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Email marketers are on a continuous quest to maximize the performance of their email marketing campaigns. 

With more and more readers viewing emails from smaller devices — particularly on mobile — marketers need rethink their strategies and tools to reach and engage their smartphone wielding customers.

Let's take a look at what doesn't work in email marketing campaigns in order to get on the right track: 

1. Sending Unresponsive Emails

For the first time, we can claim that more emails are being read on mobile devices than desktops.

The number of emails opened from devices other than desktop computers has grown at a steady pace, with recent figures showing that mobile email accounts for up to 70 percent of all email opens. So if you haven't already, consider investing in responsive design elements so the content you send will be dynamic and will adjust to the recipient’s actual screen size.

Setting up responsive landing pages is one of the key components to optimizing the conversion rates of mobile email campaigns. Responsive landing pages can direct potential customers to clear call-to-actions and help move them along in the sales funnel.

Make the mobile landing page concise, with a clear call-to-action. Position your company's logo or branding at the top half of the page to ensure your image is well presented.

2. Not Matching Content with Target Audience

Even if your emails meet the responsive criteria for mobile readers, their effectiveness will be limited if read by a disinterested audience. 

Remedy this by sitting down and segmenting your recipients based on a number of parameters, including: geographical location, time zone, shopping history, cultural preferences, time spent on a specific product’s webpage, and the device(s) most commonly used to open emails. This critical segmentation process helps you both to understand your audience and to choose the appropriate message for users from across different access points.

Tools are out there to help with this. MailChimp and GetResponse are two of the leaders in email marketing platforms. Both enable users to schedule emails, ensure deliverability, A/B test emails, segment your newsletter and make sure your emails are optimized to mobile and tablet users.

The features of such modern platforms come into play in many ways. For instance, if you have a business-oriented message to send to past buyers, you can time the message according to when the open and/or response rate is higher, rather than simply send everything in the middle of the night. You can also onboard customers and subscribers through the use of enterprise-level automation achieved through a series of time triggered events and emails.

3. Presenting Useless Information

So you've mastered the concept of responsive email design and consider yourself an expert on email segmentation? 

Unfortunately many email marketers who have mastered these tasks still make mistakes when it comes to presenting quality content. If you fail to present adequate content or worse, use spam-like subject lines, chances are high your emails will get immediately deleted. 

Or worse, recipients may block you from sending them future emails, which impacts your churn rate and overall company reputation. Respect how busy your users are. They're turning to apps such as Typeapp to filter unnecessary, or spam-like emails to save them time. Presenting useful or actionable information respects your customer's time and helps avoid being filtered.

If you're stuck on what topic to write about, a glance at trending topics on Buzzsumo or Feedly might serve as inspiration.

4. Leaving Out 'Unsubscribe' Options

While at first glance, an unsubscribe button may seem like a fast-track way to lose potential customers, failing to include this option on email is a major mistake. In fact, this can cost you many more customers in the long run, not to mention impact your reputation.

Many email marketers make the mistake of assuming that any negative call-to-action, such as an unsubscribe button towards the end of a newsletter, will result in the recipient immediately being drawn to it. But if you focus on producing engaging content that looks great across mobile devices, the chances of recipients opting out of receiving your messages will decrease.

What’s more, laws are in place in many countries to protect consumers from unwanted content. Signed into a law by President Bush, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 demands that “a visible and operable unsubscribe mechanism is present in all emails.” So if for no other reason, don’t mess with the law.

5. Failure to Test

Why do email marketers consistently make the same mistakes? This is largely due to a failure to adopt A/B testing procedures to actually try out different approaches and strategies. 

Email testing helps marketers answer some of the most pressing questions, such as: Why was the bounce rate so high? Where did we go wrong in our messaging? Will using this color increase conversions? How can this CTA improve our CTR?

One of the best ways to optimize emails is to conduct A/B testing on those elements that are most likely to affect the readability and actionability of your emails marketing campaigns. These often include headlines, color schemes, button design, timing and the like.

Even minute changes that seem insignificant will have a certain psychological effect to the reader. For example, if you are targeting mobile email users (as you should given the statistics), determining content length and CTA placements can be key, as the recipient has somewhat limited screen size, if not attention span. In this case, you can use A/B testing to see whether or not certain slight changes will impact your conversion rates.

6. Not Measuring Conversions

Even if you were able to avoid making the five above mistakes, don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. If you failed to actually measure the performance of your email marketing campaigns, i.e. track conversions from those emails sent, you are missing the point. According to Conversioner, “CRO is about being able to truly understand customers and translate that knowledge into revenue."

You need to understand what percentage of recipients click on a link or specific CTA within an email, move along in the sales funnel and complete a specific desired action. The desired action depends on your specific targets and indicators, but some examples include getting recipients to complete a form for lead gen purposes, signing up for a well publicized webinar, or using a soon-to-expire coupon to drive sales.

Title image "Experience" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  theilr