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5 Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Thu, 12/05/2022

A well-written marketing email can make the difference between a campaign that flies or dies. Response rates are driven up by engaging copy, good ideas and a smart headline.

But when business people receive so many emails and filter out anything that looks remotely spammy at a single glance, how can your marketing email avoid the deleted items box before it has been properly read?

Here are some common mistakes landing in my inbox.

Hi Friend - Personalise, Personalise, Personalise.

It is worth taking the time to personalise your email. If your marketing email list data is incomplete and you have only an email address without a named contact, Hi is acceptable.

Dear Info is best avoided (the emailer didn't buy contact names so they used the first word of the email address).

When you don’t have a name to address and only have an info@ type email (known as generic email), consider leaving out the salutation. Try FAO The Stationery Buyer or the likely job title of your target and start your email pitch from there. You can hope that a kind person in the company sifting through the emails sent to the info@ inbox forwards your email to the relevant person. If you are targeting micro-businesses with under ten employees where everyone knows everyone, this can work. If you are emailing large businesses, you should buy an email list of named contacts and personalise the email.

Blatant Lying

It is hard to think of an opening line for your marketing email but kicking off with a breezy “we spoke last year and . . .” when you absolutely have never spoken before is out. Some executives speak to hundreds of people and freely admit that they can’t remember all of them. Most don’t. In the current climate, where business people have spent two years working from home, more people are likely to remember who they’ve spoken to. A blatant lie (usually born of desperation in trying to come up with an opening line) is a bad idea. It makes your company look shifty and untrustworthy.

Shock Value - Stand Out For The Right Reasons

Trying to make your marketing email stand out by writing something that does not belong in a business inbox, such as swearing is an absolute no. And only the mildest of jokes should be tested before being rolled out to your main email list. I assume these tactics come from a desire to “try something new”. Jokes, swearing and over-familiarity are to be avoided. For example, this week's inbox offers an email sent to me and my co-director which begins "Hi Both". Is the sender trying to fool us into thinking that we know him?

The Call To Action

When your potential client has read your marketing email, what do you want them to do next? Is the objective for them to call you? To click through to your website to read more? To fill out an online enquiry form? To reply to the email? You have to signpost the next step in the buying process. Tell the subject what to do next. Make it obvious. And make it easy for them to do it.

The Too Casual Sign Off

I had an email from a would-be supplier who signed off as Daisy xx. Extreme example, but every spammer offering dubious SEO services signs off with just a name (very often they use Steve). European GDPR rules say that marketing emails must identify the sender. That means your full name, company name, corporate address, corporate phone number, website address, email address. Use your sign off to cement the central idea of your email and add a strap line at the end. Mine is

Electric Marketing provides diligently researched lists and marketing information.

It is likely that you are not falling on any of these hurdles but you may feel you need to polish up your email marketing skills. For more help with with putting together a good marketing email, see Electric Marketing’s How To Write A Marketing Email.