Email is a powerful tool for marketing. But just like any other tool, it can be used poorly. At Mail Blaze, we have come across our fair share of email marketing campaigns that didn't meet expectations. Here are the top five pitfalls email marketers keep stumbling into.

1. Lack of focus

You can do such a lot with email marketing. You can contact new leads, inform existing clients of new products, develop relationships by providing quality content, promote a sale or limited-time offer, or invite subscribers to an event.

You shouldn't do all of that with one email.

Whether you're considering your overall goals for a campaign, or your specific aims for an individual issue of a newsletter, you need to have a clear purpose in mind. Sending your subscribers mammoth emails packed with six or seven calls to action is most likely to overwhelm and confuse them.

For each campaign, decide what you want to achieve and then create an email around that goal. Trying to do too many things with one email only serves to muddy the waters.

2. Boring content

Your subscribers want to receive emails that provide value for the time and attention they take up. If you repeatedly send boring, irrelevant emails, your subscribers will stop opening them. A subscriber is only valuable if they open your emails. Make sure that your email content is relevant to your subscribers.

What counts as relevant content will of course vary according to the nature of your business and your business' relationship with your clients. A new product release or promotion will pretty much always be relevant to your subscribers. It can also be valuable to keep your subscribers updated with developments in your industry or interest that could affect their relationship with your company.

It can be useful to ask your subscribers what they think of your content every six to twelve months. This will allow you to make informed adjustments to your content, rather than trying to guess what they want based on open or click-through rates.

3. Relying too heavily on images

Many email clients do not download images by default. This means that many of your subscribers might not see your email as you intended.

If your email doesn't make any sense without images, it will not be as successful in conveying your message. Make sure that your copy and calls to action are readable and impactful without the associated images.

Many spam filters will consider emails that exceed a certain ratio of plain text to images to be spam. If you send especially image-heavy emails, or emails with the text contained in images, you run a greater risk of having your emails being flagged as spam.

This is not to say that you shouldn't use images to reinforce your campaign's message. Rather, you should not rely on them to carry the message. Think of images in emails as garnish on a sandwich. No matter how high quality the garnish is, it's better to have a little than a lot. Nobody gets a BLT for the lettuce.

4. Bland subject lines

Your email's subject line is the first thing your subscriber sees. The quality of your subject line can determine whether your email is read immediately or left to languish in the inbox.

The key to a good subject line is to arouse curiosity in your subscriber. It needs to suggest that reading the email is a worthwhile way of spending three minutes.

It is important not to overhype your email. You may be tempted to throw around terms like 'life-changing' or 'revolutionary' in order to catch your subscriber's eye. If your content is unable to live up to the expectations generated by the subject line, you can find yourself losing your subscribers' trust.

Subject lines should also be short – no more than about half a tweet in length. Many email clients (especially mobile clients) cut off subject lines after 30 to 50 characters. You are also competing for your subscriber's attention with all the other emails in their inbox. The quicker they can grasp the subject line, the better.

5. Not considering mobile

Current estimates suggest that more than 50% of email is viewed on mobile devices. This proportion is unlikely to decrease in the foreseeable future as smartphones and tablets seem set to maintain or increase their share of the communications market.

Ensuring that your email renders correctly on mobile devices will help you to retain the approximately 50% of your subscribers who read their email on their phones or tablets. If your email is difficult or impossible to read due to broken formatting, your subscribers are more likely to delete it immediately than to remember to check it again later on their computers.

Well there you have it! We hope that you are now on your way to crafting more successful email campaigns.


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