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Here are 10 email marketing mistakes to be avoided at all costs.

It’s a tough time to be in email marketing. Spam filters are now smarter and more aggressive than ever. Recipients can spot an unwanted email a mile away. The CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR threaten spammers and noncompliant marketers with hefty fines for misuse of mass emailing. Despite all this, email marketing remains an extremely effective marketing strategy.

To make the most out of every email marketing campaign, you should avoid making these 10 email marketing mistakes:

  1. Talking too Much
  2. Talking too Little
  3. Being Overly Promotional
  4. Skipping the Testing
  5. Forgetting the CTA
  6. Underdesigning
  7. Overdesigning
  8. Treating All Contacts the Same
  9. Sending Without Permission
  10. Being Boring

In this article, we’ll discuss how to email market without coming across as spammy, overly promotional, or just plain boring.

1 – Don’t Talk too Much

Have you ever regretted signing up for a mailing list within the first few days? What about the single purchase you made that earned you a volley of promotional emails? Did your inbox become clogged with incessant communications? Did you have no other choice but to unsubscribe to preserve your sanity? Remember that the next time you’re building out an email marketing campaign. Even the most entertaining and educational emails from the most well-liked brand on earth would get tiresome if they never stopped coming. Every time someone receives one of your emails, there’s a chance they’ll unsubscribe. Minimize your risk of subscriber loss by limiting your communications to what’s most important, relevant, and necessary.

2 – Don’t Talk too Little

Your subscribers signed up for a reason—don’t leave them hanging! The world of digital marketing moves fast…if you don’t talk to your subscribers, someone else will. While you don’t want to overshare (see above), you do want to stay at top of mind. Commit to sending out regular, scheduled communications. These don’t have to be strictly promotional—a monthly newsletter is a great way to connect with subscribers and let them know you’re still there.

3 – Avoid Being Overly Promotional

Hey, did you know that the Miva eCommerce platform offers all the functional possibilities of an open-source eCommerce site with the stability and reliability of a SaaS platform?

What’s that? You don’t care because you’re here to read about mistakes in email marketing? That’s precisely why subscribers don’t like overly promotional emails. While some of them may have handed over their email knowing full well that they were going to be marketed to, many were probably automatically enrolled in your list upon making a purchase and should be given a good reason to remain subscribed. Whether it’s education, entertainment, or information, make sure you’re giving them valuable, interesting content…even in promotional emails.

4 – Never Skip the Testing

Maybe it’s because the word “test” evokes sweaty palms and high school flashbacks that so many marketers fail to run them as often as they should. This is a shame, because testing is one of the most effective ways to determine what your subscribers like to see. Whether it’s a simple A/B subject line test or a more comprehensive look at the performance of various email designs and formats, there’s a lot you can learn about your audience with just a few tests.

5 – Remember to Give Readers Something to Do

Even if your goal isn’t to get clicks and reader interaction, it’s always best to give your recipients something to do. While most of your emails probably already contain a clear call-to-action, those that aren’t necessarily promotional should still present a course of action for recipients to take. Think of email as a conversation between you and your subscribers. Make sure they have the opportunity to explore further, investigate your claims, or share their thoughts. No matter what kind of email you’re sending, never forget to include some kind of call-to-action. Without it, you place unnecessary limitations on subscriber interaction, cheating both your brand and your recipients out of further engagement.

6 – Don’t Underdesign

It’s perfectly acceptable to send out a plain text email when tests indicate that it’s what your recipients like to see. What’s unacceptable is sending out something that’s sloppy or unprofessional. An experienced graphic designer or professionally-assembled email template can go a long way toward making your emails more presentable and engaging.

Email marketing mistakes and using design wisely
Use design wisely. Finding a good middle ground between underdesign and overdesign is key.

7 – Don’t Overdesign

If you’re lucky, your readers will spend an average of 11.1 seconds reading your email before they decide to take action. They don’t have the time or attention to uncover your message amidst a pile of flashy design elements. Design should be secondary and supportive to your main message—anything more could pose a distraction.

8 – Don’t Treat All Contacts the Same

Most email lists contain more than a few different buyer personas and individuals at different stages of the marketing funnel. Each of these groups requires something a little different to prompt engagement, so sending the same email to everyone isn’t going to cut it. That’s where segmentation comes in handy. Dividing your subscriber list into smaller groups based on the unique needs of each allows you to send customized communications with far more relevance than a universal “one-size-fits-all” email.

9 – Never Send Without Permission

This one is pretty simple. Never, ever send an email to anyone that has not agreed to receive your communications. Doing so could end up costing you millions. Not sure if you have permission to email someone? Treat your email list like your refrigerator…when in doubt, throw it out!

10 – Don’t Be Boring

In the approximately 11 seconds recipients will spend reading your email, it must:

  1. Catch their attention
  2. Communicate your message
  3. Convince them to take an action

Whether you’re promoting the most hotly-anticipated album of the year or letting your customers know that your privacy policy has been updated (again), you need to make an impact—fast. Personalize your salutation to draw their attention, get creative with your subject lines, and get straight to the point.

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