Sheena Rijwani

Sheena Rijwani / October 23, 2019

8 Common Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Email Marketing Agency

If you conduct a random search on the Internet to identify the most effective digital media channel, you will be surprised. It is not SEO or content marketing that’s on the top of the list. It is email marketing that’s ahead of all other digital channels.

Yes, you heard it right!



Email marketing really works

Though it is one of the oldest digital channels, emails are checked regularly whether you are at work, home or on the move using smartphones. Email is still one of the channels with a high open rate of 22.86% through which you can establish a highly focused and personalized communication.

email vs social media, first online check of the day


Once you have managed to engage and motivate your audience, they are hooked. Now they are primed to consider your offer.

Successful marketers use email marketing at this critical stage of the buying process – transforming leads into prospects and then converting them into customers.

Easy peasy, right? But here is the problem.

After you have invested so much time and effort to generate leads, you find that your email marketing efforts are not achieving its goals.


We have found through our numerous interactions with marketers that they are guilty of committing a few avoidable email marketing mistakes.

Mistakes that drive your audience to unsubscribe or not respond positively to your call to action.

In this post, we will share with you 8 common email marketing mistakes that marketers commit.

Check if you are guilty of one or some of them. It is never too late to fix them and get back into the game.

Mistake #1: Weak Subject Line

You know what makes your email rise above the noise – its subject line.

Ever come across subject lines like:

  • Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fwd: Re: Fwd: Fwd
  • ?????
  • !!!!!
  • It’s John
  • Please call

It is these weak, vague and spammy subject lines that make your emails slip through and even turn people off. 

An email’s subject line must tell you what is expected of you. It must communicate some urgency, criticality, importance to help you prioritize your time and response. And it must motivate you to act. Engage. And invest.

HubSpot has gathered some amazing email subject lines that are informative and actionable:

Mistake #2: Your Email List Is Not Segmented

You cannot control or keep check of everyone who visits your website or connects to your social media channels. 

And most businesses do not have only one buyer persona or customer avatar.

You would be having say 2 – 4 different offerings and diverse people might be interested in some or all of them depending on their needs. That means all kinds of people falling under different customer persona might be signing up to be part of your email list.


Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

But all of them are not at the same stage of the buying journey, nor do they have similar needs. Therefore, when you send that same email to all, many of them just don’t respond. 

You need to segment your list and form homogenous clusters of leads.

Something like this.


Source: (Verweij, 2014)

Now craft specific email messages for each cluster and target them. See the difference in responses now. You might even want to run an A/B test to see the results.

Mistake #3: Buyer Persona and Email Message Mismatch

What: It is only content, the problem it solves and the way it connects with the audience that acts as the linchpin. It moves your audience further down the sales funnel.

In the previous mistake, we pointed out that your list is not segmented. 

Mistake #4: Lack of Efficient Customer Connects Through the Stages of the Buying Process

You know that buying occurs through a process. You seldom just pick something and buy on an impulse. 

Anything that is of value – electronics, insurance, automobile, equipment, furniture, house, stocks, even household linen, organic food, etc. are bought with careful consideration and research. 

The diagram below elucidates the point that I am trying to make.

New Digital Marketing Funnel Stages: Customer Journey Hourglass

Source: CustomerJourneyMarketer

If your email marketing is not generating results, it is quite likely that you are not hand-holding your leads and customers from one stage to another. The emails are not keeping the customer tethered to the buying process and moving them down the funnel.

Mistake #5: Overeager Case of Sending Emails Too Frequently

Yes, emails are highly effective. And yes, we do check our emails many times a day and it has not gone out of fashion even today.

Hippocrates said, “everything in excess is opposed to nature.”

So if you are sending too many emails to your audience, they might feel overwhelmed and behave like trauma doctors managing the deluge of emails with triage tags – Deceased, Immediate, Delayed, Minor.

And your emails will most likely be tagged “Deceased” and swept aside for more urgent emails.

Paul Jarvis, the author of Company of One says: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business, sends one email a week, that too on a Sunday. His audience waits eagerly for the email and he enjoys the amazing response. 

Pace it, and pace it well.

Mistake #6: Lame, Casual Content

If your email content does not add value, does not empower, does not motivate or excite your audience then you are committing hara-kiri.

Your audience or lead, or prospect receives an email from you for a purpose. To help them overcome a pain point or issue and sail towards smoother seas. They do not expect you to just pop in to say hi or discuss some tidbits of information that is lame.

Lame content in digital marketing is a cardinal crime. Especially when the person has invested single-focused attention to what is it that you want to say one-on-one through your email.

Mistake #7: Technical Shortcomings

People are no longer digitally connected through their desktop or workstations. They have laptops, smartphones, tablets to access information on the go. I hope you are mindful of that. 

Is your email message efficiently configured for mobile consumption?

Are you mindful of the constraints like screen size, length of text, use of embedded images and videos and even the background and foreground color, the font that makes it easy to read? 

If not, that could be a turnoff for the otherwise eager audience.

Fix it.

Mistake #8: Misdirected or Missing Call-to-Action

The whole purpose of the entire spectrum of digital marketing including email marketing services is to tell the reader/audience/lead/customer what to do next. 

In marketing terms, it is called “Call to Action”. Its simple English translation would be “Now do this”.

Even though your messages might be targeting very accomplished and smart professionals, ones who are sorted and know what they want, they still need to be told what to do next to move forward. Get ahead, make their lives easier.


If you can relate to any of these mistakes, you know what to do to solve it. Email marketing is here to stay and you need to harness the power for stupendous growth. Go for it!

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