The 5 mistakes people commonly make in their emails

Author: Meghan Lockwood | Categories: Customer Experience, Digital Marketing, Email Marketing & Automation, Oracle | Eloqua

A leading national job board was once a client of mine. Every time a new job was posted on their site, the database sent out a series of automated emails to all their local job seekers showing it.

Now, that is a terrific service. Unfortunately, the subject line of the email was sorted by job number, so the reader’s first interaction with that helpful email was the line: Job Description #4567833. Unsurprisingly, they had depressingly low open rates.

As this story underscores, sometimes even smart companies make some amateur mistakes when it comes to designing and executing email marketing programs.

To help our audience prevent these mistakes, I asked our B2B Demand Generation expert, Beth Lambert, to share her thoughts on some of the most common mistakes that marketers make in their email programs, and how to mitigate these challenges.

According to Beth, here are the five most common mistakes marketers make in email marketing:
  • They don’t test. Marketers should regularly employ email deliverability testing to ensure their messages are reaching their prospects inbox.
  • They don’t monitor IP reputation. Marketers should use a service such as Senderscore.org to understand their online reputation.
  • They don’t consider the source. For lists of contacts – which can include partners, purchased list, inactive email contacts, etc. where you got that list will have a big impact on your deliverability and IP reputation.
  • They don’t optimize. You always, always want to employ AB Testing to measure and improve Open Rate and click-through rates.
  • They don’t consider inactive contacts. While the size of your list may seem important, you may have a large group of people on that list who are simply unengaged or have emotionally unsubscribed from your material. They are not helping your cause.

If any of these common challenges seem familiar to you, here are some strategies you may want to consider to address these concerns.

1. Pay attention to specific tactical considerations that impact email deliverability. Regularly review email deliverability and inbox preview prior to sending campaigns to determine where you can optimize for better results. Here are some strategies to boost your demand gen tactical performance:

  • Review your email deliverability rates to understand your baseline.
  • Deploy an integrated email testing tool such as Senderscore.org prior to your first send to a new audience.
  • For best results, build an opt-in email list, and be sure to comply with regional Opt-in Compliance Policy
  • Test for email mobility to ensure your messages are seen on mobile devices. Here are some Eloqua resources to help on that front.

To assess the tactical effectiveness of your email, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do the headers, images and contact render across all email clients?
  • Is the email compliant with the corporate policy? Identify with the value proposition?
  • Where does your eye go? How long does your eye take to get to the CTA?
  • Is the primary call to action clear and accessible?
  • Does the email recipients clearly identify with the value proposition?
  • Does the personalization tactic match the existing relationship?

2. Test email components to increase your open rates.

Here are some of the email components you can A/B test to increase your email open rates.

  • Subject line
    • Get to the point in 35 characters or less
    • Be relevant
    • Build trust
  • Play with the time and date (day of the week) that you send your emails
  • Consider using a different email address for your sender to see if you can boost email opens.

3. Test email components to increase your click-through rate (CTR). Once you get someone to open you email, research shows you have about 3 – 5 seconds to inspire someone to take the desired action in your email.

Some elements that will impact that click include:

  • CTA / Offer
  • Layout/ Design
  • Images
  • Barriers
  • Good Copywriting
  • Use Pre-headers
  • Messaging Relevance
  • Tone
  • Personalization
  • Signature

Review each of these elements and test where you can improve, and you are well on your way to optimal demand gen effectiveness.