Subtle marketing email mistakes that make your brand look bad

Don’t drop the ball

Smart business owners know that perception is the only reality online. You take the time to make sure you’re dotting all your i’s and crossing your t’s. The same can be said for your email communications. Since marketing emails are often your first means of contact, unnecessary email mistakes can have a negative impact on your branding efforts.

Offline and online, when we meet someone new, we form perceptions.

 

They’re a natural reaction to what we see, feel and hear. In person, there are some easy tell-tale interactions that form our perceptions:

  • What verbiage do they use when they speak to you?
  • Do they look you in the eyes?
  • Do they offer a firm or timid handshake?
  • Is their outfit appropriate for the occasion?

These are some of the subtle things that run through our minds, at times subconsciously, when we form initial opinions in the offline world. So what kind of impressions are you sending on the internet through your emails?

Let’s cover a few email mistakes that can leave your subscribers wondering about your business, or worse — jumping for that unsubscribe link.

Unmonitored email addresses

Email Mistakes Monitor
Photo: Tim Green aka atoach via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Do you send from an unmonitored email account, such as noreply@? If you do, be upfront and clear about this so subscribers avoid the negative experience of receiving an undeliverable bounce back.

Include an email address subscribers can use if they want to contact you.

 

Then, make sure you monitor the email address. Better yet, link to a contact form where you can glean some additional information about their inquiry or request.

Broken merge tags, bad links, missing images

Not testing your marketing emails multiple times before sending can result in malfunctioning visuals that will impact how your campaigns will display.

Broken or bad links are inexcusable. Test every single link. One period, dash or space where it shouldn’t be, and the link won’t work. Incorrect links to images will produce a broken image icon.

Merge tags are another thing to review. Different email marketing products have different ways of handling merge tags, but for example, the provider I use gives me the option to address emails to the first names of my subscribers.

Merge tags allow you to customize your email campaigns to keep your customers more engaged.

 

If your data list is not formatted properly, or you don’t have a first name for all subscribers, the merge tag might not accurately display the recipient’s name. That’s an easily avoidable email mistake. All it takes is a quick double check.

Lack of personalization and personality

Email Mistakes Personalization
Photo: Jamiesrabbits via Visualhunt / CC BY

Among other things, merge tags allow you to personalize your emails by addressing each person by name. Addressing them individually makes subscribers feel like you’re talking to them, not at them. Take the time to learn how to use your provider’s menu of various merge tags to further personalize your campaigns.

It’s hard to stand out above all the noise and the cacophony of offers and similar businesses.

 

Stand out by adding your personality to everything you do. Don’t be mundane by using templated, boring text. Do your best to put your personality on full display to make your marketing emails interesting, entertaining and unique.

Missing calls-to-action

Email Mistakes ActionOnce you’ve built your email list, make sure you actually communicate in a way that inspires. Build a call-to-action into every marketing email you send. Here are a few examples you can use in newsletters, opt-in forms, emails and more:

  • Sign up to today to receive our free eBook about successful email campaigns.
  • Visit our services page to see how you can elevate your online presence.
  • Join our newsletter to get helpful hints and tips about strong content writing.

The point of marketing emails is to encourage action. You need to guide your subscribers. Email mistakes like filling your communications with lackluster text and no clear path for your readers cost you business. You want to offer value and information that will keep your subscribers looking forward to your next email.

No affiliate disclosure requirements

If your marketing emails include affiliate links, you must disclose that to your subscribers in your email. This isn’t an option — it’s a requirement from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States. Folks need to be aware that you’re promoting and might be subject to financial gains due to said promotions.

You can read more about the rules on the FTC website. If you include any affiliate links in your marketing emails, you must make a statement letting your readers know that you are doing so. Subscribers are used to seeing these type of disclaimers, and they expect that level of disclosure and honesty from you.

CAN-SPAM and shady messaging

Email Mistakes SPAMCAN-SPAM is not luncheon meat. It’s the law in the United States surrounding SPAM. For an exact break down of the law, visit the FTC, but here are a few things to consider to keep you branded as reputable and not a spammer:

  • Don’t falsely advertise the purpose of your email.
  • If your email is a form of advertisement, clearly state that.
  • Provide a legitimate address for your business.

Simply put, playing by the rules is good for your business. Avoid easy email mistakes by only sending materials to those who’ve opted to receive communications from you. And always be honest and upfront about your messaging!

Want to take it a step further? Visit the full compliance guide on the FTC’s site for all the legal mumbo-jumbo and to download copy to keep on hand. Using a commercial email service, such as GoDaddy’s Email Marketing, is a hassle-free way to stay compliant while making opt-out requests easy and prompt for subscribers. Regardless of how you send your marketing materials, you need to have your CAN-SPAM bases covered.

Adding subscribers without their knowledge

The last thing you want to do is tick people off by sending them emails they didn’t ask for. Rub salt into that wound by making them unsubscribe from a list they never subbed to, and you just lost a potential customer and tarnished your brand.

Emailing without permission is risky, and your domain name and IP could be blacklisted.

 

Whether you’re buying lists or sending commercial emails, keep CAN-SPAM laws in mind. Building trust takes time, but once it’s broken, it’s hard to get back.

Fix those email mistakes today

Now that you are aware of these common email mistakes, don’t allow them to devalue your company name and reputation. When you take note and adjust your email marketing campaigns accordingly, over time you’ll be the brand that builds trust — and that builds your bottom line.


Also published on Medium.

Image by: Thomas Leuthard via Visual hunt / CC BY

Judith Kallos
Judith is an established Business Coach and WordPress Consultant who has run The IStudio® for more than two decades. She assists Netrepreneurs who want to create effective websites while tutoring them on the best practices that are necessary to their long-term prosperity. You can also find her extending a helping hand as a Community Founder and Trusted Advisor over on GoDaddy's Community Forums.