Skip to content

8 Mistakes You're Making with Your Email Marketing & How to Fix Them

Dustin Brackett
October 1, 2019

Trying to decide which CMS is right for your website?

View CMS Comparison
Read Time:
Don't have time? Download Now as a PDF

As a business owner or marketing director, you likely know that an effective email marketing campaign can bolster your conversions and increase your sales. However, not all email marketing campaigns are created equal. If you are underwhelmed with the results of your email campaigns, then it is time to evaluate your email activity to find out why your efforts have not been productive. Below are eight mistakes you're likely making with your email marketing along with strategies to avoid those mistakes.

Mistake #1: Your email subject lines are uninspiring

Remedy: Run your proposed subject line through a headline analyzer 

Your subject line will often dictate whether recipients will open your emails. If your email open rate is embarrassingly low, you may need to start devoting more attention to the headlines you are using. One of the best ways to assess the effectiveness of your headlines is to use one of the many free headline analyzers available. Such analyzers alert you to headers that are too long or too generic.

PRO TIP: Your subject lines should be no more than 65 characters long.

PRO TIP 2: Using emojis in your subject lines can help to make them stand out among all the other emails in a prospect's inbox. Don't go overboard though!

Mistake #2: Your email content is not relevant or useful to your audience

Remedy: Segment your lists to provide content that your contacts want

I think just about every inbound marketing or digital marketing conversation that we have ultimately comes back to buyer personas. It's 2018, if you're still sending mass emails to your entire list, well, you should catchup to the times!

Buyers are no longer opening or engaging with those generic mass emails. You need to learn more about your contacts and provide them with content that resonates with their interests and needs. Start segmenting your lists and provide custom content to each of your lists. You'll see much better open and click rates by doing this. We guarantee it (in the words of Tom Shane from the Shane Company.)

Need help developing your buyer personas? Well, we've got you covered! Download our FREE Buyer Persona Worksheet and get to work!

Get the Buyer Persona Worksheet

Mistake #2a: You aren't personalizing your subject lines or content

Remedy: Use personalization tokens

We are all inundated with excessive emails, phone calls, and even text messages. If you don't catch someone's attention right away, the message is going to the trash (or even worse - the spam folder). That's why personalizing your messaging is so vital.. In a world of mass marketing, we need to make our prospects and customers feel special and like we're only talking to them. Using personalization tokens will automatically call out properties such as a prospect/customer's name, company, website, LinkedIn profile, or any other relevant information stored in your database.

Mistake #3: You are sending too many emails to your customers

"If you keep bombarding your email list with emails, whether promotional or non-promotional, your subscriber list will begin to shrink at a rapid pace. In fact, 69 percent of users unsubscribe due to 'too many emails'."

Renzo Costarella, Entrepreneur and Startup Enthusiast

Remedy: Survey customers to find out how often they wish to receive emails

Marketing directors are often faced with the question of how frequently to send email blasts to clients. Unfortunately, there is no single correct answer to this question. The frequency with which you should send emails should reflect the nature of your industry and the typical preferences of your target audience.

This information will likely be discovered through your development of your target personas, but you can also obtain this information by administering a brief survey to your customer base and adjusting your email frequency in accordance with your findings.

Mistake #4: Your emails contain misspelled words or grammatical errors

Remedy: Always ask at least two other people to review your emails 

Poorly worded emails or content with misspelled words convey a lack of professionalism and can negatively impact your customers' impression of your company. In addition to using a spelling and grammar checker, ask at least two colleagues or trusted professionals to review your emails for accuracy prior to sending them.

You don't want your prospective customers to think you rushed through that email or that you don't really know what you're doing! Please, for my sanity, take extra care with their vs. there vs. they're, your vs. you're, and then vs. than. I may have a bad grammar pet peeve.😉

Mistake #5: Your timing is poor

"In order to figure out the best time for you to send an email, think about who you are contacting. What does their schedule look like? Do they check email on a phone or only at their desk?"

 - Abigail Hess, CNBC

Remedy: Choose the dates and times of your email blasts with care

Launching an email campaign haphazardly without considering time can hinder its effectiveness. While the email opening habits of recipients will vary widely according to profession, location, and industry, scientists offer some general recommendations that can help you improve your response rate:

  • Avoid weekends and holidays when emails are more likely to go unopened
  • Consider sending messages on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday when absenteeism is lowest
  • Try to send emails between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. when most people are apt to be working 

While general guidelines are typically a great starting point, you should monitor your individual data and adjust timing accordingly. Pay special attention to open rates at different times of the day, how emails are performing in different time zones and countries, and see if you can spot any patterns emerging.

Mistake #6: Your emails are too long

Remedy: Prioritize your content and keep your messages succinct 

Keeping your marketing emails short and sweet will help ensure that your content is read and easily digested by your customers. Consumers tend to respond more favorably to shorter sentences and brief paragraphs that are summarized with informative headers. As you prepare your email content, make sure your headers are eye-catching and position key content at the top of your message.

Whether we like it or not, we're in an age of extremely low attention spans. We all have a million things to do at any given time. What does that mean for us as marketers and email marketers? It means we have to embrace the fact that most contacts will only skim our emails. Making your emails skimmable (is that a word? 🤔) is important to your contact's engagement.

Mistake #7: Your content is old or outdated

Remedy: Make a point of staying abreast of the latest industry news

Including stale content in your email campaigns will harm your ability to establish yourself as a cutting-edge leader in your industry. You can remain abreast of the latest trends by subscribing to industry publications and participating in industry trade shows. Other effective tactics include introducing new products and showing how your business can offer a solution to a current industry challenge.

Sharing new content, education, or news before a contact has heard about it is one of the very best ways to establish credibility and to have your contacts see you as an industry authority.

Mistake #8: Your emails lack a clear call to action

"Having an effective call to action in your email marketing — whether part of newsletters, transactional emails or lifecycle campaigns — is a must if you want to engage and convert your customers. One of the worst things you can do is "wing it" when it comes to creating a call to action, yet this is all too common for online businesses."

- Chris Hexton, Marketing Land

Remedy: Create an email template that includes a call to action reminder

You might be introducing the most innovative product on the market but your response rate will be lackluster if your email messages lack a call-to-action. Whether you are seeking an increase in sales or additional subscribers to your blog, you can optimize your email campaign's impact if you include a call-to-action. The most effective calls-to-action are highly visible, clearly stated, and highly motivational to your customer base. 

PRO TIP: You can use more than one CTA in an email (as long as it makes sense).

PRO TIP 2: Image calls-to-action nearly always outperform simple link CTAs or button CTAs. Take the time to design an eye catching image call-to-action and watch you click through rates skyrocket!

The Bottom Line

Developing an effective email marketing strategy is one of the most important steps you can take to bolster your sales conversions. If you would like to optimize your email efforts, we invite you to contact us to learn more about effective email campaign strategies. Our email marketing experts will help you avoid the pitfalls outlined above and help you develop an email campaign that will excite and engage your customers. We look forward to helping you perfect your next e-mail marketing campaign! 


Wondering how we can help outside of email marketing? We would love to talk more marketing methods with you that can help you start growing or grow better. 

Chat With One of Our Inbound Specialists