Are You Making a Rookie Email Marketing Mistake? / Marketing Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Are you making a rookie email marketing mistake? Here’s what you could be doing wrong–and how to get back on track.

Value-based email marketing is one of the most effective inbound marketing strategies, with 59 percent of marketers increasing their email marketing budgets for 2015.

Sixty-six percent of customers have made a purchase as the result of an email marketing message, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

And the most mind-boggling stat of all: email marketing has an ROI of 4,300 percent, according to the Direct Marketing Association. For any naysayers out there, email marketing really does work.

If you’re not getting the ROI you expect from email marketing, it’s time to take a good, hard look at your program. Are you making a rookie email marketing mistake? Here’s what you could be doing wrong—and how to get back on track:

Related Article: The 5 Most Neglected Inbound Marketing Channels

Mistake #1: You Don’t Segment Your Lists Correctly or Segment Them At All

Still sending emails en masse to your entire list? Take your mouse off the “send” button for a moment and take these words to heart: one size does not fit all.

According to a Jupiter Research Study, marketers who segment their lists can improve conversion rates up to 355 percent and increase revenues by an amazing 781 percent. Yet only 11 percent of marketers actually segment their lists. Are you in the 89 percent of marketers making this rookie mistake?

One of the most common ways to segment lists is by customer loyalty. For example, you could divide your list into two groups: those that have made a purchase from your business in the last three months, and those who haven’t.

You could then send a “thanks for your loyalty” message to the first group advertising a 10 percent discount on services and a “let’s get back in touch” message to the second group advertising a steeper 15 percent discount. With advanced email segmentation, you can create special lists based on engagement metrics to customers feel unique and important, target customers based on geographic location or spend history, or even divide your email list by who previous open rate and click-through history.

Mistake #2: You Don’t Use Responsive Design

With 80.8 percent of email users reading email on mobile devices, it goes without saying that emails must be smartphone-friendly. One-third of marketers say their subscribers read emails on mobile devices at least half of the time. All it takes is a quick swipe to delete an unwanted message.

If your message isn’t easily viewed on a smartphone, most recipients won’t bother trying to read it on their computer later; instead, your message will be headed straight to the trash folder. Nearly half of all subscribers (42 percent) delete messages that don’t display correctly on their phones, according to a recent GetResponse study on mobile responsiveness—and yet only 25 percent of marketers are currently optimizing emails for mobile viewing. Yikes.

So, what exactly makes for a mobile-friendly email? It all starts with responsive design.

Responsive design uses a media query, also known as @media (a special set of CSS styles), to act as conditional statements. In plain English, this means the email message contains a little snippet of code that modifies the email’s appearance based on the size of the recipient’s screen. These style rules act as conditional “what if” statements that can do everything from enlarge fonts to change colors and alter navigation features to fit the viewing device.

The end result: your email looks great whether it’s viewed on a laptop, tablet or smartphone, and most importantly, your marketing message won’t get lost in translation.

Mistake #3: You’re Overlooking the Power of Autoresponders to Build Your Brand

Autoresponders are generic, transactional email messages that are automatically triggered in response to an action taken by someone. Some of the most common examples of autoresponders include order confirmation emails, opt-in list acknowledgment, welcome messages, product activations and more.

Most of these messages are devoid of any traces of your brand’s personality. In fact, how many of us even know what our autoresponders say?

According to a MarketingSherpa report, a full 75 percent of businesses are failing to even utilize autoresponders, much less personalize them. Most major email marketing providers offer a whole host of autoresponders and transactional emails.

These are ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ messages that can make a big difference for your brand by ensuring all communication aligns with your brand’s voice and values. Whether you add a humorous line to an otherwise dry transactional message or invite new subscribers to get more involved by checking out your latest blog post, autoresponders can play a key role in boosting brand engagement at virtually no cost to your business.

Bottom Line

Email marketing is (fortunately) not rocket science. However, if you spend all your time focused on crafting the perfect email content, it’s easy to overlook simple steps like list segmentation, responsive design implementation or autoresponder customization. Take action now to correct these rookie mistakes and maximize your email marketing ROI.

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