mistakes to improve your email marketing.

  • Sending in bulk – segmenting your audiences helps improve open rates

  • No A/B Testing – Testing subject headings and copy is your key to success!

  • Avoiding unsubscribes – focus on churn rate!

  • Getting your timing wrong – timing is everything.

Sending in bulk

Segment, segment, segment. The smaller the list the better the results, for several reasons. The first is providing the most relevant content to the right audiences. This could be geographical location, age, education, previous buying habits and the list goes on. The second reason is that the larger the list the higher the chance it will be blocked by email gateways. MailChimp assessed data from their users indicated that segmented campaigns had open rates that were 14.37% higher, clicks were 64.78% higher, and had 8.98% lower unsubscribe rates than non-segmented campaigns.

Every business has multiple customer avatars, each one with its own set of problems that need solving. Think about this and how your emails could be better targeted to these personas.

No A/B testing

Testing is the fundamental component of any marketing strategy. A/B testing your subject lines and preheader text will impact your open rates. You could also benefit from A/B testing your email copy depending on the campaign being sent.

Most email campaign management tools include easy to use A/B testing within their campaign builders, if yours does not then I suggest changing to a new provider. We recommend Active Campaigns or Klaviyo which both also have outstanding automation and integration capabilities.

Avoiding unsubscribes

Unsubscribes are a natural part of the email marketing process and should not be feared. The trick to managing unsubscribes is focusing on churn rate rather than unsubscribe. Your churn rate is the true reflection of your database size as it takes into account the total size of your list.

In other words, divide your unsubscribed customers by the total number of customers in your list. If you have 10,000 in your list and 20 unsubscribes then your churn rate is 2%. Next month if you add an additional 200 people to your list and lose 20 then your churn rate has dropped to 1.6%. This will keep you focused on gaining new subscribers, if you keep dropping subscribers without adding more to your bucket that churn rate will get larger and larger.

In addition to generating more subscribers, there are plenty of tricks to decrease churn rate, here are some below.

  • Improve welcome emails
  • Provide incentives
  • Run re-engagement campaigns
  • Monitor content engagement and adjust copy
the best time to send an email

Wrong timing

Sending emails too frequently, not sending them frequently enough, sending them on busy days or the middle of the night. These are all mistakes we see frequently. The frequency of emails will be best determined by testing however we would recommend the sweet spot as weekly. More than this will tip you over the edge and less than this is simply not necessary. This will depend on the type of content and your ratio to sales vs promotions. 

Understand which times work for your customers and schedule campaigns accordingly. For example mums with school age kids tend to be online from 3pm to 3:30pm (waiting for school pickup) and after kids have gone to bed, between 7 and 9pm. While new parents tend to be online all hours of the night.

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