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Email marketing is undoubtedly amongst the best ways small businesses can reach out to more people. With a solid strategy, marketers can enhance conversions and empower existing customer relationships.

Is there a secret ingredient to driving an email marketing campaign to success? The truth is that there is no exact answer. Each strategy can yield different results for different industries.

However, there is one thing that is pretty consistent: what not to do. We’ve outlined the 10 most common mistakes across the segment.

Avoiding these will certainly yield considerable results, and at the very least avoid penalties and stagnated growth.

1. Failing to Build Your Email List

As obvious as it may sound, the first imperative for a successful email marketing campaign is having people to email. You need to start with a list that you already have and build it up from there.

Import contacts from professional LinkedIn profiles, get a newsletter signup incorporated on your website and use strong CTA’s on your Facebook page. There is an abundance of things that can be done to grow an email list.

However, whatever you do make sure that you never buy email lists, as you can never truly guarantee how good an email list unless you build it yourself. People included in those lists likely have no idea who you are. Hence, expecting any return on campaigns of this kind is overly optimistic, to say the least.

2. You Underestimate Planning

Now that you are working on scaling your email list, you also need to figure out what to write. Implementing a successful content strategy and calendar is just as paramount. A lot of people underestimate the importance of this and that’s why their email marketing campaigns don’t reap the success they ought to.

A well thought out content schedule will ensure that you send the right emails at the right time. For instance, if you run a HVAC maintenance company you will want to send out heating maintenance tips during colder months since people will be less responsive in the hot summer.

3. Not Spending Enough Time to Write

Content creation is a dreaded task for many. However, the actual value of your email is what’s important. You need to keep it relatively short, concise and particularly engaging. Actionable and appealing content takes time to write.

Getting those creative juices flowing is certainly a challenge. Make sure you plan for several drafts and get someone to provide you with accurate feedback.

4. Boring Subject Lines

At least 50% of consumers report that the subject line is the reason they open an email.

Consider the subject line your way of making a great first impression. That’s how you grab your target reader’s attention. You need to come up with something catchy and intriguing – something that’s strong enough to force the receiver to open the email. There is an abundance of different ways you can go about that but ultimately, you should figure out what works best for your particular audience.

5. Unprofessional Appeal

Just think about it – the moment you receive an email you start judging it.

Is it well written? Are there any typos in it? Does it have a professional appeal? Are the images high quality and are they relevant? Does it look like it was designed in 1990 or is does it look modern and polished?

Regardless of who you are, when you land your email in someone else’s mailbox, you are already competing with a lot of companies which have dedicated significant resources to email marketing. You don’t need a huge marketing budget to execute a good email strategy, just some effort on the small details. Your emails need to be able to stand out from the competition.

Be sure to optimize your emails for mobile as well, as Gmail alone has over 900m users, 75% of which are on mobile.

6. Failing to Time Your Emails

Remember that email schedule and calendar we talked about earlier? A lot of people fail to take it into serious account.

While it might not be a significant issue for certain industries, timing can also be an integral part of your campaign. For example, if your business publishes a daily newsletter, a 6:00 AM EST publishing time would reach your California audience at 3 AM, who likely won’t be up to read it.

7. Ignoring Your Analytics

This particular mistake takes the previous point a step further. What happens when your customer opens your email? Is he clicking our links or is he unsubscribing from your newsletter? These are the kinds of questions that you need to have an informed answer to.

Having a state of the art analytical tools is an absolute must. However, taking the metrics into account is just as important. There is no point in tracking customer behavior if you don’t use this information to constantly iterate your process for the better.

Email marketing services can even help you A/B test to find what works specifically for your niche and audience.

8. Having a “Bad List”

You need to account for the spam score and the bounce rates of your emails. The bounce rate means that the content of your email isn’t going through to your customers.

It may happen for a range of different reasons such as typos, unprofessional appeal, bad timing and others of this kind.

Another thing that you need to consider is that email service providers also keep close track of your bounce rates. This is why high rates of this metric can reflect poorly on your enterprise. You should comb through your existing list regularly and get rid of email addresses which can be characterized as problematic, or are otherwise unresponsive.

9. Sending Generic Messages

Creating an e-mail from a generic design template could truly save a significant amount of time. However, this will also limit your outcome and produce a significantly lower response from your segmented audience. If you are using a popular template, chances are your recipients are receiving several emails identical to yours. It’s certainly worth your time to design your own message template which is tailored to your target readers.

10. Failing to Automate

We’ve saved the best for last. An easy way to make sure you don’t fall victim to those deadly sins of email marketing is to comprehensively automate the process. B2B marketers reported conversion rates as high as 50% when using a refined and automated strategy. There are cutting-edge email automation tools available for reasonable and affordable prices which are going to make your life a lot easier.



Regardless of what you do, set yourself up for rapid growth and significant outreach by avoiding those common deadly sins of email marketing. Rewards will follow as soon as you allocate the necessary resource and marketing efforts. Using an email marketing service is a great way to avoid encountering any of these problems, and focusing on what really matters.

With an actionable and solid email marketing strategy, you can expand your overall reach and drive new business to your company at the most inconsiderable expenses. That’s the beauty of email marketing.