Nicola Peaty

Common email marketing mistakes

By Nicola Peaty

email-marketing-mistakesWe all log into our email accounts expecting to delete a load of irrelevant and annoying emails before we get to the ones that catch our eye and are of genuine interest. Those types of emails we will take the time to open and read and maybe save for later or click through for more information.

So email marketing can work and should not be ignored as an important marketing channel. Just try and avoid some of the common email marketing mistakes which will get you unsubscribed before you even started…….

Opt-ins only: Make sure you have built your database list of email contacts through consented permission, which has explicitly explained the purpose to the contact and managed their expectations as to what they will receive as a consequence giving their email address. It will save a lot of unnecessary bother plus time and effort in sending them a beautifully crafted email, only for them to immediately unsubscribe. Plus, make sure that you include opt-out and unsubscribe options, as everyone should be entitled and surely you only want to target those who actually want to receive your marketing information.

Test and check: You cannot test and check your emails enough. This means on the various devices now available including mobile. The appearance will look very different to how you want it to if you have not considered the interfaces displaying your emails. Chose text or html where applicable for your audience. And do A/B tests to assess the best results of various options, such as offers and CTAs.

Timing: You should research and find out when the best time of day and day of the week your customers will be most receptive to opening and reading your emails. It may be better in the evenings for some or Fridays depending on the type of content. Also, consider the frequency. Too often could get you unsubscribed, too little will leave you forgotten.

Relevance: Segment your customers and target relevant messages to their relevant segment. By sending the right information customers will appreciate the email and build that brand affinity. The more personalised you can make the email the better so that they feel you are really talking to them as an individual and that will help build a closer customer relationship. Keep your database up-to-date at all times so that any intelligence is captured and can aid the significance and power of your email marketing.

Track response: There’s little point in any marketing unless you monitor its performance. At least email marketing can be tracked with open rates, click throughs and like it or not unsubscribes. Therefore, you have no excuse not to track the response of your email campaigns to assess what is working and perhaps areas you need to improve. This links back to the A/B testing to give that comparison and try various options. CTAs (calls to action) are essential to give the email purpose, so ensure you have included either a link to a landing page, an email address, a concise enquiry form or a telephone number for a specific contact. All of which should be traced back to the email which generated the response. Include a promotional code to quote if necessary, but just make sure you have the optimum analysis to assess the email’s ROI.


Subject line: We all know the words which we avoid in a subject line and delete the email as a direct consequence. Spam filters do the same. So don’t use the obvious buzzwords like ‘Free’, ‘Special offer’ or ‘Per cent discount’. Be concise but be clear, this is no time to be ambiguous as you’re fighting for a split second of attention. Hit them with relevant words that you know is of real interest to the customers.

Blocked images: Some recipients will have disabled their images, which means you have to rely on them to download images if they want to view them. This could significantly affect your whole email campaign and lose the purpose and message of your communication. Again, this goes back to test and checking your emails and having a plan B option so that you are not denied the full impact of your email.

When to share: What’s important to your customer may not always be the same as to what’s important to your company. Only share information via email when it’s of 100% value to the end user. There may be other channels such as social media which are more appropriate for certain messages. A new product launch is important and can be justified via email. Joe Bloggs in Sales getting married may be more suited to Facebook.