10 common email mistakes and how to fix them

Email, Guide

There is absolutely nothing worse than sending an email to your entire subscriber list and realising afterwards that there was a mistake.

Trust me, I have been there! That feeling of panic after you’ve pressed send when you know something wrong with the email is horrible! I once sent an email the Samsung’s German market with a Greek header. So guurl, I know how that feels!

That’s why I’m going to share my top ten email mistakes that can be easily avoided. Let’s all avoid the dreaded apology email and get it right the first time.

If you fancy it, skip down to the bottom to download my email launch checklist which you can run through every time you send a campaign to ensure everything is on the up and up. I got you!

1. Not checking first name personalisation

It is more common than every to use first name personalisation in your subject line or the body copy of your email. All well in good, but make sure you check it is actually working correctly!

Avoid scenarios like this:

Email first name personalisation

It is super simple to fix – send a damn test mail! Create a test list with your email on it and send to that first to ensure that it will work in the live version.

And another word of advice because I see this A LOT – check that your punctuation and spacing around your first name personalisation is correct.

It is really common for people to omit spaces or punctuation, but again you can test this by sending a quick test mail and checking!

That way you won’t end up with text like this:

Email first name personalisation spacing

2. Not including a default for personalisation

While we are on the subject on first name personalisation – make sure to include a default in case there is no first name in your list.

But all your data is clean and every single person is accounted for with a first and last name and the name of their cat? Goody for you, but let’s face it this is not the case for most subscriber lists.

Better safe than sorry, or you might end up with something like this:

First name personalisation default

I might sound like a broken record, but there is only one way to be sure and that is to test. Include a ‘no name’ test subscriber in your test list than you can have a quick check that you’ve got everything covered.

If your subject line is ‘Emilie, are you ready?’ you can make it just ‘Are you ready?’ for people with no name in the list. Just make sure you double check that your punctuation and capitalisation is correct for both versions.

3. Having a broken link

The singular reason that you send that email is to get your subscribers to take an action, right? So for the love of god make sure that the link works! Your subscriber actually opens your email, reads it but then can’t take any action?

Major FAIL.

Just click the damn links before you send an email. Please.

No mo’ of this nonsense:

Email campaign broken link

4. Not having a mobile version of the email

Everybody and their dog has a smartphone these days, so it’s only logical that most people are opening their emails on their phones. It’s actually roughly 2/3 of emails are opened on mobile devices.

Here is some evidence to back that up from Movable Ink:

66% of people open emails on mobile devices

Checking email is a great way to pass the time on the morning commute, so make sure you are catering your emails to be mobile responsive.

A few things to think about when checking out your mobile version – make sure text isn’t too small so it can be read clearly, make sure your images are an appropriate size or swap them out for different images, and make sure all elements shrink in a way that still looks good.

Try stacking items which sit besides each other on mobile or hiding elements that are less important to make more space.

5. Spelling mistakes

It can be super tempting to bang out an email and just press send when you are done typing.

People will respect you and your email a lot more if there are no glaring spelling mistakes, so make sure to give the text a quick read before you send it out.

6. Not using all the mobile space

The old iPhones were 320px width, so lots of emails scale to this size on mobile, but phone screens are getting bigger and bigger.

Most screens are now 375px+, so it is a shame to waste all of that space. It’s the email equivalent of cutting all the crusts off your sammie.

You can see what I mean below:

Best thing to do is make everything 100% of the width on mobile so then no matter what size your subscriber’s screen is, you will use the maximum amount of space.

7. Not including a text version of your email

Believe it or not, some people still choose to receive ‘text-only’ emails, so it is important that you include a text-only version of your email.

For one, spam filters like when you  have a text-only version so your emails are less likely to go into the spam folder. And two, you don’t want people to see a plain email, you can see what this might look like with this example from Litmus:

Text only blank email example

Your text only version doesn’t need to be all the copy included in your email, but include a summary and of course the link you want to direct your subscribers to.

8. Not including ‘alt’ text for your images

Sometimes if the connection is poor, your images might not load when your subscriber opens the email.

And worse, lots of email clients block images initially anyway. Annoying, right?

If you include an alternative text behind your images, your subscriber will see that instead of just blank spaces.

This is also important for accessibility because this text will be read for the visually impaired. So make your alt text description so they don’t miss out on anything!

Email Alternative Text

You can easily add styles to your alt text as well just by adding inline styles to your image tags.

9. Not checking country/language specific content

It might be that you multiple target markets and therefore multiple versions of your email.

If this is the case, double check before you send your email that you haven’t included the wrong content for your audience

I used to work for a travel agency and we sent emails to both UK and IE but we had different links, phone numbers and images for each market.

One time I copied the IE version over at the last minute and sent it to our UK audience. Whoops!

Long story short, it’s worth checking this before sending.

10. Not including preheader text

In addition to your subject line, email clients also show a small snippet of text which is the first text it encounters in your email.

Take advantage of this extra space to get people to open your email!

You’ve only got one shot so use it wisely. More opens = more clicks = more conversions = more $$$.

Email Preheader Text

Either simply make the first text in your email relevant and important enough to be the first thing people see, or include a small snippet at the top of your email but hide it so it is only seen in the preview panel.

If you found those tips useful, pop your email in below to receive my email launch checklist which runs through everything you need to check before sending your email campaign. You can easily print it and keep it next to your desk to quickly run through each time you send out an email or set up an automated campaign. Bish bosh boom, you’re done!

Get my FREE email campaign launch checklist

Never send that ‘Whoops, I messed up’ email again when you use the my email campaign launch checklist. Just pop in your name and email address and you will receive a PDF which you can print and check every time you send out an email campaign.

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