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16 most common email marketing mistakes marketers make

  • On 15/07/2019

Are you struggling to convert your subscribers into customers? Have you tried different approaches and none of it seems to be working? Then, you’re probably doing something wrong but even if that’s the case don’t worry. That’s why we wrote this article- to help people like you. With that being said, let’s see which are the most common email marketing mistakes marketers make and how to avoid them.

Starting unprepared

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Propper preparation is a necessary first step before every email campaign but yet still a very common mistake a lot of people do. Before even thinking to send a message, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

  • Are you reaching out to the right people?
  • What type of content can you create and is that the right approach?
  • Which type of content will be a great fit for your potential target group?
  • How often will you send email campaigns?

Making a plan and answering these questions is always a good starting point for your future email campaigns.

Not setting expectations for your subscribers

The first thing a new subscriber wants to know is how often will they receive emails and about what. And this needs to be clearly communicated from the start. You might have only one email marketing goal- to increase conversions but some subscribers might stick around for different reasons. You need to let everyone know what can they expect from your newsletter and give all subscribers an option to choose which kinds of emails they would like to receive. This leads us to the next common email marketing mistake…

Not segmenting your list

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Sending a general email campaign to your entire email list might have worked in the past but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Customers today are aware of all personalization techniques advertisers use and can easily recognize when they are being a part of a general email campaign. Never forget that each and every one of your subscribers is different and hence, has different expectations and preferences. That’s why you need to personalize your messages as much as that’s possible and this can’t be done without a proper list segmentation.

Forgetting about GDPR regulation

One of the most common email marketing mistakes companies make is forgetting about GDPR regulation. Companies within the EU are aware of the new regulations and most of them respect it but a lot of companies outside of Europe tend to forget about this or flat out ignore GDPR. However, this can not only harm your reputation among your subscribers but also lead to legal repercussions.

Not sending relevant content

email marketing mistakes

Deciding whether a piece of content is relevant or not for your subscribers isn’t always an easy task. However, we all know that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. As we mentioned previously, different subscribers will have different expectations. That’s why you should aim to send several different newsletters to different groups of subscribers that you previously segmented in several different groups. For example, if you’re selling clothes, create one campaign for women and one for men where you offer different products based on your subscribers’ gender.

Writing bad subject lines

Even if you have the best email that always works, it’s not worth much if you can’t come up with an appealing subject line. Again, there isn’t a secret recipe that works for everyone but there are certainly a few rules that you can follow as a blueprint.

  • Never mislead your subscribers and avoid clickbait at all costs.
  • Don’t uncover everything and try to tease your subscribers as much as you can
  • Keep the keywords at the beginning- some of your subscribers will see the email from their mobile phone and if you have a longer subject line, they might not be able to see the whole subject line.

Forgetting where personalization starts

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I think it’s safe to say that most marketers today know how important personalization in email marketing is. However, many of them forget how personalization starts and this leads to one of the biggest email marketing mistakes which are not spending enough time in research. You can’t have personalization if you don’t have the right data. It’s simple; the more you know about a person, the more you can personalize. The first name, email address, and company aren’t enough anymore. You need to dig in and try to learn as much as you can about your prospects before sending an email.

Sending non-responsive emails

More than 50% of people check their emails on their smartphone on a daily basis. Hence, it’s extremely important that all of the emails you send are mobile-responsive. With that being said, it’s a real surprise how many people still make this mistake when sending new email campaigns.

Being inconsistent

Try to create emails that will be aligned with your brand and try to use similar times to send your emails. By being consistent you make sure your customers will associate your emails with your brand and not forget about you. If you’re being inconsistent, your subscribers might struggle to remember who are you and, in some cases, even how did you get their email address. So, take some time to carefully plan and implement your email marketing strategy.

Putting too many things in your email

email marketing mistakes

This is the reason why emails need to have goals. Without goals, one might get carried away and add a lot of unnecessary information which might be irrelevant to the recipients. This is why you have to make sure to minimize your emails and add only one clear call to action. Everything else might distract the viewer and have a counter-productive effect.

Forgetting about the email footer

Including relevant information about your company, as well as an unsubscribe button in the footer is something most users will expect. And if you don’t do this, you might jeopardize your reputation. When people can’t remember why are they receiving your email, a lot of them will head to the footer for a response. And if they can’t find it or don’t see an unsubscribe option, they might mark your email as spam. However, this doesn’t mean that you can add a bunch of unnecessary information in the footer. Keep it simple; add your contact details, social media buttons, and an unsubscribe button.

Not sending a welcome email right away

email marketing mistakes

One of the biggest email marketing mistakes marketers make is not sending a welcome email right away. If you’re one of those marketers, you are missing a golden opportunity. The most-opened and most-clicked email is always a welcome email. The reason for this is simple; the subscriber just subscribed to your newsletter and your brand is still fresh in their mind. They remember you. This is the best time to explain to them what they can expect from you and to briefly introduce yourself. This email sets the tone for all future communication and should be sent as soon as possible. If you decide to wait you’re gambling on the possibility of your leads forgetting about you until you send them your next email.

Not Looking Professional

One can come across a lot of things on the internet and that’s why most readers are skeptical when coming across new websites until they’re proven to be safe and professional and this isn’t a test you want to fail. Nothing can damage a company’s reputation like sending unprofessional emails. If you don’t want to be one of those companies, you should always make sure:

  • To check your grammar and spelling;
  • Avoid using stock images;
  • Don’t include attachments;
  • Make sure all of your personalization placeholders work- no one wants to receive an email that starts with “Hello @FIRSTNAME”;
  • Make sure your sender name and sender email match;
  • Use the same font throughout the email;

Buying Email Lists


Unless you’re a “Nigerian prince”, a “wealthy widow” looking for someone to leave her testament to or someone from this category, you don’t need to buy email lists. It’s better to build your list from scratch, especially with new regulations like GDPR and CAN-SPAM around. Even if you buy a list, the first thing most people on that list will think when receiving your message is “how did they get my email?”. A lot of them might mark the email as spam which might leave long-term negative effects on your business and reputation.

Selling too hard

You might want to increase your revenues by using email marketing but selling shouldn’t be the only thing you’re doing in your emails. In fact, it’s the last thing you should do. Instead, you should always strive to provide value for your prospects in your emails. If your subscribers get value from your emails, they will not only remember you but might even share your email with some of their colleagues or friends. Before sending anything, just ask yourself if the emails you send are valuable even if your potential customer never buys from you. If the answer is yes, proceed and see the magic happen in front of your eyes.

Not Automating Your Email Marketing

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Finally, we’ll round up this list of common email marketing mistakes with automation. Even though there are many tools on the market, a lot of companies still don’t automate their emails. If you want to learn more about the benefits of email automation, you can take a look at one of our previous articles. And if you are aware of the benefits of email automation, what are you waiting for? If you’re worried about the cost, you can get a free trial with Tabellarius and feel the power of automation right away!



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