While there are many, many ways that you can go about reaching your target audience, one of the most effective methods is still via the good ol’ fashioned email. 

The truth, though, is that your audience is unlikely to be sitting around, waiting anxiously for your emails to arrive in their inbox. In fact, unless they’re a superfan, or you’re an email marketing expert, or you’ve got some really compelling offers going out, chances are they’re largely indifferent to the whole thing.

This is where an effective email strategy comes in. We all know that good email campaigns can be challenging to create—but it’s worth plowing some resources into this powerful tool.

Just take a look at the numbers:

Email marketing is one of the most successful ways to increase sales and engagement. Some 80% of marketers claim email is best for customer acquisition, while 80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention.

Email use continues to increase, with many people today virtually living in their inboxes. According to one recent survey, over 1,000 “white-collar workers” across the U.S. reported checking their email an average of 2.5 hours each weekday! The average person checks their work email more than three hours each day.

Additionally, email is still the preferred channel for people to receive communication from retailors, making email marketing the best way for e-commerce stores to connect with customers and keep them informed about new products, sales, or offers.

But emails aren’t just for sharing update or raising awareness; email campaigns can generate decent returns as well. Individuals who respond to a marketing email, on average, spend 138% more on products and services than consumers who purchase items after visiting a website directly. And email campaigns generate a $44 return for each dollar spent.

Email marketing can be a powerful strategy, but it’s also a challenging beast to manage. 

There are many, many ways to do email wrong, and many companies out there, filling up their subscribers’ inboxes with junk, every single day. Creating an effective email campaign is hard. And largely a matter of trial and error –unless you know what you’re doing or have enlisted the help of a professional.

Whether you’re planning to enlist an email marketing expert, or are working to create your own email strategy, it pays to learn from others’ –including their mistakes. With this in mind, here’s a look at twelve email mistakes that are commonly made by email marketers and businesses alike. 

How many of these are YOU making?

Email Marketing Mistakes


1. Not Welcoming New Subscribers

Welcome emails are one email campaign you’ll want to consider implementing, if you haven’t done so already. 

These emails have an open rate of around 50%! That’s a lot higher than other email campaigns, meaning that this can be a great opportunity to generate brand awareness –and even increase sales. 

Each welcome email results in an average of a 30% increase in revenue. They’re also 3x more likely to result in a completed transaction and increased revenue than regular promotional emails.

Sending emails shortly after subscribers sign up also help build a personal connection between your brand and your customers. Sending a timely welcome email within 48 hours of sign-up can also increase the chances of the recipient not only opening the email, but also buying a product or service from your company. 

2. Not Moving Quickly Enough

Next up, make sure you move quickly when it comes to your campaigns. While many businesses make the mistake of neglecting to send out their welcome emails until they have more subscribers, putting your campaign on the back burner is always a bad idea. 

New customers or subscribers should always be welcomed quickly and not moving quickly enough means that they’ll have more time to forget who you are. Don’t let those new customers down. Email them quickly to get them into the funnel. You can always segment and resend emails to new customers as they subscribe –no need to blast everyone at the same time.

Remember: when it comes to your subscribers, you have familiarity on your side –so treat them right!  The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70%, but the chance of selling to a new customer drops to just 5 to 20%. Don’t drive these valuable new prospects away! Instead, look to provide value, and give them a reason to look forward to your emails.

Likewise, you’ll also want to make sure your campaigns are consistent. Don’t email your subscribers one email a week, and then suddenly spam them with twice-daily emails. That’s a sure way to get your readers to unsubscribe.

3. Including Broken Links

How many times have you clicked a link in an email, only for it to send you to the wrong page?

More than 40% of companies and businesses that have utilized email marketing campaigns have sent marketing emails with broken content within the past 12 months, making it one of the most common mistakes in marketing emails.

Broken links and images can prevent your email marketing campaign from driving sales. When recipients receive broken content, they are more likely to not open future emails and to unsubscribe from your email list. It also damages your reputation and makes you look unprofessional. 

