Are you struggling to get people responding to your marketing emails?

You’re not alone, every day I must get 100+ emails across my various accounts and I certainly do not open all of them.

So which ones are the lucky ones that get opened and how do you become one of those?

In my experience, there are 5 key mistakes people make with marketing emails that result in poor performance.


Are you optimised for mobile?

There is nothing more annoying than opening an email on your mobile and not being able to read the squitty print because it’s been made to read on a desktop and it doesn’t adjust to your smaller screen.

I read at least 90% of my emails on my phone so if it’s not mobile friendly it’s useless. I usually delete without bothering to save it for later. It’s unlikely I would remember to read it later anyway.

Even if you think your audience will want to read your emails, don’t be fooled, it doesn’t matter how big your brand is, if your experience is poor your audience will depart fast as they can.

I subscribe to Google’s SEO blog and can’t remember the last time I read it. It’s amazing to think this global giant who revolutionised search engines by making one that was user-centric, and has unlimited funds at its disposal, has not invested in user-friendly responsive email design.

Market stats show a major trend towards mobile use for email, so if you’re not optimising for mobile you need to put that at the top of your list.


Do you have more than one message?

If your email has multiple messages in it you’ll lose your reader’s attention and make it hard for them to identify the main purpose of the email.

You have a maximum of 5 seconds to communicate your message, so don’t hide it in long paragraphs or a jumble of content, if your reader can’t see why they should continue reading, they’re on to the next email.

Your email should have one call to action, and ideally repeat it a few times within the email so it’s clear to your audience that’s where they should go next.

Even a newsletter should have one main article and a limit on the total number of articles to make sure they are all great quality and relevant. If you have heaps one month, ask yourself if any of them aren’t time sensitive.

You can save those ones for next month and save yourself a whole lot of time finding new content; win – win!

How are you adding to your audience’s day? Are you giving them some valuable info, insight or motivation?


Does your subject line tell them why they should bother?

Have they even opened the email in the first place?

Your subject line is critical to grabbing attention in the inbox.

Back to my Google example of what not to do, their email subjects are always ‘The Keyword | Google Blog’, which is completely pointless because the From name is ‘The Official Google Blog’.

They could combine the two as the name and then use the subject line to highlight the key message of their blog article so they let their readers know at a glance what that blog is about and what value they’ll be getting if they open the email.

A good subject line should be punchy and help your audience identify what the email is about.

Make sure it’s focussed on them, what’s the value they will get from the email? Why should they bother opening it? The first few words of your subject are the most important because on mobile that’s all they will see.

There is a bit of a trend at the moment to use subject lines without context that attempt to intrigue you to open the email like “Hey!” or “Like night and day”.

If your audience are consumers with plenty of spare time this is a good trick to get curious people opening your email.

But, if your audience are busy business people, save us the headache and just tell us what your email is about. I don’t have time to browse, so hit me with the value right there in the subject line. Tell me why I need to open this email instead of tackling my burning priorities.

Remember, don’t try to sell in your subject line, it’s not the right place – you haven’t warmed them up for the sale yet.


Are you using personalisation?

I hope you didn’t say no!

No personalisation and you expect results with that email campaign?

Although the ability to personalise bulk emails has been around for about a billion years, it amazes me to see so many marketing emails from professional firms arriving in my inbox without the slightest attempt to address me with my name.

It seems like laziness. Or maybe they just don’t care that much about me.

So I don’t care that much to read their email either. It’s obviously not worth my time when I have an overflowing inbox.

If you’re using an email marketing platform such as ActiveCampaign*, MailerLite*, MailChimp, Aweber, GetResponse and a raft of others, it’s super easy to personalise your campaigns – you just need to make sure your data is clean.


Are you sending too many emails?

Yes there is such a thing as sending too many emails!

I know some of the “experts” out there say you need to send emails to remain front of mind and build exposure, but (and that is a big BUT by the way) you don’t need to be front of mind every single day.

Definitely NOT more than once a day!

That is just plain annoying. And will get us all hitting that unsubscribe link.

Think about what you’re like with your own inbox. Subscribe to a few businesses and suddenly you’re flooded with marketing emails.

It’s not only annoying but overwhelming. Their emails become like wallpaper, you can’t see the messages because there are so darn many of them!  

Now your subconscious opinion of that business slowly goes down and you consider them spammy.

Think about when you last got an email from a business who doesn’t send many.

It stood out in the inbox.

You read the subject line. You probably even opened it!


Are you guilty of any of the above 5 points? Try changing up your approach and see if your results change.


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