Let me just start off by saying congratulations on finding this blog. This means that you’ve found a non-bullshitty subject matter expert; whose mission is to spread the knowledge and expertise of all the things learned in running a marketing & creative agency. And if I’m being completely honest, to help stop spreading poorly made content. It’s 2019 & we need to start using Google!
I’m just going to dive right into this subject, whether you’re just learning how to use email marketing software for the first time (examples: MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Constant Contact, etc.) or if this is your 50th email campaign – or as my business partner and I like to call them “E Blasts” – here are some common mistakes that I can’t unsee on a daily basis due to the flood of promotional emails that somehow land in my inbox begging me to buy the cute dress. These are commonly overlooked booboos, but coming from the perspective of email deliverability, click-through-rate, and an overall UX (user experience) standpoint these are very important things to look out for.
- Not Linking Every Image & Button! (Or linking to the wrong URL)
I would definitely say that this is a crucial part of creating your email – especially if you are purposely selling your product or service in the form of a “Call to Action”. ALWAYS link your images, headers, and social media on your email footers. Also, if you’ve decided to dupe an email that you were fond of design wise – make sure that all of the links are going to your new URL. Imagine you get this email from a shoe store, and the shoes you’ve been wanting are on sale, and you go to purchase them and they link to another pair of shoes that are totally not your style. And now you have no idea how to even find them. Same concept.
- Not Optimizing Your Images & Popping Videos in Your Email
This is actually quite the debate nowadays, since different email services view each email differently. Regardless, it is a general rule of thumb to keep your images no wider than 600px for an email. The repercussions can be slow-load time, which in turn can make a really bad bounce rate or even worse – uneven and sloppy looking emails.
As far as the video thing goes, links to YouTube or Vimeo are perfectly okay with or without a thumbnail placeholder if you so choose. But, embedding the email with your video can actually really fuck up your deliverability and get your email sent to spam. And who needs that?
- A Gimmicky Subject Line
Did you know that certain keywords can get you instantly sent to spam? And not even just certain keywords, but certain phrases, and symbols. The biggest example? The good ol’ dollar sign. Here is a super helpful link to a list of keywords and phrases to avoid via email here https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30684/the-ultimate-list-of-email-spam-trigger-words.aspx
Aside from this common mistake – no one will open your email if they think you’re an obvious spammer looking for cash. People can feel your money hungry vibes through the verbiage you choose, and that’s why I think that subject lines shouldn’t be over thought! I’m honestly not even a fan of using the preview text option (personally speaking; I do use preview text for my clients and my own business all the time).
My personal technique for nailing the subject line is to really sit down and scan your email for good copy you’ve written already, gather up your best key points, and in 5 words describe what is contained in the email. If you can’t describe your email in 5 words with all of the different variations you could come up with, just pick the main reason why you’re sending it in the first place. What are you offering to your audience?
What would make this email valuable to the people you’re sending it to? It shouldn’t be any more complicated than that.
- Your Email is Too Bland.
When you open up an email and see nothing but text, do you read it all – word for word? Or do you lose interest after a sentence or two and toss it in your delete or archive bin? I’m assuming most people would choose the second option, because text heavy emails are just not appealing! In this day and age with all of the overly visual things that we see on social media (or stalk us, if we’re talking about retargeting for a second) it’s really hard to get the point across without being aesthetically pleasing to the eye. That being said, don’t over-do it. That could only hurt you more. Do you have a favorite color? What’s your second favorite color? Do they look good together? Try it out and tell everyone. Why? Because if you add a personal touch stating that you created the email in your favorite colors then it will automatically make the email seem more human, and make the reader engage emotionally to some degree.
- Not Checking for Typos!
This is stupidly important. I don’t care who you are, typos drive everyone crazy. My process and advice is to:
- clack out your message
- proof it once for small misspelling errors
- proof it again for bigger grammatical errors.
This advice can help you on proofing your website, blog, and any other articles you might write down the road. Don’t underestimate spending an extra 5 minutes of time to do this!
Bonus Tip: Not Checking the Preview on Different Browsers!
You could create the most perfect email in the history of email campaigns, and the test email looks amazing on Outlook. But you send it your Gmail or Yahoo email accounts and it’s like you never even took the time to format it correctly. Why does this happen? Different email servers provide different email views. Your email could be perfect on one platform, and look like shit on the other. Depending on what is causing this, it can usually be fixed by CSS or HTML code. If executed right, using code can overwrite the visual errors and ultimately look the same on every email platform without a doubt.
Obviously that was a pro-tip that not everyone knows how to fix, but if you have any questions regarding the depth of that subject I would be more than happy to help answer questions or troubleshoot your email problems. On the other hand, if your email looks peachy and all the links are functioning correctly across all email platforms then you are good to go!
I hope you’ve learned a couple good key points from this blog and apply them to any future email campaigns that may be coming up. I share information like this so that you can confidently click send with ease knowing that you have done everything a professional would do. That being said, take a deep breath, drink some water, and continue on your path gangsta. xx