9 Mistakes Local Businesses Make in Email Marketing 

Learn how to take control of your email marketing and avoid common mistakes. Here are some best practice tips.

The 9 Mistakes to Avoid 

1. Failing to use an email marketing provider

Please, please please, if you don’t do anything else on this list but this tip, use an email marketing provider. My favorite is Constant Contact. Their platform is easy to use and set up and affordable.

Sending emails through your Outlook or Gmail accounts is a risky game.

You risk violating CAN-SPAM and CASL anti-spam laws. Did you know you have to provide a way for people to unsubscribe to your email list? And that you must provide business contact information in your email. All things providers include in their services without you having to add it in each email.

And you are also missing out on vital analytics and insights into your open rates, click-through rates, bounce and unsubscribe rates. 

You fail to have any insight into how your emails are performing and tracking list health. 

Plus these providers offer sign-up forms and pop-up options to allow people to sign up to your email list from a pop-up on your website, in a webform you share on social media, in blogs, articles, at in-person events and more. 

2. Sending boring information that is not audience-focused.

If you are sending newsletters that have information that is not relevant or of value to your audience they’ll quickly stop opening your emails and likely even unsubscribe. 

“Boring” is subjective and that is why the biggest way to not send boring emails is to know your audience inside and out. Know what they need from you, what they like and create that content. 

That is why step #1 of business is Know Your Audience, that’s the only way to know what they need and serve it up for them.

3. Not using a lead magnet people actually want 

It’s easy to think up lead magnet ideas. It’s harder to determine if they are really what people want. 

It takes a little time and looking at the data to decide if your lead magnet is actually something people want. A few questions to ask:

  • Do you have people consistently signing up for your lead magnet
  • Has your lead magnet been updated recently
  • Is your conversion rate on your sign up/pop-up pages above 10%?
    • If not, try different messaging
    • If still not above 10%, try another lead magnet

Conversion rate over 10% but under 20% try different messaging to get closer to 20%

4. Not emailing an existing list regularly, or not providing value and only selling

Be careful of asking for sales too much in your emails. Your emails should nurture your audience by providing value, education or entertainment. 

The sale is subsequent and in today’s marketing landscape building relationships should come first. 

Write your emails like you are talking to your customers in person and providing the best customer service possible.

5. Using crummy subject lines 

This is the worst. While reputation and your name drives many email opens, before you gain that “reputation” your first impression in someone’s inbox is the subject line. Make. It. Count


6. Not consistently creating core content

This is indirectly related to email marketing. 

When your customers first sign up for your emails, send your them links to your core content as a mini roadmap to get more information and learn more.

Core content is vital to your marketing strategy overview. Having core content that is created weekly, bi-weekly or monthly helps keep your site fresh for search engines, and provides social media content ideas/topics so you aren’t wondering what to post about.

7. Not spending money on marketing 

Gone are the days that you can get online, start posting your ideas and all of the sudden you have a following.

Now we have to spend a little money to gain some traction. I recommend starting with social media ads on Facebook and Instagram, those are cheaper and easier than Google. 

Google Search or ads through Google My Business would be step 2 for local businesses.

The good news for local businesses is that you can start with $100 a month on social ads to test the waters, see what works and fine tune your audience targeting. Want to learn more on how to do this? Join us in the Profitable Small Business to gain access to the learning library 

8. Not designing your emails for mobile viewing  

Check your stats, I have a few clients who have audiences who are on desktop more than mobile, but we still design our emails to look good for our mobile users. 

Many businesses however have an audience who are overwhelmingly mobile users, ensure you know which is your audience and build your emails with that in mind.

9. Avoiding List Clean-Up and Audience Segmentation 

Growing your list and never looking at it again, can result in old outdated contacts that haven’t opened your emails in years. 

It’s a good practice to do a list clean-up every 6 months. Most email marketing providers have tools on their platforms to help you do this quickly, don’t fear it’s not a manual process.

Need more online marketing help for your local business? Check out the resources below.

Marketing Resources:

Get More Great Business Growth Ideas
Profitable Small Business Group start your trial membership
Constant Contact – My favorite Email Service Provider for small businesses


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