The 7 Most Common Email Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Email marketing continues to be one of the most powerful tools in any marketer’s arsenal. 

With email, marketers have the ability to reach a large number of customers directly and encourage them to take the desired action with just a few words and images. 

After all, what could be more personal than an email? 

But it’s not as simple as just sending out emails. 

You need to have a strategy that is well-executed if you want your efforts to pay off. 

And that means avoiding the common mistakes made by many other marketers who try their hand at email marketing. 

Read on for the inside scoop on common pitfalls, and how you can avoid them.

You’re sending too many emails

This one is common among first-time email marketers. 

It’s understandable that you might want to send emails more often because you want to get a return on your efforts as soon as possible. 

Unfortunately, marketers who send too many emails too quickly run the risk of alienating their customers. 

According to the Email Marketing Journal, 40% of consumers feel overwhelmed by too many emails, 

and 58% of them say they unsubscribe from brands that send too many emails. 

You want to send as many emails as it takes to reach your long-term goals for your email marketing campaign. 

That might be one email a week, or it could be one email a day. 

Only you can know for sure. 

To find out, you need to do some research and keep track of how your subscribers respond to different email cadences.

Your emails aren’t targeted enough

Another mistake that many new email marketers make is not being specific enough in their targeting. 

For example, let’s say you run a business that sells yoga mats and yoga blocks. 

You’re probably not going to sell many yoga blocks to people who are looking to buy yoga socks. 

Likewise, you aren’t likely to sell many yoga mats to people who are in the market for yoga blocks. 

So why would you send emails promoting yoga blocks to yoga mat buyers and vice versa? 

Not only are you wasting your time, but you’re also annoying the people who are most likely to become your customers. 

Email marketing is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. 

It requires you to dig into your customer data and find the people who are most likely to buy from you. 

The best way to do that is by using the specific keywords and topics that your customers have searched for in the past. 

That way, you can make sure your emails are going to the right people.

You have a weak call to action

This is closely tied to the specificity issue discussed above. 

If your emails are too general and don’t offer any clear direction as to what you want your customers to do next, 

then you’re likely to see a lower click-through rate. 

The click-through rate is one of the most important statistics you can track while you’re running an email marketing campaign. 

It tells you how many people are opening your emails, how many of them are clicking on links within the emails, and which links get the most clicks. 

If you see that a lot of people are clicking on a certain link, 

then you know that the link is related to a topic that your customers are interested in. 

That can help you tailor your future newsletters even more. 

If you see that no one is clicking on a link, you know that topic needs to be addressed in a different way. 

All in all, the click-through rate tells you everything you need to know about your emails.

You aren’t measuring the right things

This is closely related to the specificity issue. 

If you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to measure while you’re running your email marketing campaign, you’re going to be lost. 

There are lots of different metrics you can track while running an email marketing campaign, 

but it’s a mistake to track everything. 

If you try to take note of every single possible statistic, you’ll never get anything done. 

Instead, choose a handful of metrics that are important to your business, and then stick with them. 

For example, you might want to track the number of emails you send, the click-through rate for each email, the number of emails your subscribers open each day, or the number of leads each email generates. 

The exact metrics you choose don’t really matter so long as you’re consistent and you know why you’re measuring the things you are.

You don’t have the right lead magnet

A lead magnet is a piece of content that you give away for free in exchange for your email address. 

It’s usually something like a guide, an eBook, a template, or a checklist. 

The key is that it has to be something that people are willing to give you their email addresses for. 

If you’re giving away something that’s not helpful, is of low quality, or doesn’t apply to your customers, then you’re missing an opportunity to build your email list. 

If you have the wrong lead magnet, you might be losing out on gaining new customers who could turn into raving fans of your business. 

A lead magnet isn’t the only way to build your email list, but it’s the most common way. 

You can also offer sign-up forms on your website, use pop-up widgets, or include an email subscription option on your social media profiles. 

No matter how you do it, you need to have a way for people to subscribe to your list.

Your lead magnet is in the wrong place

Your lead magnet needs to be in the emails you send to your subscribers. 

Email marketing is a numbers game, and you’re not going to get very far if you only send your lead magnet to the people who sign up for it. 

Instead, you want to build a relationship with your subscribers and show them that you appreciate their business. 

You can do that by offering a free piece of advice or a helpful tip every once in a while. 

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. 

It just has to be helpful. You can also send a short update on what’s new in your industry or at your company. 

Ideally, you want to have a variety of different emails you send to your subscribers. 

That way, you have both the content and the room you need to build relationships with potential customers over time.

A lack of testing and tracking

Like many other marketing activities, email marketing is a long-term process. 

You don’t want to see immediate results from your efforts. 

You want to see them over the course of months and years. 

That means you need to be willing to experiment with different types of email content, calls to action, and delivery times. 

You also need to be willing to track the results of your experiments so that you know what’s working and what isn’t. 

To do that, you can use services like Google Analytics, SurveyMonkey, and Intercom. 

They’re not all free, but they are invaluable tools that will help you learn what your subscribers want and how you can provide it to them better. 

You don’t want to take your foot off the gas pedal as a result of your experiments and tracking. 

Rather, you want to push even harder to find out what works best. 

Your efforts might not pay off for several months or even years, but they’ll be worth it in the end.


Email marketing is a tried-and-true marketing method that can help you grow your business and connect with customers. 

However, it requires a clear strategy and careful execution if you want it to be successful. 

The best way to avoid common email marketing mistakes is to plan your campaign before you start and make adjustments as you go along.

Photo by talhakhalil007 on Pixabay

Timothy Mbiti

I am an entrepreneur and co-founder at PicketMaze. I specialize in search engine optimization and digital marketing.

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