Email Fail! Top Ten Technical Errors In Email Marketing

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The good news: Service providers like Emma, GetResponse, VerticalResponse, MailChimp and Constant Contact make email marketing for health clubs, yoga studios, wellness centers and other wellness businesses incredibly efficient.

The bad news: they make screwing up your email marketing incredibly efficient, too!

Watch out for these common technical errors:

1. Failure to preview

email buttonYour health club’s marketing email looks fine on your screen – but then you see it on someone else’s and it’s a disaster. Suddenly, one sentence is HUGE. One paragraph’s in a completely different font and looks totally stupid. And why is text suddenly above that photo instead of to the right?

Different desktop and mobile browsers and different phone apps display the same email…differently. Different email providers may display it differently, too.

If you keep it simple — say, a header image, a photo and one paragraph of text — you’re probably pretty safe. But if you’re sending an elaborate email layout with lots of position-sensitive text and imagery, make sure the end result is really what you intend.

Periodically check the appearance in the most popular browsers, especially Chrome’s Gmail interface and Gmail app for Android and Apple’s Safari browser.  And if you know lots of your subscribers are still stuck on Internet Explorer, or belong to the determined minority using Microsoft Edge or Firefox — check those occasionally, too.

If you have lots of corporate subscribers and you use an elaborate email layout, check the display in the Microsoft Outlook desktop client and Office 365, too.

When in doubt — design for your mobile user. These days, it’s a safe bet that at least 70% of your readers consume your emails on smartphones.

2. Broken links

You include links to an article about personal training or a page describing your diabetes self-management program.

But…you don’t click through to test that they actually work.

Your unlucky reader does – only to get a “404 – page not found” error. If you’re lucky, they ping you and ask for help. Usually, they just shake their heads and move on.

Always click through on ALL your links right before you schedule and send. Even if they’re carried over from your last marketing email, test them again. Weird stuff happens on the web sometimes.

And don’t forget to check image links. View your email in a browser with all the images downloaded, so that you spot any broken image links, too.

3. Didn’t replace outdated images

Ack! You were so busy just getting the darn newsletter out that you never stepped back to take a look at the overall email.

So now you’ve got snowflakes and holly next to your summer camp promo.

The cure: before you schedule and send, consciously take a step back and scan your entire email, with the images loaded. Is everything A-OK – does it all make sense?

4. Didn’t replace boilerplate images

Your marketing email has a placeholder image at the top – nothing to do with your active aging business. Maybe it’s autumn leaves, or kids playing, or a seaside shot.

What happened? You were so focused on writing your content and plugging in your images that you never even thought about the masthead.

See #3 for the cure.

5. Placeholder subject line not replaced

You’ve updated your content and images and your marketing email looks beautiful.

You schedule and send.

As it goes live, you see this subject line with horror:

“?????????”

Or perhaps: “SPRING PROMO-SEND 3/15-NEED APPROVAL.”

How embarrassing.

The cure:

First, avoid placeholders like “?????.”

Second, don’t send internal messages in the subject line or other parts of your marketing email. That’s what texting, voice mail, email or live conversations are for. Keep the actual marketing email holy!

Third, never put anything in an email that you’d be horrified if you accidentally sent.

6. Outdated subject line not replaced

The subject line of your November marketing email is left over from August and says “Back To School With Healthy Snacks.”

This problem usually results from copying a previous email to use as a template.

Be super-cautious whenever you copy an email. You’ll usually need to update the content in multiple places. (And if you don’t need to make lots of updates, you’re probably misusing email marketing.)

7. Time-sensitive content not replaced

Your newsletter is still promoting a webinar – but the registration deadline is past.

Or you’re still hawking coaching for the big marathon – that happened last week.

This is what happens when you’re in a hurry. Take time to stop and actually think, instead of just DOING.

8. Failure to link to landing page

Your email’s promoting a particular weight loss program or health coaching service – one of several different programs your wellness business offers.

But the “more info” link takes the reader to your main home page, not the product page for that particular service.

Now your reader has to poke around your site to find what they really wanted. You’ve got someone who’s actually specifically interested in one of your offerings – and you’re making them search it out! Not cool.

9. Dumb sender name

You had interns set up your email marketing account. In the “Sender” field, they entered your first name, “Kristianna” or “Max”.

Now every marketing email you send says it’s from “Kristianna.” And that’s ALL it says. It sounds like adult spam. Readers ignore it or trash it.

You’re not your customers’ best friend. Don’t assume they instantly think of you when they see “Max.”

Put your full name with title, and/or the name of your business.

10. Dumb hyperlink display

You should always use anchor text when you include a link. For example, here the phrase “download this report” is anchor text which is hyperlinked to a PDF:

GOOD: Download this report on the use of statins in children.

BAD: DON’T just stick the link in after the text:

Download this report on the use of statins in children:

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/Supplement_5/S213.full.pdf

BAD: And definitely don’t do this:

Download this report on the use of statins in children:

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/Supplement_5/S213.full.pdf

Here, nothing is hyperlinked. The web address is simply plain text.

Since it’s not linked, it’s not clickable. Your readers have to copy and paste it into their browsers. If they even know to do that. Most simply won’t bother.

(Think they’ll type it in? No way.)

Finally, remember to hyperlink all email and telephone contacts included in the email.