20 Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Email marketing is a powerful tool for boosting sales, increasing awareness and deepening relationships with customers, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can also be a source of frustration and wasted time.

To get the most out of your email campaigns, avoid these top 20 email marketing mistakes that many businesses make.

From not having an opt-in strategy to sending too many emails at once, these common pitfalls can leave your campaigns stuck in a rut — or worse yet, land them in the spam folder!

With this guide to avoiding the biggest email marketing blunders, you’ll be able to maximize ROI while improving customer engagement and satisfaction.

What email marketing mistakes should you avoid?

1. Not Having a Clear Goal

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make when it comes to email marketing is not having a clear goal in mind. Before you send an email, you need to define what you want to achieve with it. Are you trying to drive traffic to your website? Promote a new product? Encourage signups for a webinar? Whatever it is, make sure your goal is clear and specific.

2. Not Segmenting Your List

Segmenting your email list is an essential part of email marketing. When you segment your list, you group subscribers based on specific criteria like location, interests, and behavior. This allows you to send targeted, relevant emails that are more likely to be opened and acted upon.

3. Not Paying Attention to Subject Lines

The subject line is the first thing your subscribers see when they receive your email. If your subject line doesn’t grab their attention, they’re less likely to open your email. To avoid this mistake, make sure your subject line is compelling and relevant to the content of your email. Avoid using clickbait or deceptive subject lines, as this can lead to unsubscribes and spam complaints.

4. Not Optimizing for Mobile Devices

More than half of all emails are opened on mobile devices, so it’s important to optimize your emails for mobile. This means using a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes and making sure your email is easy to read and navigate on a small screen.

5. Sending Too Many Emails

Sending too many emails can be a turn-off for subscribers, leading to unsubscribes and spam complaints. It’s important to find the right balance between staying top of mind and not overwhelming your subscribers. Experiment with different frequencies to see what works best for your audience.

6. Not Personalizing Your Emails

Personalization is key to making your subscribers feel valued and engaged. Use their name in the email, reference their previous interactions with your brand, and recommend products based on their interests or behavior. This can significantly increase the effectiveness of your email campaigns.

7. Not Providing Value

Your subscribers are busy people, so it’s important to make sure your emails provide value. Whether it’s useful information, exclusive deals, or entertaining content, your emails should be something your subscribers look forward to receiving. If your emails aren’t providing value, they’re more likely to be ignored or marked as spam.

8. Not Including a Clear Call to Action

Every email you send should have a clear call to action (CTA). Whether it’s to visit your website, sign up for a webinar, or make a purchase, your CTA should be prominent and easy to follow. Make sure your CTA stands out visually and that it’s clear what the subscriber needs to do next.

9. Testing Your Emails

Testing is a critical part of email marketing. Before you send an email to your entire list, test it on different devices and email clients to make sure it looks and functions correctly. You can also experiment with different subject lines, CTAs, and content to see what resonates best with your audience.

10. Not Paying Attention to Analytics

Finally, it’s important to pay attention to your email analytics. By tracking metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, you can see what’s working and what’s not. Use this data to make informed decisions about your email campaigns and to continually improve your strategy.

To see more about email marketing analytics, here are our top 10 email marketing metrics you need to be paying attention to.

11. Not Following Email Marketing Best Practices

Email marketing is a complex field with its own set of best practices. Ignoring these can lead to poor engagement, high unsubscribe rates, and spam complaints. Best practices include obtaining permission to email subscribers, providing an easy way to unsubscribe, and including a physical mailing address in every email.

12. Using Generic Content

Using generic content that doesn’t resonate with your audience is a common mistake in email marketing. To avoid this, take the time to understand your subscribers and their interests. This will allow you to create content that is relevant, engaging, and valuable to them.

13. Not Having a Consistent Brand Voice

Your emails should reflect your brand voice and values. Inconsistency can be confusing for your subscribers and can erode brand trust. Make sure your tone, language, and style are consistent across all of your email campaigns.

14. Not Segmenting Your Campaigns

Segmenting your email campaigns is just as important as segmenting your list. By creating separate campaigns for different subscriber groups, you can send more targeted messages that are more likely to resonate with each group.

15. Not Keeping Your List Clean

Over time, your email list will naturally accumulate inactive subscribers, invalid email addresses, and spam traps. Keeping your list clean by removing these can help improve deliverability, engagement, and overall performance.

16. Ignoring Email Deliverability

Email deliverability is the measure of how successful your emails are at reaching your subscribers’ inboxes. Poor deliverability can result in your emails being marked as spam or not reaching your subscribers at all. It’s important to optimize your emails for deliverability by following best practices such as avoiding spam trigger words, using a reputable email service provider, and avoiding sending emails to purchased or rented lists.

17. Not Including Social Sharing Buttons

Social media is a powerful tool for amplifying the reach of your email campaigns. Including social sharing buttons in your emails makes it easy for subscribers to share your content on their social media channels, which can help increase visibility and engagement.

18. Neglecting Your Email List

Your email list is one of your most valuable assets, and neglecting it can lead to lost opportunities. Make sure you’re regularly engaging with your subscribers, keeping your list clean, and updating it with new subscribers. A neglected list can result in lower engagement rates and decreased ROI.

19. Not A/B Testing Your Emails

A/B testing is a method of testing two variations of an email to see which performs better. This can include testing different subject lines, content, CTAs, and send times. A/B testing can help you identify the most effective elements of your email campaigns and improve performance over time.

To see more about A/B testing, we’ve written an article about it here.

20. Not Optimizing Your Email Footer

Your email footer is an often overlooked but important part of your email. It should include important information such as your physical address, unsubscribe link, and social media links. Optimizing your footer can help improve the overall effectiveness of your email campaigns.


In summary, email marketing is a complex and nuanced field, but avoiding these common email marketing mistakes can help you achieve success.

By setting clear goals, segmenting your list, personalizing your emails, and following best practices, you can create email campaigns that engage, delight, and convert your subscribers.

Remember to continuously test and optimize your campaigns, and pay attention to analytics to make data-driven decisions about your strategy.