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Email Marketing Horror Stories: What to Do and What Not to Do

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Bad Lists

The Results:  Essentially, you're sending emails to non-existent people (or their emails). As a result, this increases your bounce rate. Your message isn't reaching your customers.The Fix:  Update opt-outs, opt-ins, and bounce rates regularly. To really be on top of your game, the best practice is to constantly update your lists. If you're serious about your marketing campaigns' success rate, then clean up your lists weekly.

HTML Version

The Results: Some people aren't able to read or even download your emails properly. You're assuming that every recipient has the latest technology and email programs. Also, this problem works for mobile devices. Older cell phones aren't always able to fully download your emails.

The Fix: This is as simple as it sounds: offer an HTML or web version for every email you send. This not only increases your open rate but also gives your recipients a chance to view your emails in whatever way they choose.

Grammatical and Spelling Mistakes

The Results: Oh boy. This horror is more common than you think. Seriously, in some cases, spell-check isn't even used because staffers are under so much pressure to develop and send emails that they overlook these mistakes. This shows your recipients that you don't care or even worse that you don't care about them.

The Fix: Always check every email. Check twice, and then have a colleague read it. As many eyes you have on your email, the higher chance that any grammatical and spelling mistakes will be found.

Wrong Sender Syndrome

The Results: Well, above all, ensure that the person you're sending to is actually the person you want to send to. This ties back to the bad list: update your lists! Also, if you personalize your emails (highly recommended!), ensure that the spelling and salutation are correct.

The Fix: With every sign-up or opt-in form you have for your emails, ensure that the contact information is uploaded and entered correctly. Further, studies show that people check the correct spelling and salutation first before diving into the content.

Not Doing Market Research

The Fix: Understanding who your recipients are will help you target your message to the right audience. So, conduct surveys regularly. Also, with every sign-up form, ensure that you capture as much information as possible. Though this type of information is private, ensure that you leave this information on the form as optional.

Real Business Mistakes

A Certain Clothing Retailer

Sadly, this known and popular company didn't do the due diligence on their customers. Apparently, sales emails about the latest in women's fashion were sent to their male subscribers. Sure, there will be a small percentage of these male recipients may purchase gifts for girlfriends and wives, but really, that's not the case.

The Lesson: Know your customers.

A Popular Athletic Company

This well-known retailer sent promotional emails overloaded with graphics and images, that in a majority of cases, these emails didn't load. Obviously, each recipient has a different email program and Internet connection.

The Lesson: Keep graphics and images at a moderate resolution level and keep all emails with more content than pictures.

Watch for more tips on email marketing, Twitter, autoresponders and other online strategies in future blogs.

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