Before sending your email out, make sure all content contained in the email works. Click the links and images and view the email to double-check that the content is presented properly. 

4. Sending Out Emails With Typos

Likewise, grammatical errors can make your email seem careless, informal, and downright unprofessional. So make sure you double-check your marketing email to ensure it is free from spelling errors and typos. Little mistakes might seem insignificant, but they can distract the reader and make them focus on grammatical errors instead of your message. 

Well-written emails demonstrate that your company is professional and detail-oriented. Sloppy marketing emails with simple grammar mistakes can make your client, customer, or subscriber question the integrity and maturity of your company.

The good news is that grammatical errors are fairly easy to prevent. Make sure you have at least one other person review the email before you send it. A second set of eyes can help you catch mistakes that you may have overlooked yourself. Also make sure to run your email through a spelling and grammar checker tool like Grammarly.

5. Not Making Your Emails Mobile-Friendly

By now, each and every email that’s sent out should be mobile-friendly.

Smartphones have become the most common way individuals check their emails. Optimizing your marketing emails for mobile use is extremely important. Among all age groups, more than 70% of people primarily check their email using a mobile device, while less than 25% use computers. 

Formatting is an important consideration, as smartphones have smaller screens than computers. This means that you want to ensure that the text, images, and links in your marketing email have a clean presentation on mobile devices. Spare your mobile readers from content appearing as lengthy “walls of text.” Long paragraphs don’t work well with marketing emails because on mobile devices, they appear poorly organized.

Another key point in ensuring your marketing emails are mobile-friendly is making sure images aren’t too large. Large images can appear distorted or distracting on mobile devices. Other times, large images may not download or appear on mobile devices. The best way to prevent a poor mobile presentation is to send a test email to yourself and view it on your mobile device. Make sure that when you read the test email, you can scroll through the email without accidently clicking hyperlinks, images, or invisible buttons. 

6. Not Making Your CTAs Effective

The point of a marketing email is to drive conversions. A call to action (CTA) makes it easier for your reader to take a specific action –so make sure you’re including them in your emails. The best emails draw the reader on down through a path to conversion, making it easy for them to take that next step. 

The best way to do this is by looking to create a sense of urgency in your subject line:

  • ACT NOW and receive your free gift
  • Only 5 LEFT in stock

And then further emphasizing that sense of urgency throughout your email. Adding a time-sensitive offer or pitch will help to motivate them to take action now, rather than delay their purchase or conversion any longer.

7. Failing to Increase Subscribers

A limited subscriber list can drastically decrease the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign, so continually look for ways to grow your subscriber list.

Encouraging new subscribers to sign up is an important way to build your list and reach more potential customers. One of the most popular sign-up incentives is offering a coupon or discount for signing up. Just keep in mind that in most cases, you’ll want to offer something relevant to subscribers –like a helpful guide, free content, or even a small discount, so you don’t end up with a list of disinterested prospects with a low chance of converting. 

And of course, make sure that your sign-up form is easily visible on your website and not buried on your page. If you use WordPress, there are a number of free toolbars available, like Hubspot’s all in one marketing plugin, that make it easy to collect email addresses. While not free, OptinMonster is another great option that includes a number of handy personalization features.

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8. Sending Too Many Emails

Image source: Mark O’Sullivan

Don’t spam your subscribers! Bombarding your prospects with too many marketing emails will result in them unsubscribing from your list –pronto. 

In fact, “receiving too many emails” is by far the top reason that people unsubscribe from emails!

Make sure that your emails always provide value to your subscribers. Effective email marketing campaigns lead to conversions because they provide things that their audience is interested in, whether that’s discount codes, helpful information, or prompts during the busy shopping season. Just make sure you don’t overstay your welcome and inundate your subscriber with emails. That’s a sure way to drive them away.

