Email conversions are at an all-time high, with promotional emails seeing 111% higher conversion rates year-over-year, according to the Ecommerce Statistics Report 2020.
Mistakes in email marketing can result in a loss of customers, bad deliverability, and a lack of trust from your customers.
- Ineffective Subject Lines
The subject line is not as important as the body of the email.
The subject line is the first thing the reader sees when they open an email. If the subject line is not interesting, the reader may not bother to open the email.
One common mistake companies make when writing email subject lines is the use of spammy words. Another common mistake is the use of too many emojis. A third common mistake is the lack of optimization for mobile devices.
We will now look at a few more errors that companies often do not notice but can have a significant impact on open rates and, as a result, conversions.
Making a Subject Line Too Short or Too Wordy
The length of your subject line will affect your email’s open rate.
According to InvespCRO, different length brings different open rates:
0-5 words – 16%
6-10 words – 21%
11-15 words – 14%
16-20 words – 12%
21-25 words – 9%
The ideal length for an email subject line is between 5 and 15 words. However, this may vary depending on the email service you use, and whether or not the email is being viewed on a mobile device.
Shorter email subject lines are more visible and thus more effective.
If you want your email to be read, don’t make the subject line too long or full of information. Instead, use a catchy phrase or ask a question to make the reader curious.
Using All CAPS
Some companies might use emojis or spammy phrases in their subject lines, but nothing is as annoying as all capital letters.
Some brands use all capital letters to make their subject lines more noticeable, which can be beneficial. However, this is the only advantage to using all CAPS in a subject line.
This approach looks like you’re shouting at your subscribers, which is not what you want. You want your subscribers to be excited about your upcoming sale, but you don’t need to use upper case letters for that.
Emails with subject lines written in all uppercase letters are less likely to be opened than emails with subject lines in other formats. This was confirmed by Boomerang, which reviewed over 300,000 publicly-available emails and found that emails with upper-case subject lines were replied to 30% less often than other emails.
It’s generally not a good idea to use italics in email subject lines as it can look bad in some email programs.
Your email subject lines should be readable to avoid being sent to the spam folder.
Not Connecting Subject Lines with Pre-Header Text
Why are preheaders important? Some people think that preheaders are unimportant, but they are wrong. Preheaders are the snippets of text that appear after the subject line of an email when it’s viewed in the inbox. Preheaders give the recipient an idea of what the email is about, and can be an important factor in whether or not the email is opened.
Did you know that according to Sendpulse, 24% of email recipients read the pre-header text to see if the email will be useful for them? And that emails with good pre-headers have an 18% higher open rate?
What makes a good pre-header?
A pre-header is a short summary that comes after the subject line in an email. It should be connected to the subject line and give a brief overview of what the email is about, thus increasing the reader’s engagement.
Your email’s subject line and pre-header are important elements that should work together to give subscribers an idea of what your message is about and invite them to open and read it.
You only need a short, meaningful connection between a subject line and pre-header to make an email effective. Long sentences and extra punctuation marks are unnecessary and can be ignored.
- Click baiting the Consumer
The key to successful email marketing and increased sales is an effective high-conversion email funnel that will bring in and nurture new leads.
Some companies use methods that are not considered ethical in order to increase their open rates. One of these methods is called click baiting. Some companies believe that click baiting is acceptable because it results in a higher number of people opening their emails.
2015 research showed that emails with clickbait wording in their subject lines had pretty decent read rates, giving marketers hope that their clickbaiting efforts were not in vain.
You can’t fully trust this research study. The emails they looked at weren’t all actually clickbait. They’re only clickbait if the subject line doesn’t correspond to what the email is about.
Thus, seemingly spammy words and phrases are not necessarily true indicators of clickbait. However, there are other signs that can help determine that a subject line is click-baiting the subscriber:
- Too much drama. You might have noticed that clickbait headings are often too emotional. Avoid extra punctuation, all CAPS, and phrases like “you won’t believe” and “shocking” from the image above.
- Overused “You” and “I” pronouns. Personalization might be good, but it’s not always used correctly. In the combination of spammy words and phrases, the use of personal pronouns can be considered clickbait.
- Listicles. Everything has its place, and email marketing is not the perfect place to use listicles. Subject lines, such as “Shocking 15 Weight Loss Tips You Never Knew About”, hardly indicate that the email is trustworthy.
What’s the lesson here?
Don’t focus all your effort on clickbait content as it might result in lower engagement levels and subscribers.
Apart from that, it’s really hard to fool the spam filters that every email provider has. Spam filters review emails on several different levels:
- Header filters – look for spam indicators in email subject lines and pre-headers
- Content filters – crawl the content of the email to find spam indicators
- General backlist filters – use the database of spammers to determine if the email is clickbait
- Permission filters – ask the reader for confirmation before opening the email
Make sure your email can get past a spam filter by ensuring your identity is authentic.
