10 Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Being in charge of the email marketing for a business requires you to balance a lot of moving parts, from tools and tracking to lists and compliance. Even the best email marketers can fall victim to common mistakes. We've compiled a list of 10 basic email mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

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Written by Amanda Hudgins

As marketers we know how important email is to a business. It can deliver ROI for your business and consumers who purchase products through email spend 138% more than those that don’t receive email offers.

In fact, 40% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success, and 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email. And 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel in terms of revenue generation.

Being in charge of the email marketing for a business requires you to balance a lot of moving parts, from tools and tracking to lists and compliance. But even the best email marketers can fall victim to common mistakes. Though some of these seem obvious to check for, you can still have a send that might be affected by one of these 10 basic email mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

1. Dead/Wrong Links

This all comes back to testing, testing, and testing again! It is easy for emails to go out in a rush and then later you find out there's a wrong link in an image or text. To prevent this, have multiple eyes on an email and send yourself a live test email. This way you can make sure all the links are in the right place at the right time.

2. Grammar or Spelling Error in Email Copy

Maybe you were typing too fast, and that pesky space bar added an extra space in your copy that you missed. While this may be minor, when you find it later, it is always a headache. Test email sends will also help prevent this issue from happening to your business.

3. Not viewing how your email looks on different email clients

Unfortunately, even with advances in the digital age, email clients are still not on the same page when it comes to rendering email code (looking at you, Microsoft). Luckily, a lot of ESP’s (email service providers) now come equipped with tools that let you see how your email will look in various email clients. This is especially useful if you are not using a template and coding your emails from scratch. If they don’t, using a tool like Litmus or Campaign Monitor will give you the assurance you need to make sure your email doesn’t have any weird hiccups.

4. Not Segmenting Your Audience

This is one of the biggest mistakes you could make as an email marketer, especially in the day and age of personalized customer experience. Would you want to send an offer for new customers to existing ones? Or send a promotional email to those you know won’t qualify? Or only sell in the US? Segmenting can keep your unsubscribe rates down and improve your engagement!

5. Mass sending or sending email to the wrong segment

Maybe you did your due diligence to segment your lists but forgot to include or exclude them in your send. Make sure to double check that your segments are input correctly and don’t forget to exclude prospects or customers who don’t qualify!

6. Not Measuring Results

It is all about the data. To know how to optimize your email content, send times, or even designs, you have got to analyze the data. Luckily, email performance tracking is pretty easy. Here is a template to get you started.

7. Wrong From or Reply-To Address

Since this is usually one of the last steps of your process, do you always check to make sure the email is coming from or replying to the right person? Especially when you are in B2B, make sure whoever you send the email from still works at the company or the reply-to email has a place to live. Nothing like a customer trying to reply to your email with no one to respond or no place to go.

8. Error with Personalization in the Subject Line

We have all gotten the email where you can tell the company tried to personalize the subject line and turns out, they don’t have your first name and the field where it should be is blank with a lonely comma. When sending personalized emails, it's important to have a backup setup for dynamic fields so you aren’t trying to communicate with no name.

9. Missing Image and No Alt Text

Sometimes you run into an issue where your image is not showing or for some reason the link is broken. This is where Alt text can come in to save the day. When an image is not shown, the alt text can fill in the gaps on what was supposed to be there or for them to do. Was it an image inviting them to click? Tell them what they are clicking in the alt text as well! It is a good CYB just in case.

10. Sending too many or too few emails

Since you know how valuable your email list can be, it is easy to get over eager and want to send them all of the emails. Do they happen to exist in two segments, and you have list overlap? Be careful to avoid this, as you do not want to have list fatigue and end up with some of your best potential customers hitting 'unsubscribe'. But email marketing is all about balance! Make sure you avoid under communicating with your customers or prospects. Looking at your engagement rates by segment is a great indicator of how your email cadence is doing.


Luckily if you make one of these email mistakes, you can still bounce back! It has happened to the best of us. Don’t worry! A lot of them can be avoided in the future through testing and having more people look at your emails before you press send. If you are interested in some other email mistakes to avoid, here are a few additional articles we found helpful:

14 Email Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid

The Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes to Stop Making

10 Email Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them