- Last Updated: Dec 13, 2023
- 12 min. read
Macy StormSenior Content Creator
- Macy is a marketing writer with over five years of experience creating content for dozens of industries including food and beverage, home services, and education. She also specializes in creating SEO and PPC content. Her work has been featured by Search Engine Journal, HubSpot, Entrepreneur, Clutch, and more. In her free time, Macy enjoys trying new crafts and reading comic books.
With email marketing driving $44 for every $1 spent, this strategy is one of the best ways for you to nurture qualified leads into sales for your business. If you want to maximize your return on investment (ROI), you must ensure you create an effective strategy. And that means avoiding common email mistakes.
On this page, we’ll share nine email marketing mistakes to avoid, including:
- Neglecting the welcome email
- Cutting off subject lines
- Unprofessional design
- Neglecting your call to action (CTA)
- Forgoing personalization
- Sounding overly salesy
- Refraining from using automation software
- Neglecting to test your emails
- Forgetting to prune your email list
Keep reading to learn more about these common email mistakes and how to avoid them!
1. Neglecting the welcome email
First on our list of email marketing blunders is neglecting the welcome email. Once people decide to sign up for your email list, you don’t want to leave them hanging. You want to show them that you appreciate them joining your email list while also providing them with more information about your company.
Many businesses neglect to send a welcome email, leaving these subscribers hanging. Don’t make this email marketing mistake, as it can send a negative message to your audience and make them feel like they aren’t crucial to your business.
How to avoid this email marketing mistake: Send a welcome email. The best way to avoid this email marketing mistake is to send a welcome email.
In your welcome email, you’ll want to:
- Thank the subscriber for joining your email list
- Explain to them what they’ll receive by signing up for your emails
- Highlight some products or services of your business
In this example from Cars.com, you can see they provide all this information in their welcome email.
2. Cutting off subject lines
Next on our list of email marketing blunders is cutting off subject lines. Many companies make the mistake of sending emails where you can’t see the complete subject line. While it may not seem like a big deal, it can strongly impact whether your subscribers engage with your emails.
First, cut off subject lines can come off as unprofessional. They may appear sloppy, or the subject line may not make sense because it was cut off. Not to mention, you also risk your subject line getting cut off at the wrong point and giving your email another meaning.
In the example below, you can see the difference between a subject line that is and isn’t cut off. The email with a fitted subject line appears more professional and coherent. The email subject line that’s cut off doesn’t grammatically make sense.
If you want people to take an interest in your emails, you need to keep your email subject lines within the limit.
How to avoid this email marketing mistake: Preview your subject lines. Before you even launch your emails to your subscribers, take time to preview your email and see how it will look for your audience. You want to look at every version of your subject line to ensure that it looks good on every device.
Since the character limit varies widely between devices and email platforms, it’s best to stick to short and concise email subject lines to ensure they don’t get cut off on any platform.
3. Unprofessional design
One of the biggest email marketing mistakes companies make is neglecting the design aspect of their emails. You can’t just slap together a few images, put in some colors, and call it a day. Your design plays an essential role in determining whether your audience continues to engage with your email.
If your design looks unprofessional or sloppy, your audience won’t want to engage with your emails. They will close them, or worse yet, unsubscribe.
How to avoid this email marketing mistake: Create professional designs. If you want to avoid this email marketing blunder, you can start by investing in design for your emails.
When you craft your emails, you’ll want to choose a design that reflects your business. In this example from Starbucks, you can see the company’s design is reflective of their business. The design is clean and modern, which delivers a positive experience for their subscribers.
Like Starbucks, you’ll want to have a clean and modern design to engage your audience.
4. Neglecting your call to action (CTA)
Next on our list of common email mistakes is neglecting your call to action (CTA) in your email. Your CTA is one of the most critical elements of your email because it helps guide your subscribers to take the next step. If you don’t have a CTA in your email, users won’t know how to proceed.
There aren’t just one mistake companies make with CTA buttons, either. Some common mistakes include:
- Using CTAs that aren’t clear
- Misplacing CTAs
- Choosing the wrong color for your CTAs
- Using CTAs that aren’t descriptive
How to avoid this email marketing mistake: Optimize your CTA buttons If you want to avoid this email marketing blunder, you need to optimize your CTA buttons. When you craft a CTA button, you want to make sure it stands out on the page. In this example from Target, the red CTA buttons stand out on the page and are easy to find.
Additionally, the user knows what will happen if they click on the button. In this example, subscribers know that if they click the “write a review” button, they’ll go to a page where the subscriber can review the product they bought. When you craft your CTA, make sure the text is clear and tells your audience what you want them to do.
Additionally, be mindful of where you place your CTA in the email. If you put it too far down in the message, people may not see it. You want to ensure you place it where your audience is likely to see it and click on it, like in this example from Starbucks.
5. Forgoing personalization
One of the biggest email marketing mistakes companies make is forgoing personalization. Your subscribers receive emails from dozens of companies vying for their attention and hard-earned dollars. If you want to catch their attention, you can’t neglect personalization.
Many companies send generic emails to their subscribers to make their email marketing efforts easy. The problem with this approach, though, is not everyone is interested in your business for the same reasons. With so many emails in your audiences’ inboxes, they’ll likely pass over yours if it doesn’t pique their interest.
Don’t make this email marketing blunder, as it can cause you to waste thousands of dollars on emails that don’t work.
