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10 Ways to Avoid Common Email Marketing Mistakes in 2014

Communication keyEmail marketing has always had critics. These skeptics will tell you all the reasons why the email marketing channel will eventually fizzle out. However, recent studies have shown the average return on investment in email marketing to be anywhere from $32 to a whopping $44.25 for each dollar invested.

If you are not yet experiencing this level of ROI, use the checklist below to detect areas for improvement:


1. Disabled Images

- Studies show that up to 80% of your recipients have images disabled. Some are disabled by the email provider. Other people have made the choice to avoid downloading images.

- Take the time to insert alt text for your images. That way, even if they cannot see the image in your email, they know what is present.

- The search engines cannot ‘see’ the image. Your alt text lets them know what you have posted.

2. Scan-Ability

- People rarely take time to actually read the entire content of your email marketing. So, your message must be easy to scan. Even before the impatient buyers of today, professional copywriters honed the skill of scan-able content

- The scanning reader emphasizes the need for strong headlines and sub-headlines, plus bulleted lists

3. Mobile Ready

- Ease of reading has become even more important as email recipients are moving to mobile devices.

- Studies show that email is checked on a mobile device around 34 times each day.

4. Analyze frequency

- No one can tell you exactly how often to send emails to your target list. Frequency varies greatly from one industry to the next.

- Use your CRM software to set up dashboards to analyze open and click through rates. When you know what causes your sales lead to respond to your email marketing effort, you can apply that knowledge to the frequency of sending the group emails.

- Watch for unsubscribes. An uptick in requests to unsubscribe can mean many things such as poor value in your content. The most common reason for requesting to be taken off your list is that you send them emails too often.

5. Segments

- Try to keep your email lists chunked down into groups that share something in common. You may want to segment them by lead source first because that is relatively easy. Ultimately, you may want to segment the list by such things as order volume or even hobbies. The more targeted your email – the more relevant the message can be for them.

6. Personas – targeted and relevant

- Relevance is critical for your email marketing to be effective. For each segment, develop the persona of the ideal client within the category. This persona is a composite and fictitious human being that is at the center of all communication to each segment

7. Conversational language

- Once you have identified the composite persona of your best clients, write your emails as if you were sitting with them face-to-face.

- Formality does not have the power to engage and should not be used in email marketing. Even your C-level sales lead does not want a stuffy, formal email.

8. Pithy Subject Lines

- With the volume of emails received by your targeted message, getting the email opened is a huge challenge. Intrigue them with something that provokes curiosity.

- A/B test your subject lines. Some people get up to a 28% increase in open rates from changing only one or two words.

9. Engaging content

- When the recipient has opened the email, you better deliver something worth reading or they will quickly click away.

- Email marketing that essentially says “Buy My Stuff” become old very quickly. Give them something more and keep promotions to a minimum.

- Today’s consumer wants to be educated and entertained.

10. Compelling call to action (CTA)

- It is a shame if you spend your time and effort following this list of tips, then leave it up to the customer to figure out what comes next.

- Give the reader a specific action to take once they have consumed your email content. It can be anything from “click here for a free report” to “share this story with friends” or anything else you want them to do.

Join The Conversation

  • Mar 24 Posted 3 years ago Faustas Misiunas

    Hi Craig,

    great checklist, imho every marketer should keep these point in mind nowadays when email marketing is dying (or maybe word "changing" would be better). However, achieving success with email is becoming more and more challenging for marketers.

    These mistakes don't exist are aren't so relevant in "next-gen" marketing platforms like, and even such new players like

    However marketers and business owners should take care about points listed in above.

  • CraigKlein's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 3 years ago CraigKlein

    That's right Sunday!  As they say, Content is King!

  • Sunday's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 3 years ago Sunday

    Its pretty obvious that the majority of email marketing mistakes lies in the marketer  not making the email engaging for the customer.

    I guess the 10 mistakes highlighted here sum up what marketers should be readily dealing with to improve their email campaigns.

    Every email should solve a problem for the recipient directly or indirectly so as to improve ROI.


    I have left the above comment in where this post has been shared for Internet marketers.


    Sunday - contributor for


  • CraigKlein's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 3 years ago CraigKlein

    Great points Emma!  Thanks for sharing!

  • CraigKlein's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 3 years ago CraigKlein

    Thanks Samuel!

    Yes, Google has a way of keep us all on our toes :-)

    Here's a recording of a webinar we recently held covering a very simple approach to creating effective campaigns for newbies -

  • Samuel Hum's picture
    Jan 13 Posted 3 years ago Samuel Hum

    Hi Craig,

    I liked many of the points! Some of them, such as Disabled Images, Segments, and Compelling CTA are quite fundamental, but nonetheless important. I think it's very easy for us to be caught up with the complexities that we forget about the fundamentals.

    I guess another problem is the Gmail Promotion tab, haha

    Thanks for writing this!

  • Jan 12 Posted 3 years ago emma_shining

    Thanks Craig for such a wonderful article.

    I agree with all the points. However want to add in to the Conversational Language it is usually hard to develop the conversational language. Sometimes when you are sending message / email to the vast category you have to be personlized based on each one of them. So our language might vary some feels it more personal and some found it quite robotic or not relevant at the same time.

    Another thing I want to add is to never send newsletter first time to those referral emails you have received through client's reference. Because they usually get's annoyed if received a standardized email. But again I think it depends how big is your business. We usually send 10-15 custom emails to our referral email clients. So they feel a personlized impression.

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