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16 common email marketing mistakes to avoid in 2024

November 8, 2023

Email marketing is one of the ideal marketing methods for engaging leads and boosting sales. However, you’ll need a solid email marketing strategy to make the most of this channel. 

You’ll need to avoid email marketing mistakes that could financially cost your business.

These include using misleading subject lines, neglecting segmentation and reports, and so much more.

This post discusses 16 of the most common email marketing mistakes to avoid so you can optimize your conversion rates. 

By avoiding these mistakes, you can strengthen your email marketing strategy and make your campaigns more successful.

Let’s take a look at each one.

16 common email marketing mistakes to avoid

The list of email marketing mistakes to avoid can get lengthy, especially if we consider email marketing beginners who are still learning the ropes. 

However, since we can’t cover them all here, we’ll round up 16 of the worst email marketing mistakes to avoid. 

1. Waiting until you have “enough” subscribers

It may seem like email marketing is only meant for businesses with a sizable list. However, there’s no such thing as “enough” subscribers in email marketing, and waiting to build your list before getting started with your campaigns would be a big mistake.

As a matter of fact, having fewer subscribers at the beginning while you grow your list can have its advantages.

For instance, it’s far easier to personalize your emails when you have just a few subscribers and can track them all. You’ll also be able to easily segment and manage your audience and send more relevant emails.

2. Choosing misleading email subject lines

Emails with catchy subject lines are more likely to keep customers engaged and have them read through. That said, it’s easy to go overboard in a bid to capture your audience’s attention. This may lead to creating misleading subject lines. 

For instance, using fear-based phrases such as “you missed it” unnecessarily can make your emails sound overhyped. Another is using “FWD” or “RE” when you haven’t had prior contact with the recipient. These can both be considered misleading.

Misleading email subject lines may get your messages sent to the spam folder. They can also make your emails sound deceptive and damage your reputation. 

Check out our articles for good subject lines for various occasions:

3. Neglecting audience segmentation

Email marketing is more effective when you send targeted campaigns. This makes audience segmentation a critical element of your email marketing strategy. Neglect segmentation, and you may miss out on many conversion opportunities.

Audience segmentation allows you to group your recipients based on several factors, such as their purchasing behavior, website activities, demographics, location, and more. 

This helps you send more relevant emails, which increases the chances of engagement and conversion.  

4. Sending generalized emails

Another common email marketing mistake to avoid is sending generic emails instead of personalized ones. This point is closely related to the previous one. But we want to emphasize the importance of personalized emails even more. Customers love to be recognized by their names and specific interests or preferences.

Personalized emails have higher open and click-through rates than generic ones because subscribers can better relate to them. Personalization also humanizes your brand, making customers feel like they’re interacting with a real person and not a bot.

Besides addressing your customers by name, you should consider sending personalized recommendations and follow-ups to trust and brand loyalty. 

5. Not monitoring campaign performance

Performance reports are essential in understanding the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Consequently, it’s crucial to monitor your campaign performance continuously to gauge the success of current efforts and create a blueprint for your strategies. For example:

  • The open rate helps you understand how good or bad your subject line was
  • The click map reveals where subscribers click and what is the most interesting for them, informing better email design.
  • The revenue report assesses the overall impact of your campaign, including the compelling nature of the message and the general idea of the email.

Insights such as device reports, real-time analytics, and demographics are provided for a significant reason—to enhance understanding and to target your campaigns more effectively, aiming for improved marketing outcomes.

By monitoring your campaign performance, you can pinpoint weaknesses in your email marketing strategy and implement ongoing improvements. Neglecting this practice could lead to costly email marketing mistakes that you’ll want to avoid.

6. Overlooking the benefits of A/B testing

Performing A/B tests, you can learn many useful things. You can tell which subject lines or email designs perform better by comparing engagement rates, conversion rates, and other crucial metrics. AND generate better campaign results, more sales, and greater engagement. 

Overlooking these tests would be one of the top mistakes in email marketing you need to avoid.

Omnisend ab testing

Image source: Omnisend

7. Not having a clear call to action

CTAs summarize the purpose of your email. For instance, you may want your recipients to make a purchase, view your products, visit your website, follow your social media accounts, or take any specific action according to your campaign goal.

Whatever it is, you’ll need to state it clearly in your CTA button. This includes making your CTA distinguishable from the rest of your email content to draw your reader’s attention towards it. 

You can do so by using a different color for your CTA, ensuring the text is visible and in bold, etc.

Another trick to make your CTA stand out is to go beyond the equal CTAs like ‘sign up now’ or ‘click here.’ Come up with more customized and inviting CTAs like ‘get your gift now’ or ‘claim your free access.’ 

You’ll get better results if you focus on having your audience take just one action for every email. This is as opposed to having multiple CTAs asking your readers to take different actions.

Multiple CTAs can confuse audiences and make the campaign less effective overall.

8. Forgetting your mobile users

As of the end of 2022, statistics showed that 68% of the world’s population were smartphone users. With such numbers, it would be a mistake not to optimize your emails for mobile devices.

One way to ensure your emails are mobile-optimized is by sending a test email first to check how it appears on different devices. 

  • If the display looks right
  • If the design is responsive
  • If the font is readable
  • If the email is too long on the phone
  • If the videos and graphics are quality

Your emails need to be optimized for all devices so your users have a great experience regardless of where they choose to view their emails. 

9. Ignoring your contact list hygiene

Monitoring the health of your contact list is just as important as growing it. This includes everything from verifying your contacts during signup to periodically cleaning up your subscribers’ list.