9. Sending the Wrong Email

Whoops! Here’s a big mistake! While mass-mailing applications like MailChimp can be tremendously helpful, they can also make it easier to send emails to the wrong list. 

So when running your campaign, always double-check that you are sending the right email to the right people. For example, if you are intending to send an email to your company’s leadership members, make sure you don’t, say, accidentally send it to your subscribers. It can make your business or company look impersonal and sloppy. Additionally, sending the wrong email can jeopardize your clients’ and company’s confidentiality. 

10. Making Personalization Errors

If you’re going to send out personalized emails, make sure you get your readers’ names right!

Effective email marketing utilizes aspects of personalization to build a connection between your company and your clients and customers. Errors to personalization, such as using the wrong name in the greeting, can make your company look bad. 

Personalization is a successful way to convert sales and build lifelong clients. But accidently sending out emails with a placeholder, rather than a name (Hello_____) or other mistakes can make your campaign seem cold and unwelcoming. A common personalization error is using the wrong name or title, which can make readers feel like your brand doesn’t value them. It is important to double-check your email list to make sure that subscriber names are spelled and organized correctly. 

11. Neglecting to Segment Your List

The best way to provide value is by segmenting your list. 

According to the 2015 National Client Email Report from the DMA, 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns. People often unsubscribe from marketing emails because the emails aren’t relevant to them, and segmentation is key for sending out emails that include updates or offers that your audience is actually interested in.

You can segment based on things like age, gender, and location. Or you can segment based on previous purchases, email engagement, customer lifetime value, and more. Segmenting your email marketing list allows your company to more effectively manage campaigns and increases the likelihood that the recipient will open, and respond well to your email.

Look to target interested prospects with products that are similar or complementary to the ones that they already purchased, or notify subscribers when products they’re interested in go on sale. The more granular you can get in your targeting strategy, the more relevant, and therefore more effective your email promotions will be.

Segmenting your list can also personalize your customer’s email experience. You can allow subscribers to choose the types of emails they would like to receive, which promotes both personalization and engagement. 

Regularly checking the outcome of your marketing emails and segmented lists is also important as customer trends and changing needs can help you to craft a more effective strategy. 

See how you can increase your conversion rates with email segmentation

12. Trying to Do It All Yourself

Finally, while strong email marketing campaigns offer some of the highest ROIs and can significantly increase revenue and conversion rates, poor campaigns can fall flat –resulting in wasted time and money. If you’re not sure what you’re doing –and are looking to maximize your returns quickly, you may want to consider bringing a professional marketer on board.

Another risk of learning as you go with email is damaging your brand’s reputation. A poorly-run campaign can isolate potential customers and result in your companies’ email being listed as spam. Once a subscriber is lost, it is difficult to win them back. 

Another solution is outsourcing your campaign to an experienced virtual assistant (VA). As we’ve seen, a strong email campaign offers an ROI of $44 per every dollar spent, meaning that the cost of outsourcing pales in comparison to the increased revenue a successful email marketing campaign provides. 

See: How to Implement Your First Email Campaign Successfully.

Email campaigns can be tremendously effective, but their success will depend on how well they’re executed. Before you start firing off emails, you’ll want to lay the necessary groundwork. Take the time to segment your list, and develop a plan for reaching those subsets. Then formulate an email strategy that’s designed with your marketing goals in mind. Don’t forget to test and retest to see what’s working. With this approach, you’ll soon be on track for emailing success and will be able to create a winning strategy –one that generates results.

While an email marketing campaign may seem imposing or time-consuming to implement, mail clients like MailChimp can help to automate this task. Or consider outsourcing your email campaigns to a virtual assistant who has experience in running and managing successful campaigns.

Looking to drive more traffic to your storefront? Check out my other helpful article: Top Email Sequences Every E-Commerce Company Should Have –and start turning those leads into conversions today!

FINALLY, be sure to claim your FREE download on Email Segmentation, and increasing your email response rates. It’s a free valuable resource that you’ll want to add to your email marketing strategy.

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