Businesses depend on email as the glue that pulls marketing tactics together, yet many otherwise-savvy marketers misuse email in a way that ultimately alienates customers.

Here are six common blunders.

1. Batch-and-Blast

Years ago, one-size-fits-all communications worked fine, and you might well have created one email for everyone and sent it once a week. Though it still happens, it's no longer the norm now that merchants can take advantage of more sophisticated customer intelligence.

If you're still sending a single message to all your customers, regardless of their behavior or history with your company, think about the impression you're making with customers who also have relationships with merchants that more fully understand their needs and desires.

Customers who sense you don't care will delete, ignore, or unsubscribe, so focus on sending the right email at the right time for the right reason.

2. Inadequate Segmentation

Giving up batch-and-blast is only a start. You can use data to group contacts into simple segments based on factors such as age, gender, and geography, but advanced segments enable even more compelling communications.

Imagine the return on a message custom-tailored to an audience not only by demographics but also by behaviors. For example, if you sold a great-value product range suited to young adults, you could build a segment targeting everyone in your list age 16-23 who'd looked at this product category on your site within the previous two weeks.

Segmentation is crucial to relevancy, and in email marketing relevancy equals results.

3. Generic Content

What's the point of segmenting if you don't also personalize? I've received an email addressed to "Dear Human." I can assure you that the impersonal approach doesn't work. So make your email more personal with a humorous, localized, or emotional approach, or by creating a special discount.

Personalization works. Currency specialist FairFX realized a 300% additional turnover in eight months by taking a more personal approach to its email marketing. And dorm décor brand Dormify has grown its business with a hyper-savvy young adult audience by sending attention-grabbing emails that may feature a Snapchat sensation's catchphrase to a riff or a popular Internet meme.

By pulling in demographic and behavioral data, along with your customers' interests, you can deliver compelling and relevant information in a way that stands out.

4. Irrelevant Timing

When your email timing never relates to customer behavior, you run the risk of communications that feel less like a conversation and more like a monologue.

You want to come as close as you can to replicating the benefits of an in-person experience: Has your customer clicked something? Bought something? Is it their birthday? Has it been a while since the last purchase? Triggered emails based on this type of information can make your timing more relevant.

A simple Welcome Program can make a big difference. Skincare brand ELEMIS established an automated welcome program for Black Friday that delivered a nearly 50% higher conversion rate than its program from the previous year. And Dormify has used triggered emails to generate 28% of total email revenue, increasing total email revenue 92% and nearly doubling its website conversions in one year.

5. Failure to Fine-Tune

If you're like many email marketers, you probably spend 80% of your time creating your campaigns, so it's easy to think that monitoring and measuring take up too much additional time. Only 29% of marketers look at ROI metrics to evaluate email effectiveness, according to the DMA (UK), and one in five (21%) have limited to no skills in email testing.

But without measuring and monitoring, you'll fail to understand what's best for your customer, and you'll fall behind your competitors.

Test different variables within your campaigns, such as subject lines, friendly "From" names, content, and even your email "From" address. Track measurements, including the number of emails sent, deliverability rate, number of emails opened, number of recipients who clicked through, number of unsubscribes, conversions, and ROI. Then go beyond campaign-by-campaign analysis to look at larger trends that can help you understand what is and isn't going well.

Identify the customer journey prompted by your email campaigns so that you can make strategic decisions that show customers you understand what they want.

6. Simple Slipups

Little things can add up over time to annoy your customers. Pay attention to your subject line: 63% of people will delete or ignore an email after reading the subject line, according to the DMA. Again, choose a friendly "From" or sender name so that your subscriber doesn't dismiss your email as spam. Remember to make you call to action (CTA) clear so your customers don't have to guess what you want from them, and use a visually striking CTA button. And be sure to set aside time to catch typos.

If you do make a mistake, don't panic. Understand what's happened, and then look at damage limitation.

* * *

Attention to the details outlined above can pay off. Email the right message to the right people, and you'll engage and delight your customers while driving more opens, clicks, and sales.

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Six Email Habits That Are Alienating Your Customers

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image of Tink Taylor

Tink Taylor is founder and president of dotmailer, an email marketing automation platform that enables companies to use transactional, behavioral, and social data to design, test, and send automated campaigns.

LinkedIn: Tink Taylor