Like most digital marketing tactics, crafting email marketing campaigns take time and effort. Allocating resources to an initiative, only to have it not perform well can be disappointing and frustrating. Making simple mistakes in terms of design, layout, or even the process behind dissemination can be costly and lead to many missed opportunities to convert new users and generate sales. Whether its poor open-rates or below average click-through-rates, an email that doesn’t drive results can be a waste of time.

That being said, email marketing holds a wealth of potential for brands that do it correctly. Across all industries, time and time again, email marketing provides some of the best value in terms of engaging and attracting customers. If you want to stay top of mind with your customers, what better way than to pop up in their inbox?

At the end of the day, if the results of your email marketing are leaving much to be desired, you may want to review the list below to see if any of these common shortcomings hit a little too close to home. By readdressing the strategy behind an email campaign and taking the time to optimize your email for success, these pitfalls can be easily avoided.

  1. Weak Subject Lines

First impressions matter. The subject line you serve your email recipients with is your first (and sometimes only) chance to capture interest. Subject lines that lack any sort of compelling language don’t entice users to open the email and will often result in a user clicking “delete.” Successful subject lines give the user a sneak-peak at what to expect inside the email without giving away all the details so that the user has to open it to learn more. To encourage opens, sometimes brands make the mistake of crafting a completely “outside the box” subject line to drive clicks, but in reality, the copy has nothing to do with the message in the email. Misleading users to open an email with an outlandish and irrelevant subject line is not the right way to attract users.

  1. Poor Timing

Whether you use MailChimp, Constant Contact, or any other email platform, take a look at your analytics to determine any behavioral trends amongst your users. Sometimes campaigns don’t perform well simply because they’re being sent out at a time when users aren’t able to pay close attention to their mailboxes or the content inside them. Pay attention to what time of day has historically resulted in the best performance for previous emails and use that as a precedent for when you should be sending your emails moving forward.

  1. Sending Too Often

Bombarding users with too many emails is simply annoying and intrusive. Most customers are already facing a cluttered inbox on a regular basis, receiving promotional mail from dozens and dozens of organizations trying to sell something each day. If you are sending emails too frequently, you’re losing value because the messages don’t seem as important as the ones sent selectively and thus less frequently from other brands. A good rule of thumb is to stick to once a week unless a user has specifically noted in a sign-up field that they wish to receive emails more than that.

  1. Irrelevant Content

Whatever it may be that your emails are promoting, if you’re not sending users to a page on your site that reflects that initiative, you’re providing a poor user-experience. If you’re advertising a certain product, such as a women’s purse or a women’s sandal, when users click through to your website, they should be directed to a page that houses those products—not a generic page that leaves them responsible for finding the product. If you captured their interest enough to make them click through, you should be showing them more about whatever the initial spark was.

  1. Rendering Problems

It’s no surprise that mobile devices are being utilized more and more as a users’ primary device. In general as users (myself included), we’re attached to our smart phones. It goes without saying that most customers are first checking their emails while they’re on-the-go and subsequently on their smartphone, so if you’re emails aren’t rendering appropriately on a mobile device, you’re out of luck. Hardly any customers are going to open an email on their phone, find that it didn’t appear right, and then make a note to go back and open it later from their desktop. It’s asking way too much of the user and isn’t realistic. To ensure that your emails are rendering well across all platforms and devices, you need a responsive design.

  1. No Clear CTA

What’s the objective of your email? Is it to make users request a quote? Book an appointment? Buy now? Whatever you’re trying to get customers to accomplish with your email campaign, you should make it clear and easy to do so. Without a strong call-to-action (CTA) button in your email, users don’t necessarily know what next step they should take. If you have a CTA that is vibrant and prominently displayed in the email, it sets the expectation for what they need to click on in order to move forward.

  1. Failure to Test

Test every element of your email, and then test it again. Too often brands miss typos, broken links, and other oversights that could have easily been prevented had they been given a second or third glance. To this day, I remember receiving an email from a popular clothing retailer with the “TEST” in the subject line. While this is a simple mistake, I haven’t forgotten about it, and certainly didn’t make a purchase upon opening it like the marketers at that organization had hoped I would. Double check your copy, click on all links, and make sure that you’ve tested how the email appears on multiple devices and email servers—sometimes a message will appear perfectly fine on Gmail, but come across broken on Outlook.

Avoiding Mistakes, Building Success

While all of these elements will not necessarily destroy all marketing efforts your brand implements on their own, when coupled with one another and when they occur frequently, your brand doesn’t appear credible. It’s quite likely that you put a lot of effort into your email campaigns, and you want open-rates and click-through-rates that reflect that, but these seemingly trivial mistakes can hurt those KPIs each and every time they occur.