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Email Marketing Mistakes and the Best Practices To Avoid Them

23 min read
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Are you harnessing the power of email marketing to expand your reach and engage with new customers? While it's a convenient and cost-effective way to do digital outreach, many businesses make critical mistakes when implementing their email practices.

It's easy to think that the mere act of sending out a marketing email will attract a few takers. But in our increasingly commercial society, people are becoming skeptical of all things "marketing." Poorly crafted emails can alienate people or, worse — make them unsubscribe altogether.

With so many competing messages vying for someone's attention, email marketing can feel overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be! If you pay close attention to the details, you can craft an irresistible message that will quickly take root in your target audience's hearts and minds. That being said, there are certain mistakes or missteps that could be major turn-offs for potential customers or subscribers.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Building a quality email list is essential for effective email marketing. Obtain permission from subscribers, use lead generation tactics, and regularly update and clean your list.

  2. Audience segmentation enables targeted messaging. Divide your subscriber base into smaller groups based on demographics, interests, or behaviors to deliver more relevant content.

  3. Compelling subject lines are crucial for email open rates. Craft concise, attention-grabbing subject lines that convey value and encourage recipients to take action.

  4. Valuable and engaging email content drives engagement and conversions. Provide relevant information, solve customer problems, offer exclusive promotions, and use a conversational tone.

  5. Mobile optimization is a must. Ensure your emails are mobile-friendly with responsive design, easy-to-read text, and clear call-to-action buttons.

  6. Personalization enhances email marketing effectiveness. Address recipients by name, segment your list, tailor content based on preferences, and use dynamic content.

  7. Measure and analyze campaign performance using key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, bounce rates, and ROI. Utilize email marketing analytics tools.

  8. Find the right email frequency for your audience. Test different sending frequencies and monitor engagement to strike a balance between staying in touch and avoiding overwhelming subscribers.

Biggest Challenges in Email Marketing

Email marketing has been a powerful tool for digital marketing in recent years. It's an effective way to reach out to potential customers, engage them with relevant email copy, build relationships, and ultimately increase sales and revenue. However, it can be difficult to navigate the complexities of email marketing without expert advice.

  1. One of the biggest challenges marketers face when it comes to email marketing is ensuring their messages are properly optimized for mobile devices. Cell phones are still one of the primary ways that consumers access their emails. As such, it’s essential for marketers to make sure their emails look great on any device. This means more than just creating a responsive design — it also entails optimizing images, pop-ups, and plain text for smaller screen sizes and ensuring all CTAs are visible and easy to use on mobile.

  2. Another challenge marketers face is crafting compelling subject lines to encourage users to open the message. Crafting effective subject lines for a series of emails requires an understanding of what resonates with recipients — something that can often be difficult without detailed data analysis or A/B testing. Additionally, there are several rules and regulations marketers need to follow when it comes to automation and email marketing. These include CAN-SPAM laws in the US, GDPR regulations in Europe, and CASL regulations in Canada.

  3. Finally, creating an effective email list is essential for successful email marketing campaigns. This often means having up-to-date information on your customers — such as their location, interests, and purchase behavior, so you can create more personalized messages that recipients will receive well. It also requires ensuring your emails reach the intended recipient (and not end up in their spam folder) by having a good sender reputation and using proper email authentication methods.

What To Avoid in Email Marketing

When creating an email marketing campaign, knowing what to avoid is just as important as understanding what works. Here are some tips on what to steer clear of when it comes to email marketing. Take advantage of them!

  • Spamming: Sending unsolicited emails or sending emails in bulk without permission is a surefire way to turn off potential customers and damage your brand’s reputation.

  • Not Personalizing: Using generic subject lines, templates, and content for every recipient will make your emails more likely to be ignored. Instead, tailor the content of your emails based on each recipient's individual interests and demographics.

  • Misusing Images: High-quality images can capture people’s attention, but don't go overboard with them. Too many images can lead to long loading times and emails that don't look good on mobile devices.

  • Overuse of Exclamation Points: Using too many exclamation points can come across as aggressive or insincere, so use them in moderation.

  • Not A/B Testing: Always test different versions of your emails to determine which ones perform best with your audience. This will allow you to continually refine your email campaigns and get better results over time.

  • Ignoring Analytics: Make sure you’re monitoring analytics in your apps like Mailchimp or HubSpot, such as open rate, click-through rate, and bounce rate, to gain insights into how effectively your emails are being received. Analyzing this email automation data will help you optimize future campaigns and get the best results.

