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10 Common Email Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid

By now, we all understand the importance of email marketing. It yields the highest ROI, helps you source new leads and delight existing customers.

But a poorly designed email campaign can actually do more damage than no campaign at all.

Here are the 10 most common email marketing mistakes we see businesses making, and how to avoid them:

1. Not welcoming your subscribers 

If someone has taken the time to sign up to your email list, clearly they’re interested in your brand. They’ve taken the time to follow one of your traffic paths and have decided they like what they see. 

Welcome emails should be triggered as soon as a new user signs up, while you’re still at the top of their mind. Chances are if you wait to contact them until your next campaign, their interest will have dropped drastically.

Not only that, but welcome emails have the highest open rate of any type of email category.

Open Rates by Category

Source: Dyspatch 

There are a number of ways you can make the most of your welcome email – you can trigger a drip campaign depending on the actions they take, include a survey so that they can help segment your audience or go for the sale by offering a limited time offer. 

However, not capitalising on this information is a huge mistake. 

2. Not focusing on your call-to-action

The most important goal of any email is to get your subscribers to take action.

If you forget a CTA, or just add one haphazardly, all the time you spent creating your email will be wasted. 

On the flip side, if you give your readers 5 different options in the same email, they’re going to feel overwhelmed or conflicted and you’re going to lose out.

You should be aware of your target audience’s needs, and how you can solve them. Effective CTAs are focused on the customer, not the product, and match the intent of the email.

For example, if you’re sending out an email to inform your subscribers of a new product, then your CTA should take them right to it. If you’re holding an event, invite them and have the CTA be a link to the RSVP page.

H&M Example of an Effective CTA

Here’s an example of a simple and effective CTA from an H&M email campaign

3. Sending too many emails

The number one reason people unsubscribe from email lists is too many messages.

You don’t want your brand image to include terms like ‘annoying’ or ‘desperate,’ so you shouldn’t be emailing your subscribers daily. 

One great way to segment your audience to ask them (in the welcome email, or via a new campaign) how often they want to be contacted, or what types of emails they want to receive. 

Email Preferences Example - Grammarly

Grammarly lets me choose my email preferences so I only receive relevant communications

This is the best way to set up a mutually beneficial relationship where they’re only receiving the information they want and you’re not shooting yourself in the foot.

4. Neglecting mobile users

Most emails are built on computers. Most emails are opened on smartphones.

Your email marketing software will have a preview tab where you can see how your email will look on desktop, tablet and mobile phones. 

You need to make sure your email is optimised for every device. The entirety of the body should be responsive – and sized so that no one has to scroll sideways.

Bad Mobile Formatting Example

Example of a poorly formatted mobile email

5. Sending without testing

Piggybacking off of #4…testing your emails is the only way to make sure you’re going to wind up in your subscribers’ inboxes – not their spam folders.

There are heaps of different devices, clients and operating systems people can check their email on, so here are the top 10 ways people check their email – be sure to look at how your email displays in each of these before hitting the send button.

Top Email Clients

Source: http://emailclientmarketshare.com/ 

6. Not building your subscriber list

No matter how great your email campaign is, it’s not going to be successful without a high number of recipients. 

You should always be focusing on how to increase your subscriber list using your website, blog, social accounts and promotional methods.

7. Not segmenting subscribers

Obviously, not all of your customers are interested in the same products or services. So the same email that is relevant to one user is going to get deleted, marked as spam or convince another user to unsubscribe. 

The only way to avoid this is to segment your audience into groups based on relevant data. The most common ways businesses sort their subscribers are:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Sales cycle
  • Language
  • Lifetime value
  • Interests
  • Browsing behaviour
  • Previous purchases

Delivering relevant content to your subscribers should be a top priority – segmenting them is the best way to do this.

8. Mishandling unsubscribes

Many people may brush this off and think that the unsubscribe process is not important. 

However, if you don’t make sure that people can unsubscribe quickly and easily, people are going to start flagging messages as spam or blocking you as a sender.

This well force your sender reputation downwards and decrease your deliverability efforts – making all future campaigns even more difficult.

Obviously, you don’t want anyone to unsubscribe. But if they do, they should be able to do it with two clicks. If they have to enter their email/password or wait for a confirmation email, it’s much more likely they will take a different action that will have an adverse effect on your business.

9. Not tracking your campaigns

Data analysis is the most important part of any email marketing campaign. This is the only way to know what’s working and what’s not. It’s how successful companies attract, engage and delight prospective and current customers. 

If you’re not utilising your email software’s data tracking tools, you’re wasting your efforts and money. 

10. Falling out of touch

Email marketing is hard work. It takes a lot of research, experimentation and analysis before you’ll begin to see any significant progress. Many businesses let it fall by the wayside because there are a million things on their to-do lists.

The only way to generate an ROI from your email marketing campaigns is to have a dedicated marketing specialist (either in-house or third-party) implementing all of your best practices and evaluating the results of each campaign. 


If you’re not getting the most out of your email marketing efforts, sign up for a free email marketing assessment with our team:{{cta(’30c43aa3-d571-4753-aa25-717fa8bcb876′,’justifycenter’)}}