Email marketing is a great medium to effectively communicate with your customer base. If used correctly it can achieve brilliant results for your business and will offer an unbeatable ROI compared to other marketing activities.

We get to see thousands of campaigns go out every week – many of these are fantastic and achieve great results. However some do not share the same level of success, this is normally caused by making an easily avoidable mistake which will cause your campaign to become a failure.

To help you build a successful email marketing campaign, we have prepared a list of our top 10 common mistakes which will hinder the success of your campaign.

1. Obvious lack of permission

Sadly there are still companies out there who try and get around the Confirmed Opt-In permission requirement at a hope of making a quick buck. Some companies will too freely state that everyone has opt-ed in to receive their communications – while really they are using a purchased list. Thankfully, we can spot these users a mile off and quickly close their accounts.

Sending to a purchased list or list obtained via 3rd party is not permission based email. While your list broker may be falling over to explain how great their opt-in process is. At the end of the day no purchased list is COI.

Ask yourself this question, as a consumer or business – would you knowingly allow your contact details to be sold on to other organisations at a profit?

Lack of permission when emailing the user is the most common mistake and will simply destroy the success of your campaign. You are simply wasting your marketing budget.

2. The same message

Your first few mailings to your customer database may have achieved great results. Over the last few months you may have noticed interest has decreased. Open rates have shrunk and unsubscribes have increased.

The most common cause of this is caused by sending the exact same message to your customer database week in week out. If you are sending the exact same marketing message every week, your customers will very quickly get tired of your communications – they are no longer new.

Every email campaign you send, should be different and original. Never send the same message twice. Have you ever seen Amazon or ebuyer send you the exact same email newsletter twice? – no? – neither should you!

3. Photoshop Addiction

When designing your next email newsletter. Drop your Photoshop addiction. Do not design your newsletter in Photoshop, save it as an image and send it out. Most email readers will block images by default. So if your email campaign us 100% image based  – you will be sending many recipients a blank email – great use of your marketing budget!

Minimise the use of images. Text should be coded as text, not images!

4. Relevancy is key

Always keep your marketing message relevant to your market!

Only send your marketing message to people who will be interested and want to receive it.

Last week an email marketing company sent me an unsolicited email asking if i would like to try email marketing! I shall keep the company nameless – but it did get a few chuckles in the office – even more so when it turned out they were simply a reseller of an american supplier.

Do your research first, only send out communications to parties who have correctly opted in and will be interested in your product or service.

5. Add your contact details

A few years ago we received a cancel request from a client – stating they they wished to cancel because their first campaign had sold ‘absolutely nothing’ .

Upon investigation, the company had added no contact details inside their email newsletter. So if their customers wanted to make a purchase, they had absolutely no way to get in contact with the supplier.

This may seem a little obvious – however give your clients a quick and easy way to purchase your product/service.

6. No interactivity

Interactive content is not only for social media. Adding interactive features inside your marketing communications can help grab attention and build interest.

7. Clean your database

If you are new to email marketing, the temptation once your account is live is that the first campaign must be sent the same day. Getting a little too eager can lead to mistakes – one of the most common is a failure to clean your database before use.

If you are sending to a list of users on your website, once user may have created two or more accounts on your website over the last few years. As a result this user may exist inside your database multiple times – its always worth giving your list a quick clean before using for the first time.

8. Mobile Devices

Do a quick poll – do you own a smart phone? How many people in your office also own a smart phone? Do you read emails on your smart phone?

With the great success of the iPhone – we have the ability to read emails on the go. Before sending your email campaign it is worth spending a little extra time to ensure that your campaign will display correctly on that tiny smart phone screen as apposed to the giant 28″ monitor on your desk.

9. Don’t let your web designer near your email campaign

If your web designer has offered to design your email newsletter, but has never done it before – do not let them! Coding techniques for email newsletters vary greatly.

The use of complex layouts, CSS and javascipt will cause your newsletter to be rejected or not display correctly.

10. Its not the size of your database. Its how you use it

You may have thousands of customers signed up to your mailing list – great yea?

Not always. Before starting your email campaign – give some thought with regard to how you plan to best utilise this database. Don’t try and sell a customer a product they have already purchased from you – be intelligent with your approach.

Last month, we changed office internet suppliers. Not long after, the supplier emailed trying to re-sell the product we have already purchased now offering a large voucher as an increased incentive. Trying to sell the same product to an existing customer featuring a better offer will only lead to customer dissatisfaction.