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Let’s face it. We all have bad habits, both in our personal and professional lives.

We know that these habits can sometimes be damaging, that’s why we consider them bad habits. I know that having that extra slice of pizza, or that extra scoop of ice cream is not a good idea, but sometimes I do it anyway. For email marketers across the globe, there are some bad habits that we know aren’t good, but we still do them. Some of these can be easily corrected.

Here are three bad habits to watch out for:

1. Sending one-size-fits-all emails

We know that when we send email blasts to our entire list that the performance is likely going to be poorer than it otherwise could be. But we often plug our nose, cross our fingers, and wish for the best. The most common reason we do this is because we feel like we don’t have time to segment appropriately, or we don’t know how to.

But in reality, it’s now easier than ever. While email blasts may have their place in some circumstances, top marketers are moving to what we call “First-Person Marketing”, which is the next evolution of one-to-one marketing. It incorporates data points based on an individual consumer’s preferences, behavior, interests, stage in the customer lifecycle and touch points to craft an email experience that makes the recipient feel understood and valued.

List segmentation is the cornerstone of First-Person Marketing and filtering your subscribers into multiple groups based on actions could not be simpler when you have the right data and technology to do it. The data is there, you just have to start using it. And if you’re not sure how to use it, call on your ESP partner who should be able to show you what you need to know.

Don’t be content with single digit conversion rates. Smaller and more targeted lists will always perform at a much higher rate.

2. Sending to old subscribers who have already moved on

Email marketers have a tough time letting go. Believe me, I know. We don’t like to remove the dead wood from our lists.  We tend to hold on to every subscriber with a vice-like grip. But let’s face it, your list is probably a little too bloated and you’re sending emails to people who are likely not even using that old email address.

Sending to old subscribers is driving up the cost of your email program. You’re likely sending thousands or even millions of emails to people that have moved on. Do you know what percentage of your list has not opened an email from you in the last six to 12 months? When is the last time that one of these subscribers has clicked through, or made a purchase? Do you know? You should!

And worst of all, sending to these old subscribers is not only costing you more, but it is likely also damaging your sender reputation and impacting the number of active subscribers who are actually getting your emails in their inbox as opposed to their spam folder.

Don’t focus on the number of subscribers in your list. That’s an antiquated metric that hasn’t been relevant for over a decade. Segment your list so that you can focus on conversion rates and maximizing revenue from your most engaged and active subscribers. Also, look at your unengaged subscribers and treat them differently. Run them through a reengagement program and stop sending them the same old emails that made them disengage in the first place. And if they don’t re-engage, then they’ve probably already moved on – and so should you.


3. Sending without testing

A/B or multi-variant testing is viewed too often as a nice-to-have. Each campaign we send should be an opportunity for us to understand more about our subscribers and customers.

Oftentimes the only thing that email marketers use their testing feature for is subject lines. Subject line testing is important, but we need to be thinking about the bigger picture. We should be testing everything about our campaigns. Not all at once mind you. But each campaign should have some element of testing baked into it. From the list to the subject line, to the creative, to the call-to-action.

And any results and findings from your tests should be incorporated into future campaigns and programs. I know that may seem obvious, but there are a lot of email marketers out there that test and then don’t go back and improve things on future campaigns based on the results of their tests.

In conclusion

While some of the above may seem obvious, you’d be surprised at how many companies are still getting them wrong. Believe me when I tell you, email done right works wonders. Of course, there are so many more things to discuss than these three points above, but this is a good start. Pick one of these bad habits from the list and make the commitment to make that change. You don’t have to do it all at once. After all, incremental small steps, drive steady and strategic change. And that is what will make the difference in the end.