For small, local businesses, email marketing campaigns can be a huge driver of business. They can draw in new customers and bring back repeat customers who were happy enough with your service that they agreed to receive emails from you. Businesses that are bound to their local areas — that is, those companies that are unable to ship their products or services elsewhere, such as a carwash — will especially rely on these repeat customers, because they will only have a limited pool of potential customers to draw from.

Get the local customer base flocking to your website by avoiding or fixing these email marketing mistakes that you could be making right now.

1. Skipping A/B testing

A/B testing is an important step in determining how your messages are received and which are more well-received than others. Sending the same content with different subject lines gives you a side-by-side comparison of which subject line had more people clicking. See which one works best, and ditch the rest. If you’re skipping this A/B test, your message may be going unheard because of an easily fixable problem.

2. Being generic with your email messaging

It may seem like a safe move to send a cautiously generic email message, but those boring messages can get easily lost in the sea of generic messages flooding most inboxes. Let your brand voice be heard, stand out and engage with your customers. To customers, a carwash is a carwash is a carwash, unless you show them differently. So, don’t be afraid of putting a little brand personality into your messaging. Keep the message short and on point with the help of online word count tools to track your word usage, but make sure you’re making the most out of the limited text you’re writing.

3. Treating your entire email list the same

Different types of customers will warrant different messages be sent to them. For first-time customers, you’ll want to send them messages that entice them to try out your service — perhaps a discount on the first carwash they come in for. But, for returning customers, the messaging will have to be different. Of course, you’ll want to thank and reward them for their patronage, but you can’t keep offering discounted carwashes each time they come in. The messaging for past customers may include a referral program or offers for more premium services. For those customers who haven’t come in for a while, there will once again be different messaging to try to get them back in the doors.

In short, although you’re offering the same services to your entire list, the messages for each type of customer will be very different. And, as with any messaging you’re sending out from a business, ensure that it’s properly edited with the help of online writing or editing tools.

4. Keeping your email separate from other outlets

Email does not exist in a separate world from all other aspects of your business, so it should not be treated as though it does. Connect your email with other facets of your business structure in order to make the most of your list and messaging. Sending out email surveys to customers after they’ve stopped in for a carwash is a great way to get some feedback and show them that you acknowledge and appreciate their business. And, for customers who haven’t been in for a given period of time, an email welcoming them back for a discounted carwash is a good way to remind them that you haven’t forgotten about them and you would love to have them back.

5. Not testing things out

What a missed opportunity it would be to go through all the trouble of composing the perfect messaging and targeting the exact groups, only to discover too late that errors in your messages prevented anyone from reading them. Testing your emails before you hit send is so incredibly important, because it allows you to find and fix simple errors that could potentially lead to big problems. Check that you’re not ending up in a spam folder, that your links are all working and that the overall email looks as it should on the screen. You can use a premade template to lay out a visually engaging message for your readers. You also must ensure that you are not sending out text filled with errors.

6. Going in without a plan

You want to make the most of your email database, but you don’t want to bombard your list with message overload. Plan out a calendar for regular messages — to see when your recipients may be getting too many at one time — in order to get everyone on the team on board with the schedule being set. Space out automated messages so you aren’t annoying them or driving them to unsubscribe from your list.

7. Neglecting the importance of optimizing your message

Thinking about the different devices your email could be viewed on, it’s important to optimize your message for each possible platform. The majority of emails today are being opened and viewed on mobile devices rather than desktop computers. Because of this shift, you’ll need to tailor your email for optimal viewing on mobile devices. Online email marketing tools are there to help you compose emails that are optimized for a variety of different screens. Image-only emails typically aren’t ideal for viewing on smartphones, so it’s advisable to use text or a mix of text and images.

8. Turning recipients off with the sender name

There is a balance you will have to find when deciding on which sender name to use for your emails. Use a personal name with a salesy subject line, and most recipients will think they are being spammed. On the other end of the spectrum, using a company name as the sender feels impersonal.

A blend of both is what seems to work best. Something like “Mike from Elite Carwash” tells recipients what company you are calling from and puts a little personal spin on it by choosing to use an actual employee’s name as the sender.

If “Mike” is regularly at the desk greeting customers, then it will feel even that much more personal for customers and prospects.

Related: Wash Wisdom: 11 online branding mistakes to avoid

9. Rushing your subject line

The importance of your subject line cannot be overlooked. Besides the sender name, it’s the only thing recipients will see in order to help them determine if they want to open the message and keep reading it or toss it in the trash. Testing out subject lines is a great way of seeing what works and what doesn’t, so take your time with composing and testing different ones to see what is best received.

10. Ignoring what the stats are telling you

Numbers do not lie. So, when you are given stats about how your emails are being received, do not ignore that information. If people are not opening them, there may be a problem with the subject line — or they may not be getting them at all.

If they’re opening them but not acting on the call to action, perhaps there’s a problem with the messaging. Don’t be afraid of what the numbers say, and don’t be hesitant to make the necessary changes to improve those numbers.


Gloria Kopp is a digital marketer and an eLearning consultant from Manville, New Jersey. Now, she works as a content manager at Bigassignments company. In addition, she is a regular contributor to such websites as Engadget, Huffington Post, Academized and more. Read her blog posts at Studydemic.com.