Email Marketing Mistakes that Pack a Punch

by Victor Green
3 mins read

The internet is full of articles on how to conduct effective email marketing campaigns. Even with such resources, mistakes still happen, some more often than others. Unfortunately, it is these common mistakes that almost always end up costing the marketer. Here is a list of some of the costliest email marketing mistakes, and how to avoid them.

Unsolicited messages

Many marketers send messages with the false belief that customers gave the consent to receive them.  It does not matter whether you believe it or not, sending a message to someone without actual verifiable proof of subscription is considered SPAM. Do not be in too much of a hurry to realize that this will impact the reputation, respectability and reputation of the brand. Unsolicited messages only have a negligible return on investment, and might even be considered borderline illegal. At the end of the day, they will not be worth it. Conduct a responsible campaign that involves seeking consent and only sending messages to those who agree.

Subject lines

It is one thing encourage people to click, but another to have an overhyped subject line. A seemingly attractive subject line might get more opens, but this will be at the expense of the company image and customer trust. When emails consistently have headlines with very little substance, recipients associate them with SPAM techniques. It is even more annoying when a headline implies one thing and the email provides a completely different message. Encourage people to click, but do not overhype the tagline. More importantly, maintain value and integrity when providing content.


The email marketing field is a dynamic and rapidly evolving one. There is stiff competition, and this might tempt businesses into hurriedly sending messages without testing in a bid to get ahead of the competition. It is relatively easy to spot and rectify a problem in an email. When testing, make sure the links work, the images load properly across different platforms and that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes. Even more important to the outcome is the ability to test the results. Pick out a small portion of the list and test variations of the message on them, make sure the messages being rolled out to the whole list are the most effective ones.


Successful email marketing requires an understanding of recipient reading habits. Many people skim or scan through marketing emails when they see them, only settling down to read them if they find something interesting within. Leaving out the message preview can therefore be one of the costliest mistakes you can make. The preview text near the subject line, called pre-header in many circles, allows the sender to expand their offering from the short and simple subject line to a more detailed call. The most important element of the email is the subject and the sender. Whatever the case, the recipient has to recognize the sender and the subject must convey to them that there is something worth their time within the email.


The focus on return on investment is growing, and marketing execs are under immense pressure to provide tangible results and proof that marketing expenditure is effective. However, many people do not take test numbers and message statistics as seriously as they should. Every piece of information is an important message that the marketer must learn from. Numbers can give detail on the click, open, unsubscribe and delivery rates of the company emails. Furthermore, over time these numbers help the sender anticipate potential issues and determine the most effective time and frequency for mailing, both for inactive and inactive subscribers.


Whatever the platform, content is king. It has become cliché in email marketing for companies to send follow up messages that offer nothing much to the reader apart from the generic urge to click on something or pay. Do not make the mistake of cold selling within an email; it will likely take more than the one attempt to convince a customer. Instead, focus on making the email so valuable that potential customers read, share, respond and talk about them. Recipients will be excited about the company products and services, translating into high returns on investment. Do not rush it, but build a strong relationship over time and offer the customer something they can use. Give them content, not a price tag.

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