  • Forgetting to Unsubscribe: Always include an unsubscribe link in your emails so that people can opt out if they don’t want to receive any more messages from you. Failing to do this violates anti-spam laws, but it’s also vital for maintaining good customer relationships.

The Five T’s of Email Marketing

The Five T’s of Email Marketing are Tease, Target, Teach, Test and Track. These five simple marketing tips can help you make the most out of your email campaigns and ensure success. Let’s take a look at each step in detail:

  • Tease: This is where you grab attention and increase brand awareness with an enticing subject line or preview text for your welcome email. You want to get people excited about what you have to offer and make them curious enough to open your email. Keep in mind that not everyone will be interested in all of your content, so it's important to focus your sign-up form on your target audience, for example, small businesses, when developing compelling teasers for automated emails.

  • Target: Once you grab their attention with a tantalizing teaser, it's time to target the right audience for your content. You can do this by segmenting your list, testing different subject lines and preview text, and using data from past campaigns to see which segments responded most strongly. Email segmentation will help you create more targeted messaging that resonates with your subscribers and helps ensure greater email deliverability in the future.

  • Teach: Use your email content as an opportunity to educate subscribers about a product or service. When done correctly, informative email newsletters that teach readers something new can greatly increase engagement, opt-ins, build trust, and increase email subscribers.

  • Test: Testing is key when it comes to email marketing. Try A/B testing different versions of subject lines, preview text, layout and design elements, call-to-action buttons, etc., to find out what works best for your audience. This will give you valuable insight into the success of your email campaigns and help you create more effective emails in the future based on these benchmarks.

  • Track: Once you send out an email, it's important to track its performance. Look at metrics like email open rates, conversion rates, unsubscribe rates, engagement levels, customer loyalty, and conversions to understand how successful your email campaign was and adjust follow-ups as necessary for future campaigns to increase re-engagement.

The Best Time to Send Out Email Marketing Campaigns

The best time to send out email marketing campaigns depends on various factors, including the target audience, the message being sent, and the product or service offered.

Business Hours

When considering when to launch an email campaign, it’s important to keep in mind that most customers are more likely to open emails during business hours. This means setting your marketing automation between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday is generally the best time for maximum engagement. However, some industries may see better results outside of these traditional work hours. For example, businesses or nonprofits related to entertainment or nightlife might have more success sending emails on weekends or after-hours when people are more likely to be engaged with those topics.

User Engagement Trends

It can also be useful to look at user engagement trends in your own business’s email history. If you have an existing customer base, use analytics to determine when the majority of emails sent out by your business have been opened and clicked on in the past. This data can help inform decisions about when to send out future emails for maximum engagement.

Different Timing for Different Messages

In addition, different types of messages may require different timing. For example, discounts or special offers should generally be sent during peak hours, likely when customers are most actively engaged with shopping or researching potential purchases. Emails introducing new products or services should also go out during peak hours so customers don’t miss the announcement.

Geographical Location

Finally, it’s important to consider the geographical location of your target audience. For example, suppose you’re sending emails to customers in different time zones. In that case, it may be beneficial to stagger the email send times so that everyone receives the message at a similar peak hour in their own area.

Best Ways To Get Subscribers to Your Email List

Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your email list. Content marketing involves creating and sharing relevant, valuable content on a regular basis with an audience who wants it. This could be in the form of blog posts, videos, infographics, ebooks, webinars, and more. The goal is to attract potential subscribers by providing useful and compelling content that resonates with them.

To be successful with content marketing for growing your email list, you need to ensure that your content is highly targeted toward your target audience. When crafting pieces of content, think about what topics they might be interested in or problems they may have that you can help solve with your expertise or knowledge. You also want to ensure that your content is engaging and optimized for search engines. Optimizing your content involves using relevant keywords throughout the text and formatting it properly, such as using subheadings, lists, and other elements to make it easier to read.

Another great way to get subscribers on your mailing list is through social media marketing. Social media provides an effective platform for building relationships with potential customers and offering them something of value in exchange for their email addresses. This could be anything from a discount code or free ebook to educational resources or simply access to exclusive content or deals. Be sure that whatever you offer resonates with your target audience so they feel compelled to subscribe and stay engaged with your brand in the long term.

If you have an existing customer base, you can also use email campaigns and coupons for eCommerce to drive new subscribers. This could be targeted emails sent out to customers who have already purchased from you or interacted with your business in some way. You can offer special discounts or exclusive content as incentives for joining your mailing list and encourage them to spread the word about it to other potential customers.

