By Daniel Randa, marketing manager at SendGrid

As companies enter 2013 with new business plans and goals, more often than not, they are unaware of the potentially critical mistakes they made in 2012, especially when it comes to sending emails.

We see a lot of companies make the same common mistakes, which are hindering the success of their email programme. Email is arguably the most direct way of communicating with customers for many companies today and failure to do this well can damage the offending company’s reputation permanently, which can also lead to a loss in revenue.

With that in mind, we have provided some best practice email tips for 2013 that you should be implementing today.

• Personalise
Personalising emails is effective when building trust with your current customers. It will also separate your emails from your competitors, many of whom are looking to blast their emails to as many people possible. This is not something you do not want to be accused of doing.

• Spell check
It might seem obvious but it is surprising how often organisations ignore spelling and grammar mistakes. Spelling mistakes make you look highly unprofessional and very lazy- two things that will encourage your customers to flag your emails as ‘spam’. The automated spell check tools provided by Outlook etc. won’t pick up everything. Always read through your email manually before you send.

• Monitoring
It is no longer optional to monitor emails, this should become second nature. Monitoring the deliverability of your emails should be done on a daily basis. You need to identify and prevent delivery failures, or you run the risk of wasting time, resources and even worse losing revenue.
We recommend adopting a cloud-based email platform that will help to monitor your emails quickly and efficiently. This will save you valuable time and help to drive the value of your business.

• Optimising Transactional Emails
Many marketers don't realise that transactional emails like purchase receipts, shipping confirmations and friend requests have a much higher engagement with customers than traditional marketing "sales" messages. Sharp marketers can take advantage of this with properly placed key messages that customers are sure to notice.

• Remove unresponsive customers
ISPs use engagement metrics to help determine how effective your emails are to your recipients, so it is in your best interest to send emails to active subscribers. Delete unengaged subscribers from your lists. If they haven’t responded in 60 days either remove them completely or put them into a re-engagement list.

• Test, test, test
Although many organisations send mistake-free emails, this doesn’t mean they are working efficiently. Test different offers to see if you can improve results by focusing on the most successful options. Constantly testing different routes to optimise your user base will produce a better email ROI.