UK businesses are losing customers due to simple mistakes, warns Emailvision.

Europe’s largest email marketing service provider has identified the most common flaws based on the knowledge gained working with over 1700 clients worldwide.

As a result, the company has put together the top five email blunders that it has seen over the past year coupled with advice on how to avoid such mistakes and achieve maximum return on investment.

5) Trying too hard – designing an email as if it was a website comes in at number five. Heavy use of flash or java script often doesn’t render properly in the finished email and can be complicated to design. It’s better to keep it clean and simple, allowing the reader to click through to a website.

4) Right to reply – adding the wrong return email address either by accident or on purpose to avoid filtering responses lands at number four. Replies can provide valuable information from problems with the email to enquiries about the product. Create a dedicated inbox account for this if you don’t want to receive emails directly and check it regularly.

3) Missing information – having a comprehensive and segmented database is fundamental for any email marketing campaign to work properly; there is nothing worse than Dear____ because the first name field is not completed. Even writing ‘Dear customer’ is preferable. Getting basics like this right is a must and a simple fix to avoid looking unprofessional.

2) All image but no text… - sneaking into the number two slot is sending mails that are purely image based with no text. Many ISPs don’t automatically download images so recipients are left with blank boxes. This makes it hard to track response rates. Always make sure this is considered in the email design and use a tool that demonstrates different ISPs or send a test mail to yourself first.

1) Stopped as spam – this is the number one fundamental flaw and probably the easiest to fix. Words in subject lines such as WIN A GREAT PRIZE will not get past spam filters. Customers will have opted in to receive emails, so make sure they get through!

“In today’s economy, return on investment has never been more important as marketing spend is now analysed and questioned by senior stakeholders,” said Nick Gold, UK managing director at Emailvision. “Companies can’t afford to be making such simple mistakes and missing potential sales. The fundamental aims of any campaign should be high deliverability, targeted mailing, maximum click-through rates and basic personalisation – don’t let the email be the reason customers go elsewhere.”

Published on: 10:06AM on 10th March 2009