7 Email Marketing Mistakes To Avoid


Since the beginning of email marketing, there have always been skeptics skulking around, waiting for this channel of marketing to fizzle out. Despite dire predictions of the demise of email marketing, research supports that it is still an essential and fundamental way to engage your audience through your online marketing efforts. While social may be the hot-button for marketers today, underestimate email at your own peril.

According to the 2013 UK Email Marketing Benchmark Report, there has been a substantial increase in average email open rates, rising from 18.35% to 21.47% over the last 12 months. Moreover, the average return on your email marketing investment is now a whopping $44.25 for each dollar spent. (iContact)

This is a fantastic trend for all of us marketers that live and breathe email. However, before you hit the “send” button on your latest, killer campaign be sure you run through this checklist we compiled of the 7 most commonly made email marketing mistakes. Even the best email marketers can make a simple mistake and end up caught in SPAM filters, or even worse… BLACKLISTED (queue dramatic sound effects).

  • Sending Without Permission

Before you can send any email marketing material, you must have permission from every single one of your recipients. If you read that sentence and you said aloud, “But what if…,” then stop what you’re doing, because you most likely don’t have permission. Build your database the right way with easy-to-create landing pages and progressive profiling forms. So, are you absolutely sure that you have your customers’ consent to send them your email marketing campaigns? It is better to be safe than sorry! In the example opt-in box below it is important to note the text under the form that says, “Upon submission you will begin receiving exclusive offers, coupons, and information about weekly specials.” This makes it explicit that by submitting your email address, you are giving them permission to send you email marketing. Don’t try and trick someone into opting in by using confusing language; honesty is the best policy when it comes to building your email list.

Emails from officemax sign up

  • Sending Without Testing

If we could shout this warning from the rooftop, we would. It’s a jungle of desktop and Web-based email software out there! HTML emails look different depending on which email client—and device—you use to view them. Just because it looks good in the preview window or when you send a test to yourself doesn’t mean it’ll look like that for all your recipients. Blasting thousands of emails out on behalf of your company or clients with major html errors or funky layouts is not only a huge faux pas, but it will also significantly decrease the quality and effectiveness of your email campaign. Luckily, Email on Acid ensures you don’t have to maintain dozens of email accounts or mobile devices in order to test your campaigns. Click here to see how we can help you maximize the success of your email marketing efforts by diagnosing and improving your renderability, deliverability, click-throughs and conversions. Below is a quick preview of how our interface allows you to preview your email in 68 email client variations before you send it!

Click to enlarge.

Interface allowing you to preview email

  • No CTA

If you went through the effort of creating a killer subject line and compelling content, it is an EPIC fail if you forgot to add your “call to action” in the body of your email. The whole purpose behind you releasing an email campaign to your list is so your readers take some sort of action, whether it be clicking a link to read your blog or checking out the video you hyperlinked within the text to talk about your new product. You have interested viewers but if you’re making it tough for them to click on the deal or to use a promotion code, you’ll lose business. The Petco email below is a perfect example of a prominent CTA that grabs your attention immediately and spurs you into action. A single, dedicated call-to-action is the most powerful way to maximize your conversions. Repeating this call to action is even better.

PetCo call to action

  • Failing to Segment Your List

The one size fits all email philosophy hardly ever flies. That is why segmenting your list is a MUST. Using the data available to you is what sets a good campaign apart from a bad one. The age of batch-and-blast emails is over. Your emails should feel like a personal 1-to-1 communication. MailChimp broke down some of their customers’ data and found that, on average, customers that segmented (i.e. used data they had related to customer profiles) had click-through rates that were 21% higher than the norm. That’s a strong case for segmentation. Every email client is different in their abilities for list segmentation and manipulation but the example below is showing how the opportunities are endless in the criteria you can choose from to segment your list in order to maximize your results and reach.

Segmenting email recipients This is a screen capture of MailChimp’s segmentation tools.

