The Worst Mistakes You Can Make In Email Marketing

An email marketing campaign is one of your greatest marketing assets. However, it can also easily become your biggest folly. These campaigns walk a fine line, and it’s important to understand the things you can do to completely ruin your marketing campaign so you don’t make these fatal mistakes.

1. Generic Forms

One of the worst things you can do with your marketing campaign happens before you even have anyone to send emails to. If you have a generic email capture form, your website users won’t get excited. People see dozens of web forms every day asking them to sign up now or submit information. When these look the same, say the same things, and don’t have anything interesting, people tend to glance over them as if they weren’t even there.

You need to do something great with your email capture form. It needs to catch your visitors’ attention. Otherwise, they’ll likely look at the form, and not even process that it’s there. Along with this, you need to make sure that your form is in an easy-to-see spot. If your visitors don’t see it, they won’t be filling it out.

2. Unsustainable Claims

Image via Flickr by Ged Carroll

If you want people to unsubscribe from your email campaign, make a ton of ridiculous and unsustainable claims. These claims could be about the product you’re selling or the company itself. Either way, too many marketers think that the crazier the claim, the more people you’ll interest. However, people like the truth, not fiction, when it comes to email campaigns. No one likes being lied to. Make sure that you’re only making statements that are true and verifiable.

3. A Single Email “Campaign”

Image via Flickr by Ian Lamont

You need to make sure you’re making the most of the email addresses you get. One of the best ways you can do this is to create an actual email campaign. This may seem like a lot of work at first. You’ll need to create numerous emails and offers, all with interesting information and headlines. If you don’t, you might as well have not gotten the email address.

If you only send one email after someone signs up on your website, your conversion rate is going to end up being much lower than you want it. Few people actually purchase anything with an initial email. One of the biggest benefits of an email campaign is that you’re constantly getting your company’s name in front of people. You can’t do this with a single email.

4. Harassing Emails

Image via Flickr by Tomi Tapio K

On the flip side of the single email, another big no-no is harassing your customers. You don’t want to send too many emails pushing people to buy your product. At most, you should send an email a week. More than that, unless you are offering daily specials, is overkill. People get irritated with spam, and are more likely to unsubscribe if they feel you are sending too many emails. Many companies have found that the best timing is either once a week or once a month, depending on your product and what you have to say about it.

5. Boring Content

When you get an email, do you read through the whole thing, or do you skim and decide if it’s interesting enough to read? Most people skim their emails, especially emails from companies. You need to make your content interesting to draw people in. There are a few ways you can do this. First, you need to make sure that you have interesting headings. Are you saying something eye-catching? If not, people are going to go through the email without actually reading it, then they’ll delete it. This is one of the worst things you can do for your email campaign.

In addition, you need to offer your readers something other than just an advertisement. Give them the top ten reasons to use your product, five ways your product crushes the competition, or other interesting topics. If there’s something going on in the world that you can tie to your product or service, write about it for your readers. This will keep them engaged.

6. Inconsistent Style

Users don’t like change. That’s all there is to it. Because of this, you need to think long and hard before you make any significant changes to what you’re offering readers. If you’ve been offering a newsletter with tips for the last year, and you all of a sudden change to only ad emails, you’re going to get a slew of unsubscribing. Along with this, make sure you’re careful about changes to the format of your emails. If a reader is used to finding specific information in one area, and you move it, they’ll likely get frustrated.

This is not to say that you can’t change content styles or format at all. If you decide to make significant changes, let your readers know well in advance. In 3-5 emails prior to the change, include a section that lets users know the changes are coming, and exactly what those changes are. This will help them be prepared.

7. An Ambiguous “From” Line

If readers can’t identify your emails as from your company immediately, they are less likely to open the emails. This means that you need to clearly identify your company in the “from” section on the email. This will show them not only who the email is from, but also that you are trustworthy. You’re not trying to fool them with who the email is from. If you have your first and last name, but not the company name, it can come off as if you’re trying to get people to open your email because they think it’s from someone else.

When you’re putting together your email campaign, you need to make sure that you’re planning ahead. How often are you sending emails, and do you send personalized emails? These things help you keep a great campaign going.

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By Jon Correll

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3 thoughts on “The Worst Mistakes You Can Make In Email Marketing

  1. Hello!

    This is Bryan Knowlton over at the Daily Blogcast for Internet Marketing.

    I just wanted to let you know we discussed your blog post on our show and would love if you could help get the word out to your readers!

    Episode 006 – Search Engine Roundtable – Matt Cutts at Pubcon – Small Businesses throwing $$$ away on PPC – Worst Mistakes in Email Marketing – Google Dance

    We found the article to be well written and decided to feature it in this episode. If you woud like to provide any additional comments, you can do that directly at the bottom of the page listed above.

    Since this is a Daily Podcast, we will definitely be visiting your blog from time to time to find more great articles to discuss. If you would like to leave us a comment, question or a voicemail, you can do that on the right side of the page at

    Again, thank you for the blog post! Without it we might have not had much to talk about! 🙂

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    Thanks again!

    Bryan & Mark – Because reading is hard…

  2. Completely agree with these email marketing mistakes.

    I also feel that these are the most common mistakes which most of the email marketers make. Sending emails with boring subject is very much common mistake.

    I never open any email which don’t attract my eyes. I always ignore or delete such emails instantly.

    Email marketers should understand that nobody wants to waste their time in reading boring emails. If you really want to convert them then you must have to send emails with having eye catchy, attractive and promising subject line. Because It is the only line which readers read first.

    So taking care of it can improve your skills.

    I am glad that you have listed all the major email marketing mistakes here so that we can learn them and can avoid them. Thanks for sharing it with us. 😀

    1. Thanks for the comments David. Since email is being used less and less, the challenge only becomes greater. Next level is learning how to engage your prospects and customers on multiple levels in multiple media areas. It’s gonna make it fun for sure!! Keep on rockin’ the conversions

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