SMEs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) do not need to be an ASOS or John Lewis to deliver effective email marketing to their audiences.

Even though these well-known retailers may have hit the top spot as the most influential brands in email marketing, complex business operations, advanced technologies or big budgets are not needed to gain success from email. These brands simply used smart tactics and techniques to get their customers’ attention online and these methods can be adopted by anyone and everyone.

It is no secret that email marketing works. In fact, 80% of shoppers prefer to interact with retailers via email and with an ROI (Return on Investment) of £30 for every £1 spent, according to the DMA, it is a no-brainer for businesses of all sizes.

Unfortunately, despite its obvious benefits, there are still some clear mistakes being made. Email marketers take note, here are the five most common mistakes our industry makes.

1. Forgetting to introduce yourself

Welcome emails offer an effective way to introduce your brand to new customers and subscribers. Having recently given their permission for you to send them communications, this first contact is the best opportunity your brand will ever have to kick off a regular conversation.

With today’s consumer expecting to receive a welcome email, or a basic thank-you message at the very least, it is the marketing equivalent of an open goal – yet too often the opportunity is missed. In fact, 14% of brands do not send welcome messages, missing out on a readily-available chance to foster engagement with prospective customers.

And for the best impact, make sure your welcome emails have exciting subject lines that stand out from the pack; include a clear, call-to-action for the recipient; and ensure that your messages are optimised for smartphones (research has found that over a third of consumers only use mobile devices to read emails).

2. Bombarding customers with boring content

Newsletters have long been a staple of email marketing, offering a chance for brands to update consumers on their latest developments and offers of interest. However, despite their potential, the recent DMA report found that only around a quarter of marketers felt newsletters to be an effective means of communication.

Part of the reason for this may stem from a lack of personalised, targeted newsletters. Our own research found that while 92% were sending offer-led newsletters, many of these were described by customers as irrelevant or inappropriate. This must change. When used properly – with snappy copy, personalised content, and well-timed offers – newsletters can be a vital touch point between customer and brand. Through dynamic content, that changes depending on the target audience, organisations can ensure they are developing worthwhile newsletters that informs, excites, and captures the attention of their audiences.

3. Not closing the deal

Imagine a customer walking into a store and browsing the contents before picking up an item, taking it to the checkout queue and then suddenly dropping it and wandering out of the store. It would be an odd sight in the real-world, but online it is an all-too-common experience for retailers. Abandoned carts happen for any number of reasons – from distracted customers to website issues – but it does not have to mean a lost sale.

Sending a reminder about abandoned carts can be hugely effective in prompting customers to return to your site and complete the sale, yet our research found that 60% of retailers are failing to follow up on these golden opportunities.

Importantly, while cart recovery emails should incentivise customers to head back to the site, it does not have to be a discount code. Anything from recommended products through to warranty information can help spur a return visit that leaves your business better off.

4. Missing out on feedback

Just as in any relationship, when it comes to communication between brands and customers, it should be a two-way street. Nothing is more frustrating than feeling you have not been listened to, which is why asking for feedback following a purchase is wise (as long as you are willing to act on the feedback).

An automated post-purchase email is an effortless way of showing that you care and value your customer’s opinion. Yet, nearly half of companies 46% do not send anything.

The other benefit to post-purchase feedback requests is that your business can collect invaluable insight into how your services can be tweaked, refined, or improved.

5. Too many messages

Consistency is crucial. Jumping from message to message or style to style can confuse customers and turn them off. It seems simple but following clear brand guidelines can be all important and will do wonders when it comes to ensuring customers have a distinct understanding of what your business is and what it can offer them.

Email marketing cannot be forgotten in the age of digital – and our research shows it is certainly not dead. Companies sent an average of four marketing emails per week, but it is more about the quality, not the quantity. Of course, achieving both of those is the ideal.