While email remains one of the most effective marketing channels, many businesses still make mistakes that undermine results. Ultimately, the most important ingredient of any email marketing campaign is the copy, but it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
If you’re new to email marketing, or you’re struggling to create more persuasive email copy, here are nine of the most common mistakes you should avoid to improve results:
Long Email Subject Lines
If you want to stand out in someone’s inbox and improve engagement rates, keep the subject line short. Research from marketing firm Marketo showed that 41 characters or 7 words achieved more engagement overall (A). However, it depends on your industry and audience, so it’s always worth testing different subject line lengths to see what works best for you.
Once someone has opened your email, you want to grab their attention immediately with a compelling headline. Too many businesses don’t pay enough attention to the headline, but it really counts. Try to clearly and concisely convey the overall message of your email. Give people a reason to keep on reading. Either create intrigue with an interesting fact or question, or tell subscribers how they’re going to benefit from further reading.
Pushy Sales Copy
If every email you send is trying to encourage people to buy something, you’re going to get a lot of unsubscribes. You need to find a balance between promoting your business and giving people valuable information. In short, aim to consistently provide useful content that will build trust in your business and also increase customer loyalty.
Deviating from Your Call-to-Action (CTA) Goals
In every email, there should be just one clear CTA that helps you achieve a particular marketing goal. If you introduce multiple CTAs, it just leads to confusion and inaction.
However, if you want people to take action, you need to explain why they should act. This is why all the copy around the CTA should clearly explain the benefits of taking action. Don’t distract readers with a range of options or nonessential information. For example, if you want people to download a free report, don’t also talk about a new product; save that for another email. Just focus on achieving one goal at a time.
Long Blocks of Text
You don’t have much time to capture the attention of readers. Many people will be reading your email on their phones, or they’ll have limited time. This is why you should quickly get to the point. Keep it brief, using short sentences and paragraphs. According to a Boomerang study, the highest response rate was seen in emails containing 75 to 100 words (B). If you need to provide additional information, include a link that readers can click on if they want to find out more.
Following on from the last point, you need to format your emails to make them easier to read. As well as using short sentences and paragraphs, use subheadings and bullet points to break up the copy. This will make every email easier to scan, especially on mobile devices.
Not Proofreading and Editing Enough
It’s often said, but it’s worth repeating: emails with typos or grammatical mistakes are going to make your business look careless and unprofessional. Some people might give you the benefit of the doubt, but most people will judge your business based on your writing.
To avoid embarrassing mistakes, go through your copy multiple times. As well as checking for typos and grammatical errors, avoid word repetition, cliches, and business jargon. Additionally, let someone else review the email before you hit the send button.
Talking About Your Business, Not Your Audience
Many businesses still make the mistake of talking about themselves too much. People don’t care how great you think you are; they want to know how you can make their lives better. If you’re mentioning a product or service, focus on how the end user will benefit. What problem does it help to solve? Always tailor the copy to the customer, not your business.
Using business jargon has already been mentioned, but it’s worth expanding on this point. People will just tune out if you sound like every other business. Any company can create run-of-the-mill copy, but it doesn’t inspire action. You need to add some personality to your copy if you want people to engage with your business. Try using more informal language, and show some originality.
Are You Avoiding These Email Copy Mistakes?
If you’re struggling to make progress with your email marketing campaigns, it could be a sign that your email copy is holding you back. Do you recognize any of the mistakes outlined here? Fortunately, they’re all fairly easy to correct. Avoid these errors starting today, and you’ll improve your reputation, engage more subscribers, and make sure email marketing supports the growth of your business for years to come.