Email Marketing can be a minefield, there are so many things to consider if you are going to do it well and gain a healthy ROI. In a bid to help declutter our inboxes, I have listed some of the most typical email sins being committed on a daily basis and how these blunders can be avoided to help bring real value to your customers and business. 

1. Too many messages

Keep it simple! Don’t have 3 or 4 different messages in one email. An email is a short, engaging snippet of information that should lead to a click through. Make sure you are not confusing the recipient with different messages.

2. Not using pre-headers

Use them! A pre-header is a short summary of text that follows the subject line.  When an email is viewed in the inbox. Many mobile, desktop and web email clients provide them to tip you off on what the email contains before you open it. If it’s there use it, it’s almost a second chance to grab the recipient’s attention.

3. Wrong audience

Make sure you segment your data so that the email you send to your recipients is relevant and of interest. Too many times people will send the same email to everyone in their database. It’s not about blasting an email out to everyone you can reach. Email marketing is more effective if you segment your data and amend the tone and message to smaller groups of data so that is relevant to them.

4. Bad timing

Sending the email out at the right time is key. You want to engage with the recipients at the optimum time to ensure they see it and respond in the way you want. Do some research to see when your audience is most receptive to emails and test to see what days and times are the best. Usually, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are the best days to hit 'send' and emails sent on these days tend to have the highest open rates. The best time to send emails is at 10am, 8pm and midnight (this is down to people checking their email before going to bed) and at 6am (stats show a majority of people begin their day by emailing in bed!)

If you have a key email that is likely to generate a lot of revenue use it again! Once the email has been sent, wait for at least 48 hours and segment on all the people who did not open the email and re-send it. This strategy is called ‘re-mailing’.

5. Lack of testing

Your email template must work well for mobile devices. Many of your subscribers will only read your emails on a tablet or smartphone, so it's fundamental the templates are tested. It's also important you have a mobile-friendly website so when users click through to the site it matches the style, content, offer and design of the original email. Never assume you have the best layout, text, calls to action etc. Use the power of A/B testing to keep improving your email marketing strategy. MailChimp has some great advice on this.

6. Not personalising the email

If you know the name of the recipient then make the email personal! Personalisation is one of the most important factors in a user experience. If you can personalise the content of the email too with product recommendations based on a users purchase history then do it! There have been numorous studies showing that this will increase transaction rates dramatically, by 6X according to a study by Experian.   Here is a good example of how recommendations can work:

7. Same old subject lines

Subject lines are important. Whether or not they get opened, they create a psychological association between the customer and the brand, the language you use and the perception your customers have on you. It's important to use the "tell don't sell" approach and make the subject line compelling. We all know the brands we trust, but never unsubscribe from because they treat us like humans and their content is valuable to us.

According to a study of around a billion emails in 2015 by Adestra, the top 3 performing words of an email were:

1. Thank you

2. Topics separated by pipes for example: Sale now on | New lines added | Win a trip to Dubai

3. Monthly

If you need a bit of help with generating some really catchy subject titles, the Subject Line online rating tool gives you free tips on how to improve it.  

Another great tool is Subject Line Checker, which allows you to find out what keywords will boost or drop your email success rate.

I know it can be hard to come up with an engaging subject line each time you send out an email but test them. Use A/B split tests to test subject lines. You can send 50% of your list one subject line and 50% another. You will soon learn what type of subject line receives the highest open rates. Don’t keep using the same style of subject line. Be creative.


As you can see, there is a lot to consider when it comes to email marketing. When it is done correctly it’s a very successful marketing channel that can be extremely profitable.   If you have any questions around any of the points above, or think you could benefit from an email audit, then get in touch


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