  • Ignoring Simple A/B Tests in Your Strategy

Do you A/B test your emails? If you are sitting at your computer shaking your head “no,” listen up! A/B email tests are not only simple, but according to WPCurve, a simple A/B subject-line test yielded an increase of 28% in clicks… all just by changing the subject line! If you are in charge of deploying email campaigns, you MUST be tweaking, tuning and testing every element you can to get an increased ROI. So what are you waiting for? Start running simple A/B email tests such as placing your CTA in different areas of your email, including your email signature.

Campaign Monitor's segmentation toolsThis is a screen capture of Campaign Monitor’s segmentation tools.

  • Not Optimizing for Blocked Images

Want to get your message across only using images in your email? If you answered “yes,” I would advise against that strategy. Here is why: (Can’t read the reason? Please load your images). It is important to remember that up to 60% of customers have images disabled and 85% of email clients block images by default. That means that unless your readers opt to download your images, they might be missing your primary call-to-action. One option you have to get your message across with your images disabled can be done with “images off email optimization.” This is an optimization tactic that uses basic CSS to provide a background color and to stylize alt/title text. While this tactic is helpful, it can be quite tedious to accomplish.

Fortunately for you, Email on Acid has a solution that doesn’t involve a major time suck. Say goodbye to image blocking, say hello to Mozify. With Mozify you can get your important message across before and after your images are download. Mozify allows you to quickly convert any image to an HTML mosaic or to formatted HTML text. When your email is downloaded, your images will appear in all of their originally intended glory. Click out more examples and information on how we can increase the effectiveness of your next email campaign here!

Check out an example of Mozify below!

Mozify image conversion

  • Sending Non Mobile-Friendly Emails

Now that 64 percent of decision makers read their email on their mobile device (TopRankBlog), do you need any more reasons to ensure your emails are mobile friendly? One very simple tip you can use when creating your mobile friendly template it to remember that single columns are a must. While emails designed for traditional PC use can make use of multi-column layouts, 2 columns are risky for mobile devices since it’ll be likely you need all the available width to make your email viewable or legible. You should definitely avoid 3 columns or more as the email will then require either zooming or scrolling on most handheld devices. The average person checks their smartphone some 34 times a day, so make sure your email and landing pages are ready for the always-on, mobile crowd.

Emailology mobile friendly landing page Emailology mobile friendly landing page

Looking for a free responsive template that has been fully tested? Check out this blog post.

How Does Your Email Checklist Stack Up?

It’s always the most obvious mistakes that are the easiest to make. Next time you are ready to hit send, remember there are no “take backs” in email marketing.

If you have made your own email marketing checklist, Email on Acid would love to hear about it! Share your email marketing no no’s in the comment box below.

Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

4 thoughts on “7 Email Marketing Mistakes To Avoid”

  1. Thanks for sharing the blog, I highly agree with you points you mentioned in the blog, it is also useless to sending the email to those subscribers again and again not responding. It is better to send the email to those subscribers looks targeted and original.

  2. Never really took in to consideration on how emails would be read on the mobile phone platforms. Great tips.

  3. Hey I read your articles every day and I am a great follower, but never struck in my mind that you be praised for your hard work. Here’s a token for your efficiency and the hard work you put in your articles. I just love to read it.

  4. Completely agree with these email marketing mistakes.

    I also feel that these are the most common mistakes which most of the email marketers make. Sending emails with boring subject is very much common mistake.

    I never open any email which don’t attract my eyes. I always ignore or delete such emails instantly.

    Email marketers should understand that nobody wants to waste their time in reading boring emails. If you really want to convert them then you must have to send emails with having eye catchy, attractive and promising subject line. Because It is the only line which readers read first.

    So taking care of it can improve your skills.

    I am glad that you have listed all the major email marketing mistakes here so that we can learn them and can avoid them. Thanks for sharing it with us. 😀

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