10 Costly Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

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On average, people open around 20% of all emails, and most experts consider a 5% conversion rate great. In other words, you need 100 subscribers to make one sale with a great conversion rate. One error could ruin that, so you should know which costly email marketing mistakes to avoid. 

When it comes to mistakes with email marketing; I've made many of them.  I once sent out an email at midnight, when my audience is likely asleep.  I also once sent out an email body that was blank except for an irrelevant picture in the body.  I guess this is a good time to drop the reminder; always send a test email to yourself.  

Other common email marketing mistakes include spamming, pushing the sale too much and too early, and structuring emails the wrong way. At the same time, following standard practices isn’t enough. Displaying personality and crafting quality emails is also a must.

However, that’s a small list of what you want to avoid if you want to make money with email marketing. For example, you have to remove users from your list once it starts to grow – but why should you make your list smaller to avoid one crucial mistake?

Top Email Marketing Mistakes

Your conversion rate relies on you making the most out of your marketing skills and, at the same time, avoiding any mistakes that will turn your audience against opening any emails you send. If you have the marketing part covered, here are costly mistakes you don’t want to make:

1. Using an Email List you haven’t Curated

The more your list grows, the more likely it is that old, abandoned mailboxes will start to pile up there. Failing to curate your mailing list is a great way to forever find your content in the spam folder.

Since email providers limit how many returns or complaints you can get (e.g., an email provider returns an email because that mailbox is full), you may hit that limit soon if you’re not too careful.

Pro tip: First, use an email validation service to avoid that nightmare scenario from the start. Then, remove anyone inactive for more than a year from your list.

2. Spending Little Time on Subject Lines

On average, people only open one-fifth of emails. Right from the get-go, 80% of your work will remain unseen. There’s more! Half of all users will only open an email based on the subject line.

You have to beat the odds, and you’ll have to get creative right from the start to do so. In fact, you should write the entire email first and leave the most important part, the subject title, for last.

Pro tip: How do you write the perfect subject line? Make it catchy and concise. You have to show your wit in less than 60 characters!

3. Having no Personality in your Emails

Don’t let books, courses, and other stuff get in the way of crafting creative content. There are countless examples of people who standardize their writing, hoping for better results, only to sound the same as everyone else.

You have to stand out! Let’s put it this way. You receive five emails, and four of them look the same. Which one are you going to open and enjoy reading? It’s one thing to follow standard practices but another to fall prey to excessive standardization. Don’t be afraid to add a little personality to your content.

4. Skipping Tests and Stats

Analytics and testing are the fundamentals of email marketing. You have to test emails to draw data, so you can figure out the best way to communicate with your audience. The alternative is to shoot in the dark and hope for conversions to magically stumble to your side. A/B testing is the best way to draw data and analytics from your list, and not doing it is losing money on purpose.

5. Emphasizing too much on Selling

Email marketing is about selling and making a profit, sure. However, that comes third. First, you must build an audience, then connect with them the right way.

If you don’t build trust with users, they’ll never convert into customers. You have to warm up a sale before you make it happen. That’s why most newsletters come in waves. Expert marketers create a campaign and build momentum toward a sale. If you try to sell right away, people will run away.

6. Employing one too many Copywriting Techniques

When was the last time you received an email without a time constraint? In other words, how many time-limited offers are there in the world? These techniques worked in the past, but consumers are catching up.

Nowadays, most people know they have to refresh their browser to restart the clock of a fake deal, and using these strategies will make your credibility crumble. There are better ways to hook your audience. Using freebies is always a good idea.

Pro tipYou should entice your customers and consumers with good, honest deals, not cheap tricks that became stale long ago.

7. Structuring your Emails the Wrong Way

Do you know what the most important line in an email is? The subject line! And the second most important one? The opening paragraph. And so on and on. The gist is to keep readers scrolling down your message until they find whatever you put at the bottom.

Pro tipHook your audience in the subject line and create a concise structure that’ll drive them to the call to action. There’s no room for rambling if you want to increase your conversion rate!

8. Neglecting Mobile Users

You probably write emails using your computer, but that doesn’t mean your audience will read them on a computer. Most use their phones to check their messages, and emails are no exception.

In fact, not optimizing your messages for mobile means up to 75% of people will delete what you send right away. In 2022, mobile users represented 54% of web traffic, and that trend shows no sign of stopping. Not optimizing for mobile means forgetting about more than half of all users, which is bad for business.

9. Sending Emails when you Feel like It

Most people open their emails right before lunch. That doesn’t mean you should send them while cooking a steak. However, it’s a good idea to figure out when your audience prefers to receive emails, so you can work your schedule around that moment.

For exampleFinancial and business newsletters often go out at 5 a.m. because people in business prefer to read time-sensitive news before the day begins. In contrast, people open more casual emails after work. Pick a time and a day and stick to it. Arriving too early is as bad as doing so too late.

10. Choosing Quantity over Quality

The average user has one email account, where he receives thousands of emails every year. More tech-savvy users have multiple email accounts, and you don’t want to send your carefully crafted messages to their spam email accounts!

Avoid any issues by choosing to write quality over quantity. Sure, that means sending fewer emails, perhaps even one per month. However, it’s better to have a high conversion rate once a month than beg to make a sale every day. (Related: Top 6 Email Marketing Hacks That Will Boost Conversions & Engagement)

You can allow users and customers to choose how many messages they want to receive if you feel like writing more. Some prefer weekly updates, while others like receiving one message per month. The key is to send the users what they want when they want it.

Final Thoughts

Making the most out of your email list is about being consistent, creative, and calculated. In other words, you want to avoid making mistakes such as spamming your audience or selling too much, as well as rambling or relying on cheap copywriting techniques to thrive.

About the Author

I have been in the 'online business' space since 2009 when I started an eCommerce business selling motorcycle parts (sold in 2012). Since then I have owned and operated several successful online business (and had a fair share of failures), along with owning offline home services businesses. Currently my focus is online businesses that are profitable with paid traffic. As a 'self employed individual' I do not use Linkedin, but you can connect with my on my personal instagram and youtube which largely revolve around my mountain biking passion!