Bad salutations, not working off feedback and static timing schedules: UK email marketers are slipping back into the bad habits so prevalent in 2006, writes Henry Hyder-Smith.

As we reach mid January, my New Year good intentions to eat more healthily and do more exercise are fast becoming exactly that – just intentions. Despite a committed start, unfortunately I’m quickly slipping back into bad habits. 

Looking at the email marketing campaigns I’ve already received in 2007, I fear that some UK email marketers have done the same and slipped back into some of the bad practices so prevalent in 2006…

Data errors causing bad personalisation
In previous editions of my blog, I made reference to the Consumer attitudes to disclosing personal data for direct marketing’study in which 54% of consumers admitted to filling in false information online. I’ll admit, I’m one of them, but at least I do so with a sense of humour (and a love for Disney characters!) Think about it, how many parents are nasty enough to name their children “Mickey Mouse” or “Donald Duck”?

Marketers that don’t eyeball their lists (or even samples sets of their larger lists) to look for blatantly incorrect information or “askjlkfdjlkjfsdlkmflkkd” sets of random characters from their keyboard will continue to self-inflict brand damage.

Ignoring what contacts do

Every email that is sent allows marketers to capture a great amount of information about the recipients. Do they open, click, convert, unsubscribe or just ignore it? 

Using this information is the key to unlocking additional revenue –

  • Why not re-email those that didn’t open the email? 
  • Why not contact those that click through and don’t buy with an additional incentive?
  • For those that you receive an out of office, why not re-send the campaign in a few weeks’ time?

As it is, I regularly open email newsletters from catalogue owners and choose not to click through on any of the products, yet they feature again in the next edition that I’m sent – what a waste of space!

Sending at the same time every week

Some email marketers run their email marketing programme from a calendar.  Every Tuesday, the weekly newsletter will be sent and every Friday afternoon, it is the “last minute” offers. 

Why? Do you do exactly the same thing every week? I don’t! 

Most ESPs can provide timeline reporting when people are opening your emails. In 2007, use this information to guide when you send your campaigns. If people are still clicking through and buying, don’t send something else – you don’t need to, and you’re creating extra demand in your potentially already busy fulfillment operation.  

Alternatively, you may be missing out on opportunities – 80% of responses to your campaign may occur well within your weekly schedule. If you send more regular communications, you may generate more revenue.

At Adestra, in 2007, we’re looking forward to speaking at more industry events to provide advice on how to avoid bad habits and to keep those email marketing New Years resolutions up. 

And now, I’m off to the gym.

Henry Hyder-Smith is the managing director of Adestra.


Also see the notes from our

Email Marketing Roundtable

in October for more best practice tips.