Some email marketers are committing some downright cringe-worthy practices. Some of these habits fall into the “you should know better” category, while others walk the line of email laws and regulations.

To help you kick bad email marketing habits to the curb, we’ve outlined six behaviors you need to think twice about.

6 email marketing habits to kick to the curb

1. Sending emails to people that didn’t ask for it

It’s tempting to email a newsletter to the team of people you met at the conference, or email a sales pitch to a few people you found online that you think would benefit from your product or service, but it’s a bad marketing habit and violates the very core of permission-based marketing and the CAN- SPAM Act.

You should only email subscribers that have given you permission to do so. You want an email list that’s full of people that want to hear from you. Having a list of 10,000 engaged subscribers that are actually interested in your business is better than having a list of 200,000 people that haven’t asked to hear from you and are likely to mark your email as spam. You want quality over quantity.

Plus, research shows that marketers using an opt-in strategy are more successful. Marketers with a confirmed opt-in strategy see up to a 55% increase in click-through rates.

Having a single opt-in policy is a start, but we suggest a double opt-in policy. In this case, a subscriber must confirm his or her subscription via email after signing up. This not only proves a subscriber is interested but ensures you have a valid email address too. It’s better for the overall health of your email list.

2. Not segmenting your email list

Have a big sale coming up? Are you about to introduce a new service? It’s tempting to create an announcement email and hit send to everyone on your list, but that’s not a good habit.

It’s not 1991 anymore. Email blasts are a thing of the past. Using list segmentation is the way to deliver highly targeted and relevant information to your subscribers. And, segmenting your list has been proven to increase engagement with your messages. In fact, marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.

You can segment your list in a variety of ways. Here are a few ways to group your subscribers:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Geographic area
  • Work position/title
  • Industry
  • Buying behavior
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Point in buying cycle

Figure out which segments make the most sense for your business, and create emails that speak specifically to each group.

3. Sending too many email messages

Email marketing is about building and maintaining a connection with subscribers over time. That relationship begins from the moment a subscriber fills out your sign up form to get what you promised them. If your sign up form promises to send email marketing tips and how-tos on a monthly basis, and you start emailing your subscribers once a day, they’ll likely unsubscribe as you are violating your promise.

In fact, 69% of U.S. email users unsubscribe from an email list because the organization sends too many emails according to a report from Chadwick Martin Baile.

How often you send emails to your subscribers should always marry back to what you’ve stated during the sign up process. If you decide to change the frequency due to seasonality, or other factors, it’s a best practice to proactively communicate that to subscribers and let them decide if they want to receive more email from your company. You can use an email preference center to manage this.

4. Using spam-flagging subject lines

Emails that offer false advertising claims, or offers that seem too good to be true are often trapped by spam folders – as they should be.

You should never lie or be misleading to your subscribers in a subject line, or anywhere else.

Remember that the use of certain words could land your email in the spam folder whether it’s junk or not.

Here’s a list of words and symbols that could be interpreted by ISPs as spam:

  • Money back guarantee
  • Requires initial investment
  • Buy direct
  • Money order
  • Earn $
  • As seen on
  • $$$

There’s a lot of pressure to create the best subject line possible, especially since 35% of subscribers decide whether or not to open your email based on subject lines alone, but you don’t want to be seen as a spammer. To stay in the good books with your subscribers, consult this list of 80+ marketing words to improve your email campaigns.

5. Not using a call to action

A call to action, or CTA, provides subscribers with direction. Every email should have a clear CTA that allows subscribers to follow through with an action.

Whether it’s a hyperlink to your website or a bright button that takes subscribers to your purchase page – your email needs one.

Forgetting a CTA is like serving an empty plate for dinner. You’re missing something.

Break this bad habit by using these tips to create a must-click CTA:

  • Use urgent language as the CTA copy
  • Use a button or a small graphic to draw attention
  • Use a different color for the CTA to make it stand out
  • Make sure the CTA takes subscribers to a site that allows them to complete the action easily

6. Having a bad unsubscribe policy and action plan

Your emails must offer subscribers a way to unsubscribe. It’s the law. The CAN-SPAM Act requires commercial emails to have “an unsubscribe option that is easy to recognize, read and understand.” The law also stipulates that you must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days.

If your unsubscribe link is buried, or ridiculously small, it’s not cool either. Campaign Monitor ensures every email you send has a valid unsubscribe link and we manage the removal of all unsubscribes from your list for you.

Wrap up

If you’re committing any of these bad email marketing habits, it’s time to make some changes. Your subscribers will thank you for it with increased engagement and that’s a win-win.