Email Marketing Mistakes for Small Business Owners to Avoid in 2014

Email Marketing Mistakes for Small Business Owners to Avoid in 2014

Customers get so many emails daily that it’s hard for the messages of small businesses to standout in the crowd. Those emails that do pique customer interest are rewarded with a high return on investment. Research done by Reachmail shows that for each dollar a company spends on email marketing, they stand to reap, on average, a $40 profit. If effective emails raise revenue, then surely those with glaring errors yield loss.

email marketing mistakes
Silly email marketing mistakes you should avoid in 2014

Here are the biggest mistakes to avoid in 2014 so that your small business is among the financial success stories when it comes to email campaigns.

Fail to profile customers

Many companies operate with just a fuzzy idea of who their prime audience is. Then, they cater to their suspicions with non-specific ads or ads that focus on things buyers really aren’t interested in. Contracting with a marketing analyst who can research every customer demographic and create profiles that detail their interests, passions, product uses, needs and overall lifestyle can help your small business shift from sending generic emails that get deleted to sending tailored emails that get clicked because they accurately appeal to the recipient’s tastes and preferences.

Be a Brand Chameleon

Not only is it useful to understand the personality of your audience, but small businesses need to under their company’s personality or culture as well. Customers feel most comfortable with businesses who are confident in their identity and who don’t pretentiously change from campaign to campaign in order to win the favor of certain readers, whether its teens or geeks or rebels or bohemians.

Choose a tone, a set of principles and an image and stick to it. Let that personality permeate all your marketing correspondence. Of course, all brand elements should reflect the company’s personality in style, colors overall design and should be included in all email campaigns.

Be Overly Formal and Cold

The casual nature of the internet has created a modern customer that craves connection and a warm, personable nature – even for businesses. Small companies have an advantage in their respect as they tend to put forth this style of interaction more so than big box companies do. Still, efforts should be made to balance the professional polish of your email campaigns with an engaging, open style that makes the customer feel like they are being given personal help and buying recommendations from a trusted advisor.

Never Google Your Brand

Frequently short-staffed with workers jugging multiple roles, small businesses are very busy and often don’t take time to keep taps on what folks are saying about them online. This is a big mistake. Many customers often decide what to buy based on something they’ve read on social media, whether it’s written by a stranger or a friend.

Fortunately, businesses can shape digital word-of-mouth by participating in the chatter; they can offer rebuttals, apologies, explanations, conciliatory offers. By using resources, such as Google Alerts or Social Mention, businesses can easily track what people are saying about the company. Don’t just react to bad-mouthing; use the positive comments to glean what customers like most about the brand and what the most popular products are. Then, use the positives to shape upcoming email marketing campaigns.

No Assessment – Before or After a Campaign

Using measuring tools before sending an email blast can help companies determine the effectiveness of everything from tone to images to the subject line to the layout to the all-important call-to-action. Use focus groups or company employees to get feedback on the design and content of the marketing campaign.

After the campaign has ended, it’s time to evaluate again. Compare bounce rates to open rates. See what links were clicked and how often. Monitor whether the clicks led to actual conversions and, if so, who were the purchasers — the long-time loyalists, or new customers? If the company attracted new prospects, what exactly was the acquisition rate?

Measure beyond activity on the company website or web store. Look at what was products or services in the advertising campaigns got tweeted, posted on Facebook or pinned on Pinterest. Cut down on evaluation time by using special analytical software that can look at all these factors.

Fail to Define Clear-Cut Goals

After measuring factors associated with a campaign, how can a business know they are successful unless they have predetermined goals and thresholds? They can’t. Be sure to identify what you want each email campaign to achieve: customer loyalty, brand mentions, an expanded subscriber list, increased patrons in a certain demographic, etc.

Avoiding the above mistakes can help a small business maximize every campaign.

Ivan Widjaya

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.