If your subject line includes words or phrases that could be considered clickbait, test it on different email providers to see how they react to it.
- Neglecting Segmentation: The Spray and Pray Email Marketing Mistake
Sending the same exact message to your entire list is a bad email mistake that many ecommerce marketers are still making.
People do not like to receive emails that are not interesting to them. A large majority of millennials, 70%, say that they get annoyed with emails that are not related to what they want. What people want is for brands to tailor their emails to the individual, and this is shown by 91% of consumers saying that they are more likely to buy from a company that gives personal offers and suggestions.
The most common email marketing mistake is assuming that personalization is only using the recipient’s first name.
Personalization in email marketing goes beyond addressing your subscribers by their first name. The content of the email should be relevant to the subscriber in order for it to be effective.
Rather than emailing your lists en masse, you can use segmentation to send more targeted emails. This means that you can send emails that are more relevant to your subscribers, which will in turn lead to improved open and click-through rates. The best way to avoid sending irrelevant emails to your subscribers is to use segmentation. This way you can send emails that are more relevant to them, leading to improved open and click-through rates.
Segmentation splits your large email list into smaller groups (or segments) based on something these contacts have in common. It can be done in a few different ways:
- Demographics: Age, gender, location, etc.
- Campaign engagement: Opened/not opened, clicked/not clicked, lack of engagement for so many days, etc.
- Shopping behavior: Recently purchased, recently abandoned a cart, hasn’t purchased in X days, purchases on average a certain amount, etc.
You can use this information to make your email campaigns more successful by sending content that is relevant to your subscribers. This will mean higher open rates, more clicks, more conversions, and more revenue.
You can make your customer’s experience even more personal by setting up customer lifecycle workflows. These workflows respond to your customers’ behavioral triggers and target the message based on what your customer needs.
- Getting the Timing Wrong (or Oversending Emails)
One common email marketing mistake is sending emails at the wrong time or with the wrong frequency. For example, you may have received an email that was sent at 3 AM local time, or one that was sent too often and led you to unsubscribe.
I have unsubscribed from an ecommerce brand because their promotional emails were tone-deaf and their customer support was sub-par. This is not a good look for them.
So how can you avoid the all-too-common email fail?
You should pause promotional emails to your customers when they enter certain workflows. For example, if a customer is talking to customer support, it would be a good idea to trigger a pause of all other workflows and campaigns or an exit.
You should avoid sending promotional emails to customers who are in the middle of a lifecycle workflow, such as abandoned shopping cart. This will help keep their attention focused on the products they have already expressed interest in.
Additionally, only add subscribers who have completed a welcome series workflow to your promotional campaign list. This will prevent you from overwhelming them with emails as soon as they sign up.
It is also important to time your emails (and this is even more true for SMS and push notifications), so that you send your campaigns at times when your customer is likely to see them.
We’ve analyzed billions of our customers’ data to find when to send email blasts:
- The first half of the month earns the highest orders.
- Thursday earns the most orders per week (followed closely by Tuesday).
- Sending campaigns around the workday (8 am, 1 pm, 4-5 pm) will earn you the highest open and click-through rates.
- Using Too Many Unclear CTAs
An email that is full of linked buttons or lacks a single clear direction or message can be confusing for the reader.
Ecommerce marketers who are just starting out often try to do too much. They think that by sending one big email with everything in it, they will avoid sending too many email campaigns.
You don’t want your customers to be confused about what to do next. Most likely, they will just close your email and go on with their day.
An email’s purpose is to tell the customer what to do next. The email should have a clear call-to-action that tells the customer what to do, whether it is to buy something, return to a forgotten cart, or leave a review.
This is a common email problem that can be avoided by making the next step clear.
Your email should have one central theme or goal. The next step should be the focus of your email from its conception. Include that message in your subject line.
It is important to have bright and noticeable calls to action in your emails so subscribers know what the next step is. A good way to make sure your calls to action stand out is to do a squint test. This is when you look at your emails and squint until they are blurry. If the call to action is still noticeable, then it is likely effective.
It is still possible to include additional elements beneath the fold of your email, like calls to follow your social media accounts or product recommendations. However, these annex elements should be given secondary importance when readers are going through your email.
- Alienating Your Mobile Users
There is nothing more torturous than trying to read an email on your phone. The text is to small, the images are to wide, and the call-to-actions are to small to be clicked on. These are just a few of the many mobile email errors.
If you’re making any of these common mistakes with your email marketing campaign, there’s no need to worry. Many email service providers have responsive designs that will automatically adjust your text and various blocks for mobile devices. Even so, there’s still some work that needs to be done on your end.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your images are an appropriate size before uploading them. Your ESP will automatically scale them down to fit mobile devices, but if the text on the images is too small, it will be illegible. It is best to use images that are 600x650px, as the most popular screen resolution is 360×640.
When creating responsive email designs, you should also take into account how much text to include in the email. Too much text can result in the email being difficult to scroll through on a mobile device.