5th January 2017

10 email marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

Email marketing can feel daunting if marketing isn’t what you do for a living. How often should you send out marketing emails? What subject lines will get the best open rates? How can you get your mailing list subscribers to take action? These are all common questions.

There are also common email marketing mistakes that we’ve seen time and again. To help you avoid them, we’ve put together our top ten list with some possible solutions:

1. The wrong subject line

The biggest challenge you potentially face when sending out an email marketing campaign is getting people to open it. Get the subject line right and your open rates will soar, but get it wrong and your campaign could be dead in the water.

The most common subject line mistakes include:

  • Forgetting to add a subject line – People have no idea what you’re mailing about so they ignore your email.
  • Using a test subject line – Before you send out an email to your list, you may decide to send test versions to yourself but, if you forget to change the subject line when you send the email to your list, people may decide you’ve sent it by mistake.
  • Your subject line contains a typo – It may sound like a small thing but a typo in your subject line can convey negative messages about your attention to detail and professionalism; it’s definitely worth proofreading your subject line (and the email itself) before you hit send.
  • Overhyping your subject line – We’ve all seen the click-bait style headlines on social media – These 7 weird tricks for clickbait titles will change your life – only to click through and realise that the content is far from life-changing, shocking or anything else that’s promised. Although clickbait titles may work initially, they can also impact on the extent to which people trust your brand, so be wary about overhyping what people will find in your emails. A better rule of thumb is to under promise and over deliver.

In a recent study into the best subject lines, Mailchimp found that people prefer short and descriptive subject lines – 50 characters or fewer – that give them a reason to click open. The best thing is to carefully monitor your campaign open rates and experiment with subject titles using A/B split testing to see what sorts of titles most appeal to your customers.

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2. Not targeted to the recipient

Another common mistake is when businesses send an email campaign to everyone on their mailing list rather than to a specially targeted segment. You may have people on your mailing list who aren’t patients yet and others who have been patients for years. Some of your subscribers may only be interested in your dental treatments, while others have come to you for facial aesthetics.

To give your email campaigns a greater chance of success, we recommend segmenting your list into different target groups then sending out a marketing email that speaks directly to the individuals within each segment.

3. Personalisation mistakes

Most people understand that when they receive an email that includes their name, it has been automated using email marketing software or code. Even so, it can be jarring to receive an email that says ‘Hello *¦FULLNAME¦*’ and drives home the reminder that personalisation is just an illusion.

This is a shame as stats would suggest that personalised emails – especially if they include the recipient’s name in the subject line – have higher open and conversion rates.

If you do use personalisation elements in your email campaigns, send yourself a test email to check that everything is working as it should.

4. Ignoring the pre-header

The pre-header is the short line of copy that sits above the main header of a marketing email. It often says something dry and generic like, “Having trouble viewing this email? Click here’.

What many businesses forget is that if people have the ‘Message preview’ feature in their inbox switched on, the pre-header is displayed below the subject line before they even open the email. By changing the pre-header message to something informative or that reflects the personality of your brand, you can use it to enhance your open rates.

5. Sent from ‘noreply’

Just because it’s common practice to send email marketing campaigns from a ‘noreply’ address, doesn’t mean it is best practice. In fact, using a ‘noreply’ address can send the message that you’re not interesting in engaging with your mailing list beyond what you have to say to them.

If you currently send your emails from ‘noreply@yourdomain.com’ try changing the address to your name or even ‘contact@yourdomain.com’ and invite people to give you feedback. It’s a subtle way of showing that you value what your clients have to say.

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6. Lacking in value for the reader

Speaking of value, another common email marketing mistake is to focus on the product or service you want to see rather than providing value to the reader. The majority of people don’t want to face a hard sell every time they open an email. We each sign up to mailing lists when we feel we have something to gain from doing so. Therefore, we would recommend that at least 80% of your emails focus on building a client relationship rather than securing a sale as, ultimately, the former should lead to the latter.

Your aim should be to add value, to be helpful and to reach out, even if the recipient never goes on to buy from you. This will engender a sense of goodwill and help set the recipient up as an ambassador for your clinic.

7. Lacks personality

When sending out marketing emails, you naturally want to sound professional. We understand how important this is to people in the dental and facial aesthetics industries where your reputation is crucial. However, when people receive an email, they want to feel that it comes to them as an individual from an individual and that they share common ground with the sender. People want to experience the personality of your clinic brand.

It’s possible to give your emails personality and warmth whilst maintaining your professionalism. Don’t be afraid of showing your team at work or talking about your passion for new techniques – whatever you feel contributes to the ethos of your clinic.

8. No call to action or too many

A call to action is what lets your email recipients know what you would like them to do once they finish reading your email. Do you want them to click through to your website? Sign up to a new service? Send in their comments?

Always give your email campaigns a clear call to action. We recommend a single call to action per email rather than bombarding people with lots of different actions that they can take. This call to action should reflect your reason for sending the email in the first place.

9. Too many emails or not enough

It’s easy to underestimate or, equally, to overestimate how many emails people want to receive from your clinic. The ideal number tends to depend on what content you’re sending out and who your target audience are. If you’re sending out great value in the form of advice-based articles, then your list may want to hear from you every week. If you don’t have a huge amount of new content to share, once a month may be enough.

A study by Campaign Monitor suggests that, for most businesses, the sweet spot is one email every two weeks to maintain interest and stop unsubscribe rates escalating.

10. Broken links or no links at all

Finally, before you send out an email, take a moment to check that any links in the email work and take people to the right landing page. It’s important to include links to your website or a dedicated page on it rather than featuring no links at all.

Mistakes happen

Ultimately, email marketing mistakes do happen from time to time. If you realise that you’ve sent out a campaign with a broken link or an obvious typo, most customers will appreciate a quick follow-up email to rectify the mistake. It’s often enough to say, “Oops. We had a hiccup. Here’s the correct link” or something along those lines.

The key is to show your clients that they matter and that you care about the content you send out.

Need help with your email marketing? Give us a call at Cosmetic Digital on 0115 9140 640 to start a conversation.

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