5 eNewsletter Mistakes And How to Fix Them

E-Newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with your client base. They can be used to provide updates about your company, promote services, offer discounts, and run contests, and of course to send out invitations to events and seminars. Your contact list is invaluable when it comes to online marketing and you want to make sure those contacts are engaged with your content and that you are able to track when leads are being converted. As a primer or a review, we wanted to list some common mistakes and how to fix them.
Mistake #1: Using a generic subject line

The subject line is the first thing someone sees when they spot your email in their inbox so you want to make a good first impression in order to maximize your open rate. In the age of spam and information overload, you need to differentiate yourself and show that opening your email is worth it. And you want to do it in 50 characters or less (you don’t want your call-to-action to be cut off.)
The most obvious mistake people make with subject lines is they keep them obvious and staid. Tailor your subject line to the content and make it interesting.
Fix: Write short, attention grabbing subject lines that are tailored to the biggest draw in your newsletter that will get your viewer to open it. If someone has subscribed to your newsletter and hasn't opened last month's newsletter with a subject like: "Your Store - July Newsletter", what are the chances that a similarly worded August newsletter is going to convince them otherwise? Use your subject to highlight a specific event or deal that's happening, example "20% off select phones all July @ Walmart". Scarcity tactics that reference end dates can increase click rates, as in “Last four days to take advantage of....”, as well as subject lines with lists and numbers.
Mistake #2: Lack of images/images only
Don't send a giant block of text and expect it to be read. Reading on screen is different from print. Screen readers tend to skim, look at the page in an F shape (source), flick past large blocks of text and focus on headers and images. With a few effectively used images, you can give your viewer a much more enjoyable experience. Think of them as similar to paragraph or section breaks.
However, don't go overboard and simply use a large image with a few links embedded in them, or image maps/hotspots, because you don't want to design and test your layout. Image only emails are difficult to read on phones and don't have any text to be searched through. Email Clients like Gmail give enormous storage space, expecting users to save their emails and search through them. You want your newsletter to be in those search results. Other mail services may filter out image-only eblasts.
Fix: Use images to space out and section your texts to create an enjoyable flow, where the viewer isn’t overwhelmed, and tempted to skip past, too much text. Try pairing headers tags with images and including illustrations or diagrams/charts.

Mistake #3: No Call to Actions
Often newsletters are a medium to push ad-hoc information (company news, office changes, holidays, etc.) out to clients without really thinking through what you want to accomplish. Obviously not all these updates are bad, providing cute pictures of the new office dog can create a more personable brand, but there still needs to be an actionable item at the end of the day. If your recipient perceives your newsletters as fluff without anything in it for them, they will eventually unsubscribe. Turn your updates into actionable items.
Fix: Transform your newsletter content so that it contains Calls To Action (CTAs), for example, to book a consultation, or sent back a comment or question. If you have a human interest or success story about a volunteer, provide links and information on how others can get involved.
Mistake #4: Not optimizing your layout for mobile
In an age when everyone and their parents are browsing the internet and going through their email on their smartphone, you could be missing out by not having a responsive email design. Almost half of emails opened are by mobile users (source). If your layout isn't readable, it's going to be deleted and unsubscribed. Test it out on Google’s Mobile Friendly testing page and on a variety of platforms including Apple and Android.
Fix: Make sure you’ve optimized and tested extensively for mobile
Mistake #5: Not using the name field in your email
Every email you receive comes with both a 'from name' and a 'from email address'. Too many people forget or leave the name blank, and end up with just the email address being shown. Doing so makes it more difficult to read and easier to skip over. Make sure to use a name. You can either personalize your newsletter so that it's sent by an actual person from the company and signed off as such, or you can keep it generic and use the company name. Which you choose depends on your business and the type of email communication. Do I expect Cathy, the department head of marketing, to be labeled in the ‘from’ field with an email of coupons and promotions? Not likely. But a doctor's office might want to personalize it so that the doctor’s name is used instead of of alongside the name of the practice. This creates a more personal touch and makes it seem like the email is being sent by someone they know. Many senders work out putting both a person's name and the company name on the from line (example: “John Doe | Acme Inc.”)
Fix: Send your emails with a name, either the company name “Acme Promotions <promotions@acme.com>” or a specific person who works there, “Dr. Cathy <cathy@acmemainstreetdoctor.com>”
Before you send out your next eNewsletter, make sure you didn’t make any of these easily avoidable mistakes. They are quick to fix and will improve the quality and success of your email marketing campaigns.
If you need any assistance managing your online communications, contact us here, and we will be more than happy to help you out!