Emailing at irregular intervals
A very common mistake email marketers do is sending out emails whenever they feel like it instead of at fixed intervals.
Or they start out sending regularly and then lose their focus.
One of the secrets to building a responsive list is “training” subscribers that emails will appear in their inbox regularly.
If they contain good information people will even start looking forward to getting them.
What usually happens is the marketer lets a few weeks pass without mailing.
Maybe even months.
Then all of a sudden, out of the blue, they remember they’ve been neglecting their list and scramble to send something out.
At this point, it may already be too late as subscribers have forgotten who the marketer is and why they signed up in the first place.
Open rates will likely be lower than usual and many will unsubscribe.
It is definitely possible to “re-train” subscribers to expect your emails after a period of absence, but you better be prepared to offer exceptional value to get them interested again.
This advice doesn’t just apply to email marketers either, it’s the same for everyone, whether it’s an e-commerce store with a newsletter or a blogger sending out updates on what’s new.
Thinking you’re the only person in their inbox
People are busy and they get a TON of email every day.
Most of us get dozens of important messages and at least as many unimportant ones on a daily basis.
It’s a lot to sift through, and your email efforts need to take this into account.
For example, if you were to write about something in an email one week, and then expect people to remember it two weeks later, you’ll be disappointed.
In that time they’ve received hundreds, if not thousands, of emails from other people.
What you wrote a few weeks ago will be long gone from their mind, unless it was something truly exceptional.
This issue is why it’s always a good idea to remind people about things, even if you think they would remember.
Reminding them who you are, what your list is about and why they signed up in the first place are all good techniques to use at different times.
Not adding value
We’ve all signed up to email lists at one point or another that just kept bombarding us with promotional messages day after day (sometimes even more than once per day).
Everyone hates this, so why are marketers doing it?
Because the fact is that before a subscriber catches on and unsubscribes, chances are at least one of the promotional messages caught their interest and caused them to take action and convert.
That’s a success in the marketer’s book.
It’s a shortsighted strategy though, and as the “burn-rate” is high these marketers will have to add new subscribers continually just to keep their list from shrinking.
A much better strategy is to strive to provide something of value as often as possible and not just see subscribers as dollars waiting to be extracted.
The more value you can provide, the more they’ll look forward to your emails and the better your results will be.
You’ll also enjoy the benefits of a list that has a low burn-rate and will likely stay profitable for a long time.
Making it difficult or impossible to unsubscribe
Many rookie marketers make this mistake of thinking that making it difficult to unsubscribe will keep more people on the list and lead to higher profits.
That’s why you’ll sometimes see emails with 20 or more line breaks before the unsubscribe link at the bottom – they don’t want you to see it.
This is just bad practice and is damaging the reputation of email marketing.
People who want to unsubscribe will find the link regardless, and if they can’t find it they will likely spam-flag every single email from this person.
It is an annoyance they will remember, and rest assured they will never take this marketer seriously again.
In fact, doing the complete opposite of this is the recommended practice.
Make unsubscribing as easy as possible.
Why should you force information on people who don’t want it?
They would likely never read your emails anyway, even if they stayed subscribed.
Not being mobile-friendly
Many people prefer checking their email on their phone or tablet, meaning you need to make sure what you send out looks good on every type of device.
Fortunately, most of the popular email marketing services make this easy enough, but it still needs a conscious effort (unless you’re sending pure text messages, those should look good regardless of device and client).
Heavy formatting is usually a problem, not only on mobile devices but on different clients too.
Using lots of tables and advanced CSS may cause messages to be completely unreadable for some people, so try to avoid it if possible.
Not taking advantage of stats and reports
Every respectable email marketing service offers a range of tools to see detailed statistics about the emails you’ve sent out.
Use these tools to your advantage!
You can usually gather a ton of interesting data from them, providing you have enough subscribers to make the information statistically significant.
For example, you can see on which days of the week your emails get the best response, or if there are any types of emails people seem to dislike and you should avoid completely (high unsubscribe rates, low open rates).