6 Bad Habits Hurting Your Email Marketing Program

bad email marketing habitsEmail marketing might not be the newest or flashiest marketing channel—but it’s one of the most effective at generating revenue and engaging your customers. The statistics speak for themselves:

  • Email marketing has an ROI of 4400%, or $44 for every $1 spent (source).
  • Email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences (source).
  • 59% of B2B marketers say email is the most effective channel for revenue generation (source).

But, here’s the thing about more traditional channels like email marketing—it’s easy to adopt bad habits or outdated practices.

Today, we explore some of those bad email marketing habits and the different ways you can fix them. Keep reading!

1. You rely on minimal or outdated segmentation.

All modern email marketers should know the importance of list segmentation. And yet, many continue to send emails to poorly segmented lists or, even worse, a list that isn’t segmented at all.

We get it—you want your emails to reach as many eyes as possible. But, failing to segment your lists will do your campaigns more harm than good. You’ll irritate your subscribers and open rates will continue to decline. By breaking up your list into smaller, more targeted lists, you can personalize your email campaigns to fit the needs and characteristics of specific groups within your greater base of subscribers.

Need proof that segmentation works? Consider this—marketers note a 760% increase in revenue after segmenting their campaigns (source).

If you’d like to learn more, we’ve got an entire post dedicated to email list segmentation: List Segmentation: The Key to Email Marketing

2. You hide your call-to-action.

Every email has a purpose—or more specifically, an action you want each recipient to take. Depending on your campaign, that action might be to visit a landing page, register for a webinar, sign up for a free trial, or download a piece of content.

Regardless of your final objective, your call-to-action (CTA) is the most important part of your email. It’s how you tell the recipient what you want them to do and how to do it. Unfortunately, marketers underestimate the power of their CTA and use vague language,  bland formatting, or surround it with distracting images and text.

Here are a few quick tips to improve your CTA’s today.

Use a CTA button: Making your CTA look like a clickable button can boost clicks by 45% (source). This method shows the recipient that the CTA is something they should interact with.

Make the CTA a different color: Help your CTA stand out by using a different color than the rest of your email.

Use clear, actionable language: Your CTA should be urgent and specific. Avoid vague phrases like “Click here!” in favor of more actionable copy, such as “Download your free eBook Today!”

3. You don’t pay attention to email list hygiene.

As an email marketer, it’s important to get your emails in front of a large audience or list. But, are you so focused on building your list that you don’t take the proper steps to keep your marketing data clean? If so, you might be compromising your entire email marketing strategy.

Emailing outdated or invalid contacts has a number of consequences—spam complaints, high bounce rates, and low open rates to name a few. When it comes to your email list, quality trumps quantity—so make sure that you have a process in place to maintain ongoing email list hygiene.

We’ve already covered email hygiene in depth, so we’ll move on. But if you’re interested in learning more, you can check out our guide to email hygiene here: The Real Value of Email Hygiene: A Marketer’s Guide.

4. Your emails read like a bad sales pitch.

Email is a valuable promotional tool for sending targeted messages to your customers. Yet, marketers often fall into the trap of crafting salesy emails that offer no value beyond the product or promotion they’re pushing.

You might think that you’re grabbing their attention with subject lines like “Limited time offer!” and “You won’t believe this deal!”—when in reality, you’re annoying many of your recipients. Not to mention, gimmicky subject lines increase the likelihood of spam filters flagging your emails before they even reach your intended targets.

Your first priority must be to engage your subscribers with relevant and interesting information. Of course, we aren’t advocating that you stop sending promotional emails. Rather, strike a healthy balance between sales promotions and valuable content.

5. You don’t provide an easy way to unsubscribe.

It goes without saying—it hurts to lose subscribers from your email list. And, in an effort to keep subscribers, some email marketers choose to make the unsubscribe process extremely difficult. They hide the unsubscribe link in tiny font, force the recipient to complete several steps to unsubscribe—or even, send emails with no unsubscribe link at all.

You may think you’re helping to keep your list intact, but you’re doing your email marketing program more harm than good when you complicate the unsubscribe process. First of all, you’ll frustrate recipients, many of whom will resort to marking your emails as spam. Even more concerning, you can get into trouble with your internet service provider (ISPs) and damage your email reputation.

We recommend you make sure each of your emails provides a simple and clear method to unsubscribe—it’ll help your email strategy in the long run.

6. You don’t test often enough.

Before an email campaign ends, you’ve likely already planned and organized your next campaign. But, to optimize your emails for maximum conversions and engagement, you can’t forget to implement a comprehensive testing process.

While most email marketers understand testing is important, they often rush through the process and only test one variable, if anything. But, if you want each campaign to perform better than the last, you need to test a wide variety of variables, including subject lines, CTAs, copy, design, and more.

We’re not saying you should test a million variables at once, but each campaign should include some form of testing that you can track and analyze. The smallest or most trivial tweak to your emails can make a huge difference.

Final Thoughts on Bad Email Marketing Habits

Email marketers, like everyone else, can develop bad habits over time. Even if you don’t identify with any of the issues listed above, we urge you to assess your email marketing practices frequently. Identify any methods or habits that are outdated, inefficient, or detrimental to your success. Then, replace them with more modern, efficient best practices.

It’s not easy to get rid of bad habits, especially when they become ingrained in your day-to-day workflows. But, take the necessary steps to leave those habits in the past. It’s the only way to bring your email marketing strategy into the future.

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