9 Rookie Mistakes in Email Marketing (and How to Avoid Them!)

The functionality of email service providers (ESPs) grows and changes every day.

It’s hard to know where to start when you’re new to email marketing and unfamiliar with all the capabilities and tools your ESP has to offer. Mistakes are easy to make if you’re learning by trial and error, and we want to see your email marketing strategy succeed!

Here are 9 rookie mistakes we see a lot. If you’re making some of them, don’t worry — we had to learn too!

Shed your rookie status and never make these mistakes again.

1. Not sending an email immediately after someone signs up for your email list

We’ve emphasized this a lot on our blog: about 74% of people expect a welcome email after subscribing to an email list. Prospects are often skeptical about your brand or forget about you when they don’t immediately get an email after they sign up for your list.

This is an easy fix. You can automate a series of emails so new subscribers immediately receive a warm welcome. Not sure what content to include in these emails? We’ve got you covered. Read our blog on creating a welcome email series here.

2. Sending emails at inappropriate times

No one wants to receive an email at 2:46 AM — unless they’ve signed up for your email list at 2:46 AM! Schedule emails to send at appropriate times of the day and avoid irritating your email subscribers.

When you automate emails, most ESPs let you designate when to send an email in the subscriber’s time zone. Make sure you’ve added that information to your email automations. And if your ESP doesn’t have this specific capability, you can add filters to your automations to not send during certain times of the day. Then you’ll have peace of mind you’re not waking subscribers up at 1:57 AM with an email notification!

You should also make note of what time of day your email subs are most likely to open your emails. Taking note of analytics provided by your ESP will give you insight on the best time to send emails to take your open rates to the next level.

3. Sending emails inconsistently

Have you promised subscribers regular content in their inboxes? Are you following through on it? A common mistake for business owners getting into email marketing is to overpromise and underdeliver on their emails. That’s because they underestimate the time and energy a consistent email marketing strategy requires.

Sending fewer consistent emails with valuable content for subscribers is always better than overpromising and underdelivering. Remember, integrity goes a long way.

4. Sending too many or too few emails

“How many emails should I send?”

We get this question a lot. But there’s no absolute answer. Every business is different and should base this number on your target audience.

We really like this advice from Joel Klettke from Business Casual Copywriting:

The worst email marketing mistake I’ve made was approaching it as a numbers game (“How often should we email? How many emails in the series?”) from the outset instead of thinking through:

    1. Our goals

    2. Our audience’s awareness level/point of need

    3. The purpose of every email in helping bring them to a point of meeting that need

When planning your next emails, start with this process. The number of emails you should send will naturally come out of it.

5. Putting unnecessary limits on the content of your emails

The sky’s not the limit when it comes to your email marketing strategy — you want to provide content relevant to your brand. But you might make the opposite mistake of thinking too narrowly when brainstorming content for your emails.

E-commerce business owners, for example, might think of email marketing only in terms of announcing discounts or generating sales. But your goals for email marketing should also include building brand awareness and loyalty, nurturing trust, and providing value to current and future customers.

Are you putting unnecessary limits on your content? Start thinking outside the box!

6. Designing mobile-unfriendly emails

Most of your subscribers are reading your emails on their mobile devices. They’re easily frustrated when your emails aren’t mobile friendly.

Mobile optimization is the process of adjusting your email content so it fits nicely on a screen of any size. The copy in your emails can be hard to read if it’s not responsive to different mobile devices.

When designing your emails, many ESPs have the ability to switch between a desktop and mobile view. You should also send test emails and look at them on different devices to ensure you’re providing a positive experience for subscribers!

7. Being inconsistent with your brand’s voice

Consistency in your brand’s voice is a cinch when one person makes up your marketing team. But that consistency can decline if you have multiple people working on your email content.

Avoid this mistake by making sure everyone on your team is familiar with your brand voice. If you’ve not nailed down your brand’s message and voice, we wrote a step-by-step guide to consistent branding here!

8. Not including a clear call to action

Forgetting a call to action (CTA) or making it unclear is a common rookie mistake in email marketing. All of your digital marketing content (including your emails!) should include a CTA.

“What action do I want subscribers to take after reading this email?”

Ask yourself this question before creating an email. Then use the messaging, images, and design to that end. Make your CTA clear and repeat it several times. Use phrases like “Buy Now” for a product or “Listen Now” for a podcast to provoke urgency and curiosity and encourage action.

9. Putting off steps to increase your email deliverability

Newbies to email marketing aren’t always aware of steps you can take to prevent your emails from bouncing or landing in someone’s spam folder.  “List cleaning” segmenting and deleting unengaged subscribers is an important first step.

Another way to clean up your email list and increase deliverability is to create a “re-engagement email series.” A re-engagement email series is like a gentle poke you send to subscribers, reminding them to open your emails again. This email series not only helps you clean your list but also encourages subscribers to re-engage with your brand! We wrote a whole blog post here on creating and automating a re-engagement email series to get you started.

We know there’s a steep learning curve when you’re entering the world of email marketing. We hope these tips help you avoid some rookie mistakes. If you’re still unsure about what steps to take next in your email marketing strategy, we can help. Our team creates consistent, valuable email content for businesses across multiple industries. Schedule a call today, and let’s talk about how we can take email marketing off your plate so you can pursue your passion.

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