Email marketing mistakes to avoid

Steve White 4 mins

A lot of businesses struggle with email marketing. They’re not sure what to write in the subject line, they don’t know why they’re sending an email, and they send their emails way too infrequently. The bad news is that you need to care about your subject line and you need to send emails often. The good news is that if you get those things right, your emails will be effective—possibly more effective than any other form of marketing!

Not writing a great subject line

A great subject line will grab your readers’ attention and entice them to open the email. This is important because it’s one of the first things they see when they get an email from you, so having a strong subject line will make sure that they can’t help but pay attention to what you have to say.

Here are some common mistakes that people make when writing their subject lines:

  • Using “urgent” in the subject line (you don’t want people thinking you’re spammy).
  • Putting “reply” in the subject line (you want people opening emails from you, not replying with questions or other feedback).
  • Putting “info” in the subject line (you want people opening emails from you so they can read information about something specific).

For further advice regarding how to write a killer subject line then look no further than our ‘Copywriting for Email’, which outlines 9 kickstart strategies for writing subject lines.

Not remembering your goal

One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to email marketing is your goal. Your goal is all about getting your message in front of your audience—in this case, your customer.

Your customer should be at the center of what you do, and not just because they’re paying for it (though that’s certainly a big part). You want them to feel like they’re getting value from what you send them, whether it’s an ebook or an update on a project. They should feel like they’re part of something greater than themselves—a community where everyone knows each other by name and takes care of one another.

You can’t achieve this if you forget about who matters most: the person who signs up for updates from your company or signs up for an account with yours products or services.

Being out of compliance with spam laws

You need to be aware of the laws in your country and how they affect email marketing. The rules are different for different types of emails, such as marketing vs. transactional/transactional only, as well as server-to-server vs. client-to-client.

Email marketing spam

With so many jurisdictions having their own legislation surrounding email marketing, it’s easy to get lost in the details without doing some research upfront.

Failure to comply with spam laws can result in fines or even imprisonment for those found guilty of breaking them!

Not sending your email frequently enough

Don’t be afraid to send more emails, especially if your content is compelling and relevant. The more you send, the better your chances of achieving a higher open rate and click-through rate.

Don’t be afraid to send emails more often, even if it means creating multiple versions of the same email campaign or sending two or three times in one day (as long as you know your audience).

Don’t be afraid to send emails to your entire list—you don’t have any other lists!

Don’t be afraid to send emails that are longer than others or shorter than others—it all depends on the purpose of the email and how much information needs to get across in order for it not just read but actually understood by both sender and recipient alike.

For more information regarding email frequency please take a look at our Managing Director, Steve White’s article entitled “How much is too much email marketing“.

Not optimising for mobile email users

If you’re using email marketing to drive sales, it’s important to make sure your emails are readable on mobile devices. This is especially true if your customer base is highly mobile-savvy, such as customers of a tech company or people who regularly use their phones for work. Your email should be easy to read and click on — which means avoiding bulky text blocks and links that have too many characters in them.

Mobile device displaying Dulux email

Mobile device displaying Manchester City Football Club email

If you’re having trouble ensuring your emails look good on mobile devices (or any other device), consider investing in a responsive design template that can adapt seamlessly across multiple platforms.

Not using personalisation correctly (or not using it at all)

Personalisation is a great way to improve engagement and get your emails opened, clicked on, and converted.

  • When it comes to personalisation, there are two things you can do: Add information about the recipient or include content based on what the recipient finds useful.
  • Adding information about the recipient means adding their name. For example: “Hey [firstname]!” or “Hello [firstname].” Including these simple words can increase open rates by 20%.
  • Including content that is relevant to each person in your audience will also increase engagement with your emails. It’s important that you make sure your email looks different for every person who receives them—and not just because of their name!


Remember that email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach people, but it’s not something that you can just do without thinking about it. For further information regarding how to avoid email marketing mistakes please contact us.


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