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Do You Make These 6 Email Newsletter Mistakes?

Cheryl Teo
Cheryl Teo
January 2, 2013
2 min read
Do You Make These 6 Email Newsletter Mistakes?

Email messages drive 1,350% more traffic than social media. A stat like this is any marketer's dream, as it demonstrates the sheer power of getting into the inbox.

Emails Drive 1350% More Traffic Than Social Media

Anyone involved in ecommerce should be actively gathering email addresses from current and potential customers. Getting those addresses is one thing. Creating something of value to send to your list is another.

Emails can drive significant revenue – if you know what you're doing. The following list of mistakes might be costing you money. Each one keeps your emails from being opened, read, and acted on.

Email Newsletter Mistake #1: Your emails are too long.

Online readers are scanners. When we read a blog post, download an ebook, or open up the inbox, we're looking for information that directly affects us. Statistically speaking, users will only read about 20% of digital content. This includes your emails!

Cluttered Email
Which one would you rather read?

When online marketers send emails that are too long (or worse, not formatted correctly), readers eyes glaze over. The sheer volume of text in front of them is too much to handle. They delete the email and move on.

Solution: Make sure your text is broken up into easily-digestible paragraphs. Use bullet points, bolded headlines, and big, beautiful images where appropriate.

Email Newsletter Mistake #2: You aren't using first names.

In his sales magnum opus, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie talks about how we're wired to hear our first name above anything else. Even in a crowded room, using a person's first name is the fastest way to get someone's attention.

Think of a typical person's email inbox as a crowded room. There is so much noise, most people can't filter out what's important and what's SPAM. This, again, includes your emails.

One of the best ways to rise above the noise is by using someone's first name. Put it in the first few lines of your email–most any email provider has an option to do this. When someone scans their inbox, they'll "hear" you using their first name and, most likely, stop to pay attention. That split second is when your subject line will coax them into opening your email, reading the valuable information contained therein.

Solution: Gather first names when your building your email database. Use them whenever, and wherever, possible!

Email Newsletter Mistake #3: You aren't using pop-ups.

Technically this isn't directly related to the content in your emails, but using popups has a direct impact on building your email list. The data is in and it shows, quite clearly, that popups work.

Data for Popup Stats

Researcher Dan Zarrella conducted a popup experiment on his own site. Common thinking tells us popups are annoying and should be avoided. Zarrella f we've been following this line of thought to our own detriment.

When popups were introduced on his blog, he saw a 103 percent increase in email subscriptions with just a .7 percent increase in bounce rates. (Email address that he could use to nurture from a sales perspective, thus increasing his profits!) While not every context will be the same, popups are a solution you'd be foolish not to implement.

Popup Example from Woman Within
Popup example from online retailer.

Popup example from online retailer.

Same site, but this greets you after 60 seconds of being on the home page.[/caption]

The correlation is simple: more email addresses mean more traffic to your site or product. More traffic means more sales. More sales means more win!

Solution: Most people don't seem to mind popups. Find a reputable popup provider and start collecting more email addresses on your site.

Read next: How Ecommerce Stores Can Use Popups To Increase Conversion Rates and Sales

Email Newsletter Mistake #4: You're sending emails from a generic account.

People like getting emails from other people. Not faceless organizations. Not generic "", but real, flesh-and-blood human beings. Turns out this isn't just a personal preference, it's statistically verifiable.

When you include the company name in the "From" field, there is a 137 percent increase in open rates. For instance, if your name is Joe and you work at Acme, Co., you'd fill in the "From" field to read "Joe at Acme, Co." This subtle change makes people twice as likely to open your emails. A no-brainer!

Hi From Kat at Trunk Club
A good example of a "From" field from men's outfitter, Trunk Club.

In larger organizations, sometimes sending from a "blanket" email address (e.g., "") is an unavoidable reality. This doesn't mean you can't personalize your "From" field. Identify a person who will be the "email face" for your company and put their name in the "From" field. Results will follow.

Solution: For an extra personalized touch, put a picture of the person sending the emails somewhere near the bottom of the message.

Email Newsletter Mistake #5: There is no call-to-action.

If we remember back to the second email mistake, most folks have a crowded inbox. Lots of emails mean you have 7-12 seconds to capture people's attention, engage them with your content, and get them to do something with what they've just read.

One of the biggest mistakes I see in sales emails is the lack of a call-to-action. There are either far too many or none at all. In short, you must answer the question, "What do I want people to do with the information I've just provided them?" (Hint: the answer can't be "everything" or "nothing.")

Do you want people to take advantage of a deal you're offering? Great. Give them a link that clearly points them to the place where they can buy. Use words like "click here" or "take action!" You want to make it plain what people are supposed to do. Don't make them guess.

Here is a good example of where to place a call-to-action. You'll see that dark red is an attention-grabbing headline, the red is engaging copy, and the green is where you place the call-to-action.

Anatomy of an Effective Email
Anatomy of an effective email.

Here's an example from Frank & Oak:

Call to action from Frank & Oak

Clear, simple, and no guesswork.

Solution: Make your CTA simple, useful, and easy to follow. Make sure the link takes them to the exact place where they can buy your product or service, or take advantage of your offer.

Read next: 10 Examples of Prominent Referral Program Calls-to-Action

Email Newsletter Mistake #6: You neglect "WIIFM."

The most common mistake you must avoid in your emails is neglecting WIIFM, or, "what's in in for me?" "How am I going to benefit from this personally?" That's what people want to know when they open your email. Nothing more.

They don't care about your company's history, how long you've been in business, where you're located, or how clever you think your copywriting is. They care about getting good deals and discounts. That's it.

Before you hit the send button on a launch promotion or newsletter, answer these questions:

  1. What's in this for the reader?
  2. Why would a busy person care to open this email?
  3. Does it benefit them personally?
  4. If so, how?
  5. If not, what do I need to change?

Solution: Make your emails customer-centric and you'll profit. People don't care about your organization as much as you think they do. They care about finding great deals.


Read next: How To Write Great Emails Asking For Referrals

Cheryl Teo
Cheryl Teo

Cheryl is a full-time Content Marketer at ReferralCandy by day and a "Learnaholic" (aka always learning something new) by night. She loves learning new languges, storytelling, and creating experiences that are functional and visually compelling. She's also always lurking on Twitter so drop by and say hi!

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