Despite the growth of digital tactics, such as social media and blogging, email marketing continues to rank as an indispensable channel for any successful content strategy.

In fact, studies show that 72% of consumers prefer email as the primary way to communicate with brands, and marketers report email delivers the highest ROI among marketing tactics.

But how can you make sure you're running an email marketing campaign effectively?

Unfortunately, many brands—even those managed by experienced marketers—are guilty of making these 13 common mistakes.

1. Lack of personalization

Fully 62% of North American consumers respond favorably to emails with personalized content, research shows; the numbers are even higher in Europe and Asia. By providing more detailed promotions and discounts, along with well-tailored recommendations that help subscribers discover new products, personalization can make a big difference in a company's sales.

Take the time to learn about the contacts on your email list. When they subscribe, ask for details, such as where they live, their age, job title, etc. Include polls in your emails and track which subscribers and what so you can deliver better-personalized content to them each time you send out an email.

2. Not taking time to segment lists

Marketers who segmented their lists achieve 39% higher open rates, 28% lower unsubscribe rates, 24% better deliverability, and greater revenue overall, according to studies. In addition, segmented campaigns receive nearly 15% more opens and 60% more clicks than nonsegmented campaigns.

So separate subscribers based on your target audience's variables that will best serve your business:

  • Geographic area
  • Basic demographics (e.g., gender, age, job title)
  • Email engagement (e.g., opens and clickthroughs)
  • Website behavior
  • Past purchases

3. Not using automated emails to your advantage

Although automation can save time and increase revenue, marketers tend to use automation at only a basic level (28%) or not at all (19%).

Depending on the industry and brand goals, you can set up automated emails to remind online shoppers about the items left in their abandoned carts, reach out to subscribers who haven't purchased recently, or even simply welcome email recipients who just joined your list.

Take the time to think through how your brand could best use email marketing automation to its greatest benefit, then follow through and set up your emails.

4. Forgetting to review analytics

How often do you review analytics and provide reports about opens, clickthroughs, etc.? Regardless of when you need to provide an update, look at the data after each email send. Review how many opens it received, which links were clicked on, whether it was forwarded to someone, etc.

Compare the results with previous distributions to look for trends. Which subject lines perform better? Is there a day of the week or time of day that leads to better results? What about the content itself—do certain topics or formats resonate better with subscribers?

By being proactive with your analytics review, you'll be able to revise your strategy more quickly—and, ideally, get improved results even faster.

5. Forgetting about mobile users

Do you check your email marketing campaigns on mobile devices? Fully 69% of emails that aren't optimized for mobile are deleted—so, clearly, it's important!

Ensure messages are easy to read, images load correctly, and any videos are compatible so mobile users can quickly and easily digest and respond to your messaging.

6. Lacking consistency

Do you have an email marketing schedule that you stick to? You should! Regularly sending out emails increases chances of recipients' remembering they originally subscribed to your emails. In addition, make sure your content is consistent, too. When they know what to expect, readers will be interested in opening your email to find your latest coupon, advice, or news.

7. Overcommunicating

Yes, your subscribers chose to follow you for a reason; but, if you send emails too frequently, they're likely to either unsubscribe or mark your emails as spam. When you develop your email marketing schedule, think about why your readers are likely interested in receiving your messages, and be careful not to overload that schedule with too many distributions that go out too frequently.

8. Inconsistent branding

While many email marketing platforms offer templates you can use, it's important to at least partially customize the design to fit your brand. In addition to adding your logo, select colors and fonts that match the rest of your branding. Think about ways to infuse the company's personality to stand out in subscribers' inboxes.

9. Dull subject lines

How much time do you spend on your email subject lines? The headline needs to be compelling, intriguing, and relevant if it's going to grab attention. Add personality and pizazz, but avoid clickbait that is likely to get you marked as spam.

10. Ignoring the preview text

When subscribers see your email in their inbox, what snippet will they see next to the subject line? Some email platforms fill that area in automatically, but you'll want to customize it if you can. Simply auto-populating is a missed opportunity to attract additional attention and entice the recipient into opening your message.

11. Including too much information

What is the point of your email? Before you even begin putting the message together, have a clear goal in mind—and stick to it. Be careful to avoid creating an email that is so long the recipient needs to scroll on and on and on. Keep text short (3-4 lines at a time), and make it easy to scan. Break up the text with compelling and relevant images or videos to support your main message, too.

12. Reinventing the wheel

When you create an email for your subscribers, are you creating new content every time? Instead, use your email marketing campaign as an avenue to repurpose other content you've already created. Share your latest blog post or that new video you created. Promote a social media contest.

The more you can cross-promote your messages in multiple ways, the better. Make your emails a natural component of your overall content marketing strategy.

13. Sounding too sales-y

Yes, you want to increase revenue and sales, but sounding like a used car salesperson in your company emails isn't the way to do it. Infuse your brand's personality into the email, add a little humor or a few fun facts, and be as genuinely authentic as possible in each message you send.

* * *

Email marketing is a fantastic way to reach consumers. But to be as effective as possible your messages, should be carefully crafted. Can you think of common email mistakes I've missed? Let me know.

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13 Common Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

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image of Erika Taylor Montgomery

Erika Taylor Montgomery is CEO of Three Girls Media Inc., an award-winning content marketing and PR firm in the greater Seattle area.

Twitter: @publicityerika

LinkedIn: Erika Taylor Montgomery