Practicing contact list hygiene ensures that everyone on your list engages with and successfully receives your email. By maintaining the health of your list, you’ll be able to remove inactive contacts, minimize spam traps, and reduce email bounce rates.

Sometimes, customers just don’t prefer to engage with your brand through email, or they’re just not your target audience. So, while it’s important to grow your list, you want only to have subscribers who want to engage with your brand from time to time.

Some ways you can maintain your contact hygiene include:

  • Using double opt-in for your signup forms
  • Send re-engagement automation emails
  • Opt out unengaged contacts at least every six months
  • Check emails that bounce and opt out of hard bounces
  • Monitor soft bounces and opt them out after 3-4 bounces

Usually, email service providers help you cope with soft and hard bounces. But you should double check, if your provider offers this service. 

Moreover, some platforms like Mailerlite and Omnisend offer list hygiene services. You may want to check them.

10. Ignoring best practices of email design along with copy and image ratio

Following email best practices for copy, design, and images increases your email engagement. So, not doing so would be an email marketing mistake.

These best practices include fundamental items to make your emails look professional. For instance, using email-safe fonts, high-quality images, keeping space, and not overwhelming with content, etc. 

After analyzing hundreds of emails, we’ve found many that contain blurry images, unattractive fonts, and an overuse of exclamation marks. Even today, some emails seem to shout random promotional messages at the reader, which is unacceptable. As a marketer, you must find a way to deliver your message pleasantly and compellingly while still achieving your goals.

11. Inappropriate timing of email campaigns

Timing is crucial to email marketing if you want to improve your open, click-through, and conversion rates.

While there is no single answer for what is the best time to send emails to your audience, there’s data that provides suggestions that can improve your probabilities.

For instance, this 2022 research by Omnisend suggested the following period combinations:

  • 8 pm, 2 pm, and 5 pm
  • Tuesday for high open rates and Friday for better conversions
  • The beginning of the month, specifically the 1st for high conversion rates

The above data is based on variables such as when most people wake up, the time of the month when people are more financially likely to make purchases, etc. 


Image source: Omnisend

Overall, depending on the nature of your business, it helps to consider the times that make the most sense to your core audience. You don’t want to send emails at odd hours as they run the risk of getting lost in your recipient’s inbox. 

The best way to determine the ideal timing for your business is to test out different times and monitor the outcome. 

12. Overlooking GDPR compliance

GDPR guidelines govern how businesses can process and store personal data in Europe. Regarding email marketing, these principles require that you obtain consent from your subscribers by providing them with clear opt-in and opt-out options.

You’ll also need to be transparent about how you’ll use the data they provide.

Though not directly applicable in the US, overlooking the compliance rules and regulations can be a marketing mistake. 

Emails that aren’t GDPR compliant are often seen as spam by some email service providers. Thus, complying with GDPR standards won’t only ensure the timely delivery of your emails but also boost your brand reputation.

13. Overwhelming subscribers with frequent emails

Another one of the most common email marketing mistakes is sending too many emails to your audience. It may seem like an obvious mistake to avoid, but most businesses still make it. 

Overwhelming customers with too many emails may lead to lower open rates or, worse still, subscribers opting out of your list.

Customers will get tired of your emails once they realize that they just fill their inboxes unnecessarily.

Instead, you want to improve the quality of your emails so the few you send have maximum impact. 

You can also provide your customers with the option to manage their email preferences upfront. This way, they get to choose the emails they want to receive.

14. Disregarding opt-out requests

It’s important to give your subscribers the option to opt out. Disregarding opt-out requests not only violates your user’s privacy but also puts your business’s reputation at risk.

When users can’t opt out of your email list, they may end up flagging your emails as spam. Furthermore, it’s not helpful to your business to have contacts who have no interest in your brand.

15. Bypassing email automation tools

Email automation platforms make email marketing much easier and more effective. They come with a wide range of tools to help you:

  • Send recurring campaigns on autopilot
  • Segment your audiences so you can send more targeted campaigns
  • Templates to help you build professional-looking campaigns

You’ll miss out on numerous opportunities when you choose to bypass these tools. Luckily, there’s a wide range of them and you can find a good platform that fits your email marketing needs and budget.

For ecommerce businesses, we recommend using email marketing platforms with an extended list of automation features and deep integration with ecommerce platforms. The good integration empowers marketers to get more ecommerce data for better targeting and more advanced yet effective automation workflows, like lapsed customers reactivation, high-spenders, VIP customers, etc.

16. Restricting emails to only deals and special offers

The best part about email marketing is that it allows you to build a long-lasting relationship with your customers. While deals and special offers are part of it, they shouldn’t be your sole focus when you’re engaging with your audience.

You want to send emails that offer value to your customers as well, outside of promoting your products. These could be educational emails, informative emails like personalized tips, email invitations to events or webinars, etc.

Such emails help strengthen your relationship with your customers and boost customer lifetime value.

Email marketing mistakes: Wrap up

Email marketing can be a powerful marketing channel, but only if you avoid all the above mistakes. Most of these mistakes tend to make you lose conversion opportunities or lower your deliverability rates.

Getting your emails flagged as spam is the last thing you want for your brand’s reputation. And every business wants to maximize every opportunity to boost revenue.

Powerful email marketing tools like Mailchimp, GetResponse, or Omnisend can keep you from making the above email marketing mistakes. Choose wisely to ensure excellent ROI for your email campaigns.

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