Lastly, don’t forget one of the oldest methods: word-of-mouth marketing. By simply engaging in meaningful conversations with people, face-to-face, via phone calls, or even online through social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you can reach a wide audience and let them know about your amazing products or services. Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful and effective ways to get more people on your email list.

How Can You Avoid Spamming Customers?

Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses and organizations to reach customers, but it can easily become an annoyance if done incorrectly. To avoid spamming your customers, here are some tips to help you out:

  • Send emails only when necessary: Don't send too many emails at once, and don't make them too frequent. This gives your customers the feeling that they're being bombarded with messages and will cause them to unsubscribe or mark your emails as spam.

  • Respect customers' preferences: Allowing customers to opt out of email campaigns or to customize the type of emails they want to receive will show your customers that you care about them and their needs. This option will also prevent annoying those who don't wish to receive promotional emails from you.

  • Don't use misleading email subject lines: Your customer's first impression of an email should be honest and straightforward. Using a misleading subject line could result in them unsubscribing or marking your email as spam before even seeing it.

  • Focus on quality over quantity: If you have something important that you need to say, don't try to make it fit into one email; instead, focus on getting the message across in a few well-crafted emails rather than sending out more but with less impactful content.

10 Ways Your Email Marketing Could Be Turning People Away

Email marketing, in particular, comes with its own etiquette that many companies get wrong. If you want to ensure that your message reaches the right people, consider these ten tips for creating an effective email strategy that connects with users without turning them away.

1. Basic Email Faux-Pas

First off, you must never send an email campaign without the option to unsubscribe, and never send email with all of the subscribers' email addresses listed in plain sight in the "To:" or "CC:" fields. Any email marketing tool worth its salt will automatically comply with this rule. Similarly, you should avoid using a "noreply" address to send out marketing materials. Ideally, the reader should be able to get in touch with you by simply clicking "Reply." The whole reason for any kind of marketing effort is so people will engage with you. If you want a response, don't make people jump through hoops to do so! Remember to include hyperlinks to your website and social media channels for much the same reason.

2. Work Hard on Your Subject Line

The subject line of your email is the first thing your subscribers will see in their inbox when they come across your email, so it's the main thing that's going to tempt them to click. Be succinct and appropriately sum up the email's topic or pitch - you may find that this is easier to do after you've composed the content. The most damaging thing you can do here is to promise more tempting content in the header than the email actually provides - never lie to get clicks!

3. Focus Your Intentions

Email marketing might seem like a new and exciting frontier. You may feel like you want to fill all of your subscribers in on every aspect of how your company can help them, but fight the temptation and take a step back. Don't cram one email with loads of disparate topics and elements; you'll confuse your reader. What is the single most important thing you want your readers to take away from your email? What is the simplest way of conveying that? Stick fast to one product range or service and sell that one thing well. You can send emails about the other subjects at a later date — email marketing is an ongoing process, after all!

4. Words that Sell

It's important to produce some text for your email marketing campaigns. Don't just send a promotional image or flyer with your contact details in text underneath. It's important to remember that images are incompatible with some email services and devices, and only the text from your email will be displayed to them. So include some kind of textual content for each campaign which brings us nicely on to...

5. Benefits Over Features

This is an important rule to remember when you're writing any kind of persuasive marketing copy. Remember the ways in which the customer will benefit, and ensure that these take precedence over the product's features. For example, a second-hand car may have a certain engine size, X-many miles on the clock, parking proximity warnings and automatic windscreen wipers; these "cold hard facts" are features. Though features are important, the buyer is chiefly looking for benefits such as reliability, safety, convenience, and a vehicle that is going to serve their needs for years to come. Copy needs to work with the features and translate them into benefits. Make the copy more about the customer's needs rather than making it all about your company.

6. No Passive-Aggression!

One thing that gets a lot of people's backs up is passive aggression in marketing. People tend to respond even less favorably when it's delivered directly to someone's inbox (seen by many as a personal space). To coin an example taken — and liberally paraphrased — from the wild: "If you don't want better X, Y and Z, why are you still reading this email?!" Statements like that one are very presumptuous, even accusatory, and are generally seen as an attempt at a low blow. Avoid it at all costs.

