The worst email marketing campaign you will see

There are loads of resources out there, designed to help you create the perfect email marketing campaign. In fact, we have those resources, and email marketing best practices. It’s all well and good guiding email marketers on what they should do, but today I’ll focus on what you shouldn’t do.

According to a study by Return Path, marketing emails make up 70% of ‘this is spam’ complaints. That means, as a marketer, when you’re creating your email marketing campaign, you need to ensure it ends up in the right inbox.

The easy way to solve this problem is by designing great emails right? If we all delivered fantastic, fresh and exciting emails, then surely there’d be no need for our mails to enter the spam box? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Even brilliant emails can end up in the spam box; it’s ultimately in the recipient’s hands.

But, to help you with your campaigns, here is the breakdown of the worst email marketing campaign you will ever see (just make sure yours doesn’t look like this):

1. Your email features a generic subject line

According to a study by filtering service, Blue Kangaroo, 43% of adults in the US said more than half of their emails are from marketers. As inboxes are so saturated, how can you ensure your email is opened? What’s stopping your recipient from just flagging your email as spam, because your subject line is ‘25% off!!!!’?

Subject lines like the one in our example, don’t tell you anything. 25% off what? Invite your recipient to open the email. Tell them what they should expect to see inside. Make it beneficial to them.

2. You’ve used a ‘no reply’ email

This implies to the recipient that they are not to engage in a conversation with you. This is the complete opposite of what marketers around the world are looking to achieve. We want conversations; it’s the way we find out about products and customer’s opinions.

Get rid of your automatic robot. By all means send a triggered email, but allow your recipients to reply to it.


3. You’ve used unsophisticated design

Before a recipient reads any text within your email, they will look at the images and design. If a person opened the example email, I’m sure they’d be disappointed. The use of WordArt gives the impression that the sender is either, old school and loves their Windows 98, or is a spammer.

If you don’t have an in house designer, or don’t know how to do it yourself, take advantage of free design tools on the web. Keep your emails clean, without frills, and use a simple layout.

4. You’ve haven’t checked your email before sending

Make sure you check all areas of your email campaign. An email sent with missing links, or without personalisation can really damage your brand. It makes you look sloppy, insincere and generally uninterested. On the other hand, at least you tried dynamic content, which is better than an email started ‘Dear Sir’.

Use an email service provider that enters default information when customer details are missing.

5. Your email content is generic

A business’ main priority is selling products. But who are you selling to? Usually a person. Make sure your email sounds like it was written by a person, for a person. Words like ‘valued customer’ are overused, and have lost all meaning. And remember; don’t use exclamation marks to make your writing sound more exciting, they make you look frantic.

6. You’ve included really boring content

The main reason that people unsubscribe from emails from businesses is because of the frequency. Most people tend to think emails are sent too often, and will unsubscribe. Give your readers interesting and useful content, to avoid your reader unsubscribing.

In the example above, the sender is telling the recipient about other types of clothing, but why would someone want that information if they’re subscribed to ties4you? Think about what readers would like to hear about, and if you don’t have anything valuable to say, then say nothing at all.

7. You’ve used generic images

In the same way that poor design and layout makes a bad impression, so does images. Boring stock images make your email look unprofessional and spammy. If you can, include images designed by you, or your in house designer. Of course, they need to fit in the email content, or they can do more harm than good.

Use images to enhance your email’s message and meaning, instead of distracting from it.

8. Your images aren’t displaying correctly

Most email clients will block images, unless the recipient chooses to download them, due to the spam risk. Your email shouldn’t feature more than 60% images, and you’ll need to create a plain text version, so that the email can be read even when the images are not available. Use ALT text to describe the picture so that the reader understands the context, without seeing the image.

9. You haven’t included a call to action

‘We hope to hear from you soon’ is very pleasant and polite, but what is it telling you to do? The email has been sent from a ‘no reply’ address, so how can they get in touch anyway?! Put a call to action in the email and instruct your recipient about what they should do. Do you want them to view the ties that are on sale on your website? Sign up for updates? Or view other products?

10. You’ve angered recipients with your unsubscribe link

You may have created the world’s most beautiful email, but people will still unsubscribe from it. The second most common reason that people unsubscribe from emails, is because the content is no longer relevant. No matter what the reason, it is part of email marketing law that you include an unsubscribe link, and remove the email address within 10 days. Make it easy for them to remove themselves from your mailing list, and they’ll still think positively towards your brand.

So, are you ready to create the best email marketing campaign the world will ever see? Avoid these mistakes, and get sending.

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