All brands have the best intentions with their emails, but there are a lot of little things that can hurt your email marketing performance — and many of them you might not even be aware that you’re doing.

Some email marketing mistakes annoy consumers. Others make it so that the message never gets in front of them in the first place. And all email marketing mistakes can lead to major missed opportunities when it comes to open rates, click-throughs, and other forms of engagement. All-in-all, making mistakes with your email marketing can make you lose trust with your subscribers, and possibly lose them altogether. 

The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to know what they are in the first place. Take a look at this list of eight common email mistakes that brands make to determine which, if any, your messages — and your metrics — might be falling victim to.

1. Poorly Edited Copy

Nobody is expecting an email marketing message to read like The Atlantic, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with typos, grammatical errors, and other writing mistakes. Poorly edited copy hurts the integrity of your brand and suggests to your subscribers that you don’t have quite as much authority as you’re trying to project.

Hire a professional editor to do damage control on all your pieces of content, including your email copy. If there isn’t room for that in your budget, then check out free online editing tools, like Grammarly, that can spot errors that you may not see. 

2. Lack of Personalization

Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates, and yet 70% of brands are failing to personalize their messages. That’s a huge missed opportunity. Today’s consumers are turned off by broad, impersonal marketing, and they don’t have much time for messaging that doesn’t, at the very least, acknowledge who they are. If you’re not taking the time to personalize, you’re almost certainly missing out on a huge chunk of potential conversions.

The best thing about personalization is that marketing automation tools can tell you so much about your subscribers, making it super easy to speak to them. Make sure you’re using an automation tool that gives you insight into where your prospects are in their buyer journey, and what their current pain points and issues may be so you can easily personalize your outreach. 

3. Bait-Driven Subject Lines

You need to be delivering on what you promise in your subject lines. So while a clickbait-y subject line might get more people to open your message, misleading recipients on what they’ll find when they open your message is going to affect their trust in your brand. And considering just how vital trust is in consumer marketing, that’s not a risk you can take.

No one likes seeing a subject line that looks really interesting, only to open up the email and see that what’s inside has nothing to do with the subject line. You feel duped, bamboozled, bested. Don’t do that to your subscribers; it’s just not good marketing. 

4. Lengthy, Boring Content

Don’t bore your subscribers with lengthy, unnecessary copy. Content that is overly wordy, needlessly convoluted, or just plain uninteresting is not the kind of content that is going to get people to stick around. If you want to run a longer piece, tease it with a sentence or short paragraph and then link it to the larger piece of content on your site.

Also, most people are reading their emails on their phones, so they may be in the middle of doing something else or don’t have a lot of time to consume the content. Be respectful of that by keeping your emails short and sweet and to the point, which will also yield better results for you. 


If it looks like we’re yelling at you in that subhead, then how do you think your subscribers feel when they see all-caps in subject lines? Aside from just looking like you’re shouting, capital letters in the subject line connote spam — both to your email recipients and to the email platforms filtering their messages. So if you think use all-caps in your subject lines will be the attention-grabbing method your email strategy needs, think again. 

Instead of using all caps, try using emojis in email subject lines. We’ve found that emojis do a great job of catching our subscribers’ attention and also encourages them to open the email. It’s a win-win! 

6. Not Sending on the Right Day and Time

There’s been a lot of research done on the optimal days and times to send marketing emails, so there’s really no excuse to be scheduling your emails for random times. And just as important as the research is your own data. It’s a huge mistake not to let the information you have around your conversion rates dictate what day, and what times of day, you hit send.

We recommend reading up on the data that’s out there on this and have that inform your email marketing schedule. Make sure to measure results and keep track of your open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate month over month. If you think those numbers could be improved, try different days and times, track, and then re-evaluate.

7. Neglecting Mobile

Not making your emails mobile-friendly is a big no-no, and honestly, every marketer out there should know this. As we mentioned earlier, more than half of email recipients are reading email on their phones, compared to just 15% reading email on their desktops. Mobile email growth is more than just a trend — it’s the new normal. If you neglect to optimize your message design and content for the small screen, then you’re pretty much nullifying the impact of your email for a large swath of its recipients.

There’s an easy solution to this. Most marketing automation platforms automatically optimize your emails for mobile. Make sure you are using a platform that does this for you so you can eliminate a step in the process while also reaching a larger number of people. 

8. Not Performing A/B Testing

Industry-wide statistics can tell you a lot about best practices when it comes to email marketing, and they are, without a doubt, one of the most valuable resources you have for guiding your strategy. But even more important than that is your own statistics, which is why regular A/B testing is so important. There’s no one-size-fits-all email marketing approach; there’s only the one that works for you. A/B testing your emails ensures that you make the most of your experience and put data-driven insights to use for the betterment of your campaigns. So if you’re not doing it, you’re not sending optimized emails.

Put together two emails with the same copy, but each with a different CTA or a different subject line. Send each email to a segment of your audience at the same time and day, and then track the results. See which one has a higher open-rate and click-through rate. That will help you determine which CTA and subject line resonated with them.  

Mistakes are part of marketing. It’s whether you learn from them that makes the big difference. By taking care to avoid the email marketing mistakes outlined above, you avoid falling into the traps that so often lead to poor results on emails that otherwise likely would have performed quite well. You can’t be perfect (and nobody is expecting you to be), but if you know it’s a misstep, then make it part of your strategy not to let it happen.