Email marketing mistakes


Creating emails sounds as though it should be the easiest thing in the world.

You work out what you want to say, you put it into your email marketing software’s template, you pick the list you want to send it to, and then you send it.


If it were that simple not only would you be inundated with sales enquiries, you’d have a marketing list that runs into the zillions.

But you don’t, which means something’s wrong.

The title of this article talks about 4 mistakes that are killing your email campaign. In reality there are far more than 4 things you could be doing wrong, but these are by far the most common, so they’re a pretty good place to start.

Poor subject lines

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, the subject line of your email will determine whether it gets opened or not.

It’s the first thing people see and therefore it could be argued that it’s the most important part of your email (although the body of it is pretty crucial too).

Have you ever done any of these?

  • Written a cryptic subject line in the hope curiosity will get the better of the recipient and they’ll open it?
  • Come up with something that’s attention grabbing, but doesn’t actually reflect what’s in the email?
  • Used all capital letters to try and grab their attention?

You have?

Oh dear, that could be where you’ve been going wrong.

There’s nothing wrong with getting creative with your subject lines, but it’s vital they actually reflect what your email is about. If you promise one thing and then don’t deliver you’re waving good-bye to any element of trust your recipient had in you.

In short, keep your headline relevant, clear and never, ever write it all in capital letters.

What do you want me to do next?

Email marketing is all about building relationships.

You give great information, but you also want your reader to do something for you – buy, sign up to something, click through to your website – whatever it is, if you don’t ask it won’t happen.

That means including a very obvious call to action.

Whether it’s hyperlinked text, or a button, make sure it stands out because you want them to click on it.

Who are you writing to?

Yes, that sounds like a stupid question, but take a look at the last email you sent. Did you focus on the customer and his needs, or did you focus on your business and what you’ve done?

If you want the recipient to buy from you (or whatever the aim of your call to action is), you have to make sure your message is all about them.

The only thing they want to know is how you’re going to make their life easier.

They don’t really care if you’ve been to a trade fair, or whether you’ve just secured a new client. They want to know why they should spend their time reading your emails.

Make sure your message is 100% focused on them.

Long is boring, short is sweet

Another common mistake is not knowing when to stop.

An email of about 400 words is far more likely to be read that one that tops 1000.

Keep your message short and sweet, easy to read and completely focused on your reader.

If you want to share an article with them that’s quite lengthy, write a short teaser telling them why it’s of benefit to them and then link out to it.

It’s easy to get carried away sometimes, but by keeping your emails concise you’ll keep your readers happy.

Over to you

So come on, be honest, how many of those mistakes do you make?

As I mentioned earlier there are many more factors that will affect whether your email campaign is a success or not, but getting these basics right will give you a good start.