How to avoid this email marketing mistake: Segment your subscribers and personalize their emails. Forgoing personalization is one of the biggest email marketing mistakes, but it’s an easy one to avoid. There are two things you’ll want to do to deliver a better email experience for your audience: Segment subscribers and personalize their emails.
When you segment your subscribers, you group them based on their interests, amongst other information. From that point, you can personalize the information you send to these segments by focusing on what interests them the most. For example, if you own a clothing store, you may have a segment of women interested in activewear and a segment interested in business clothes.
You can send them emails featuring the products of interest to get them to shop with you. You can take personalization a step further by including the subscribers’ names in your email. It’s a small touch, but it significantly impacts how people perceive your company.
6. Sounding overly salesy
This next error is one of the top email marketing blunders companies make when doing email marketing. When you send emails to interested prospects, your goal is to turn these prospects into customers. To get sales faster, many companies will get overly salesy with their emails and deter people.
Now, it’s important to remember that email is a great place to pitch your products or services, but you don’t want to overdo it. If you’re always bombarding your subscribers with pitches for your products or services, you risk annoying them and losing subscribers.
How to avoid this email marketing mistake: Stay mindful of how you frame your emails. When you craft your emails, stay mindful of what you’re saying and how you say it.
When you’re crafting these more sales-focused emails, keep in mind that you’ll have subscribers at different points in the buying cycle. For example, you may have someone who recently subscribed to your emails and wants to learn more about what you offer. Lush’s email, seen below, is an excellent example of what you could send to subscribers who aren’t quite ready to convert and want to get to know your brand better.
The email touches on the subscriber’s pain point and pitches Lush’s products as a solution. While it does have a salesy touch to it, it’s not overdone. They’re merely inviting the subscriber to learn more about their products, which can ultimately help that subscriber move towards conversion.
For someone who’s close to conversion, you might get a little more salesy with your emails. This example from June offers a discount for people who want to pre-order their smart toaster. Again, the email pitches the product a bit, but it’s not overly pushing it.
When you craft your emails, you need to balance information with pitching your product or service.
7. Refraining from using automation software
One of the biggest email marketing blunders companies commit is opting not to use email automation software. When you have a substantial list of subscribers, and you’re sending a couple of emails each day, sending all those emails becomes too time-consuming. Many companies still, however, don’t use automation to save time.
If you don’t want to spend hours creating and sending emails, don’t make this email marketing mistake.
How to avoid this email marketing mistake: Find the right automation software for your business. Opting not to use email automation software is one of the most common email mistakes, but it can easily be avoided or fixed. You can help your business save time by investing in email automation software.
EmailMarketingFX, for example, enables you to create, send, and monitor your emails all in one place. You can set up automated emails, like welcome emails and abandoned cart emails, without spending hours sending those emails. You may need to research and find the right email marketing software to fit your business’s needs.
8. Neglecting to test your emails
Next on our list of common email mistakes is not testing your emails. When you first craft your email content, it’s not always going to be the best version of your email, yet many companies neglect to test to make their emails better. If you don’t test your emails, you’re missing out on potential revenue for your business.
How to avoid this email marketing mistake: Test your emails.
If you want to avoid this email marketing blunder, you need to test your emails frequently. You can conduct A/B testing to figure out the best version of your email. When you perform testing, you want to test one element at a time.
You can test multiple elements, including:
- Subject line
- Pre-header text
- CTA button
- Design and layout
9. Forgetting to prune your email list
Last on our list of email marketing mistakes is forgetting to prune your email list. Many companies keep their email list as is and never look at it again. The problem with this approach is that these companies waste money sending emails to people who don’t read them anymore.
If you want to maximize your budget, don’t forget to prune your email list.
How to avoid this email marketing mistake: Prune your email list. To ensure you have an active email marketing list, you’ll want to prune your email list occasionally. Go through your subscriber list and remove anyone who hasn’t interacted with your brand in a while.
Regularly performing this maintenance task will help ensure you’re spending money on leads that want to hear from you.
WebFX can help you avoid these email marketing mistakes
Email marketing mistakes can cost you money, so you’ll want to avoid them as best as you can. With help from the email marketing experts at WebFX, you can avoid these email marketing mistakes altogether so you don’t have to worry about them. We have a team of over 500 marketing specialists that know how to create successful email marketing campaigns.
Our campaigns drive results, too — we’ve driven over $6 billion in sales and over 7.8 million leads for our clients. Want to create better emails for your subscribers? Questioning the importance of email marketing?
Macy is a marketing writer with over five years of experience creating content for dozens of industries including food and beverage, home services, and education. She also specializes in creating SEO and PPC content. Her work has been featured by Search Engine Journal, HubSpot, Entrepreneur, Clutch, and more. In her free time, Macy enjoys trying new crafts and reading comic books.
WebFX is a full-service marketing agency with 1000+ client reviews and a 4.9-star rating on Clutch! Find out how our expert team and revenue-accelerating tech can drive results for you! Learn more
- 1. Neglecting the Welcome Email
- 2. Cutting off Subject Lines
- 3. Unprofessional Design
- 4. Neglecting Your Call to Action (CTA)
- 5. Forgoing Personalization
- 6. Sounding Overly Salesy
- 7. Refraining from Using Automation Software
- 8. Neglecting to Test Your Emails
- 9. Forgetting to Prune Your Email List
- WebFX Can Help You Avoid These Email Marketing Mistakes