3 Simple Mistakes You’re Making with Your Email Marketing and How to Solve Them for Easy Wins

By Maria Peagler

Apr 01
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This is one in a three-part series on email marketing. You can find each post in the series here:

Part I: How to Combine Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing
Part II: Email Marketing Solutions for Small Business
Part III: 3 Mistakes You’re Making with Email Marketing

email wins thumbnailWelcome to Part III of my Email Marketing Mini-Course.  Part I focused on simple how-to’s you could put to work immediately to get started with an email marketing provider.  Part II explained the most popular email marketing tools, their advantages and disadvantages, and gave you action items to get started.

In Part III, we’ll look at the most common mistakes business owners make with email marketing and how you can avoid those for easy wins to your marketing campaign.

Mistake #1:  Still Using Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail as Your Email Marketing Tool

I’m dumbfounded at how many business professionals are still using their personal email providers to connect with potential clients en masse.  Not using an email marketing tool specifically designed to reach Inboxes makes you look unprofessional and is a huge time-waster.  Here’s why:

Email marketing providers like MailChimp and Constant Contact are trusted by major email programs like Gmail, Yahoo, and Earthlink, so your emails have a much higher deliverability rate.  Meaning, if you’re still using Gmail to send out a an email to a group, your message is probably in everyone’s SPAM folders.

But, you don’t know that, do you?  Because regular email doesn’t provide you with any statistics on who your email reaches, whether they opened it, if they clicked on anything in the email, or if they visited your website.  By using an email marketing tool, you get all those stats and more.  You can evaluate each email you send, how effective it is, adapt and improve future emails based on the data you’re getting.

Otherwise, you might as well be throwing darts at a board.

Solution #1

If you haven’t yet, sign up for a free trial of an email marketing tool.  Read Part II of this mini-course to review different email providers and select the one that will be easiest for you to start with.

Mistake #2:  Crafting Emails Too Dependent on Images to Convey Your Message

It’s tempting to use those fancy email templates that come with your email marketing tool:  they reflect the seasons, can do coupons, and make you look uber-professional.  Only problem?  Most email programs automatically turn images off, so less than half of your audience even sees those fancy graphics.  Here’s the template I used a couple of years ago:  sure it looks nice, if you have images turned on:

email template

Here’s a perfect example of an email that relies too heavily on graphics from Overstock.com. They’ve made the entire email message contingent on seeing the images, so it makes no sense without them.

email images turned off

What about your primary call-to-action (CTA)?  If you’re asking people to click through to your blog using a graphic button no one can see, you won’t get any responses.

Solution #2

Use a plain template for your marketing emails.  Feel free to include images, but don’t make them crucial to the email so that you can’t understand the content without them.  Here’s an example of my emails now: this is what the message looks like with images turned off..  I make sure you can’t miss my CTA:  I add it as a big graphic button, but if you can’t see it, I also have it in large colored text.

email images off

Here’s the same email, but with images turned on.  You can see my logo, a thumbnail image of my topic, my CTA button, and my photo at the bottom.  But you none of them are necessary to understand my message or act on it:

images on

Bonus Tip:  Make your font large in your marketing emails.  Over 40% of email is now read on a mobile device, and large type will make the email easier to read on a Lilliputian screen.

Mistake #3:  Including Too Many Ideas in a Single Message

It’s tempting to catch everyone up on what you’ve been doing, special offers, tips, and your favorite chili recipe, but resist jam-packing your message with too much.  Here’s that same message from #2, and look how many different topics it contains:

email template

I’m bombarding my readers with too much, and confused buyers don’t purchase.  My new emails focus on only one topic, and offer only one action readers can take:  click on the link or the button:

images on

Does it work?  Absolutely!  I’ve increased my click-through-rate (CTR) by over 400% by simplifying my emails to include only one main idea.  My readers respect the fact that I get to the point quickly and make it easy for them to learn more.

Solution #3

Keep your marketing emails short and focused on one goal.  Give readers only one action to take in the email, and you’ll see higher CTRs.

What has been your best takeaway from this mini-course on email marketing?  Let me know in the comments!

See Part I of this series here.

See Part II of this series here.

This is one in a three-part series on email marketing. You can find each post in the series here:

Part I: How to Combine Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing
Part II: Email Marketing Solutions for Small Business
Part III: 3 Mistakes You’re Making with Email Marketing



About the Author

Founder of Socialmediaonlineclasses.com, Benjamin Franklin award-winner for independent publishing, award winning author of eight books, wife, mom, quilter and watercolor artist.

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