7. Work in Related Content

Many high-end marketing campaigns have bespoke landing pages for each mailing campaign, but this isn't always possible for smaller businesses and budgets. However, if your website has blog functionality, there's a way around this. If you produce a blog post on a related topic to that of the campaign, you can link to that in the email, saying something like, "if you'd like to read more, click here for our latest blog post." This way, you're creating content that bolsters the email campaign that you can share on your social media feeds for as long as the topic is relevant.

8. Telegraph the Next Step

"Calls to action" are an important element in marketing and copywriting. They tell the reader what you want them to do with a concise direction. Ask yourself: What do you want the reader to do after seeing your email? Include a button or link in a prominent place (usually near the end of your email) with a tempting, related next step. This could be something like, "Get in touch for your free quote today!" which, in that particular instance, may link to your email address or the contact page on your website.

9. Appearance is Everything

After creating your perfect campaign, it would be a shame if a major email provider didn't display it properly. Most mailout campaign providers allow you to send test emails, so set up your test email addresses with a number of the major free email providers (Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo are great places to start) and send your campaign to these test addresses. Remember to also check how your email looks on mobiles and tablets if you can. Typos and misspellings can make your campaign seem unprofessional and rushed, so don't forget to proofread thoroughly too.


10. Broadcasting at the Right Frequency

How frequently you send your email campaigns is a tough one to get right, especially as it can vary so wildly between different industries and types of business. The best option here would be to subscribe to your competitors using a personal or anonymous email address and see how regularly they send mailouts. Use this information to get your creative juices flowing, but by all means, avoid any copying of their content or ideas. Hopefully, this will help you find an equilibrium that works within your industry, not to mention your team's workload.


Email marketing is a powerful tool when utilized correctly. Modern tools are even more effective, offering users a variety of features to help them craft and send compelling messages that generate engagement.

Sign up for FiveCRM today and unlock all the features that will help take your email marketing to the next level! From advanced analytics to integrated design tools, we offer everything you need to make a lasting impression on your customers – so what are you waiting for? Start achieving greater success with email campaigns now by exploring our services.

Click here to get started!


Q: What is email marketing?

A: Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves sending targeted, personalized emails to a group of individuals with the goal of promoting products, services, or building relationships.

Q: Why is email marketing important?

A: Email marketing is important because it allows businesses to reach a wide audience, engage with customers directly, nurture leads, drive conversions, and build long-term customer relationships.

Q: What are the best practices for effective email marketing?

A: Effective email marketing relies on several best practices, including building a quality email list, segmenting your audience, crafting compelling subject lines, creating valuable and engaging content, optimizing for mobile devices, personalizing messages, and tracking and analyzing campaign performance.

Q: How can I build a quality email list?

A: Building a quality email list involves obtaining permission from subscribers, utilizing lead generation tactics such as website opt-in forms, offering valuable incentives or content in exchange for email addresses, and regularly cleaning and updating your list to maintain its quality.

Q: Why is audience segmentation important in email marketing?

A: Audience segmentation allows you to divide your subscriber base into smaller groups based on specific criteria such as demographics, interests, or behaviors. It enables you to deliver more targeted and relevant content, resulting in higher engagement and conversions.

Q: What makes a compelling subject line for emails?

A: Compelling subject lines are concise, attention-grabbing, and convey the value or benefit of opening the email. They should pique curiosity, evoke emotion, and encourage recipients to take action.

Q: How can I create valuable and engaging email content?

A: To create valuable and engaging email content, focus on providing relevant information, solving customer problems, offering exclusive promotions, sharing educational resources, and using a conversational tone. Use visual elements such as images or videos to enhance the overall appeal.

Q: Why is mobile optimization important for email marketing?

A: Mobile optimization is crucial because a significant portion of email recipients access their emails on mobile devices. Ensure that your emails are mobile-friendly, with responsive design, easy-to-read text, and clear call-to-action buttons.

Q: How can I personalize my email marketing campaigns?

A: Personalization can be achieved by addressing recipients by their name, segmenting your email list, tailoring content based on their preferences or previous interactions, and using dynamic content that adapts based on recipient data.

Q: How can I measure the success of my email marketing campaigns?

A: The success of email marketing campaigns can be measured using key performance indicators (KPIs) such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, bounce rates, and overall return on investment (ROI). Use email marketing analytics tools to track and analyze these metrics.

Q: How often should I send emails to my subscribers?

A: The frequency of sending emails depends on your audience, industry, and the nature of your business. It's important to maintain a balance between staying in touch with your subscribers and avoiding overwhelming them. Test different frequencies and monitor engagement to find the optimal cadence for your email campaigns.

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