10 Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid


There’s an abundance of helpful information scattered across the web to help businesses improve their email marketing, yet mistakes are regularly made.

To assist you in fine-tuning your future campaigns, we’ve compiled a list of 10 email marketing mistakes to avoid.

Having either too much image or too much text

By default, only a small number of email users have images switched on. This means that if you have a huge image taking up the majority of your campaign, there’s a high chance that your audience will just see blank space as the image would not have loaded for them.

If you’re lucky enough to have your campaign opened, it’s then only a matter of seconds that your audience will spend judging whether the campaign is of value or not. Short sentences enable your audience to quickly travel to the most important or relevant information to them.

It’s good practice to have an even balance of image and text in a campaign and always give your image a text title. This way, the user can read what the image is rather than see it. In MailFirst, you can do this within EasyEditor from the features bar as pictured.

Relying on the default domain

A ‘sending domain’ is the email address that your campaigns are sent from. Many users of email marketing platforms continue to rely solely on the default domain. Read our blog here which discusses the benefits of adding a custom from address to your MailFirst account.

Not test-sending before sending your campaign

A simple and common mistake many people make is not test sending themselves their campaign before sending the campaign out live so you can see how it appears in an inbox.

Test sending yourself a campaign is a helpful way to perform a final check of it. You are able to view how the subject line and friendly from name look and make any alterations if needed. You can also make edits to the body of the campaign if a test send shows an anomaly.

Not utilising split-testing features to improve your email marketing

Test, test and test again. We can not stress this enough. In order to move away from a ‘one size fits all’ mentality, it’s paramount that you test your campaigns to discover what works for different groups within your audience.

A/B testing or split-testing is the capability within MailFirst to test a number of variations from one single campaign. With split testing, each adaptation of your campaign is measured against the others to determine which one is performing the best.

You can split test your subject lines, friendly from name, from address and more.

The metrics shown from split testing will enable you to shape any future campaigns for maximum effect among your audience. You can learn more about split testing, including the steps to implementing split testing here.

Not linking to your website from your campaign

Inserting links in your campaign that directs your audience to places on your website is the real goal of any email marketing campaign.

Historically, the behaviours of audiences do not indicate that they exit an email campaign and then go and search the internet themselves for the information within the campaign. They expect to be able to easily journey from a campaign to the required destination. Such as, to a blog post.

It is also important to note that you must send your audience to the correct place and not just your homepage!

Paying absolutely no attention to mobile

More people access the internet from their mobile now than on desktop and around 53% of all users open email on their mobile so it’s only smart business to ensure that your campaigns work and look well on mobile. Optimising your images for mobile display or purchasing a fully optimised email template will help your audience in being able to read your communication properly. Audiences are time-sensitive and are easily put off from having to pinch, scroll and zoom their way through a campaign.

Overlooking your campaign message preview

Most, if not all, email clients display preview text in your recipient’s inbox. This preview will usually follow your subject line. And many people do not use this space to further their marketing communications.

The examples above highlight the difference to you of utilising the space of a message preview. We’ve even seen a few progressive businesses insert their call to action in their preview text, such as ‘join our webinar’.

You will usually have around 100 characters to play with and it is pulled from the first lines in your campaign.

Not having your campaigns proof-read

Your campaigns go to your current audience and often to your potential audience. These are essentially people who either already spend money with you or people you would like to spend money with you. So imagine how it would look to receive campaigns with simple spelling and grammatical errors.

Would you trust a business with your finances whose communications showed a simple lack of care?

We all understand the odd typo can occur so it’s important some sort of proof-reading process is implemented in order to catch these mistakes before any embarrassment occurs for a business. Proof-reading helps to avoid misunderstanding and prevents a poor perception of a business.

Proof-reading not only inspects the copy within your campaign, it can be at this stage that checks can be carried out to confirm all your links work correctly too.

Sending just one campaign to your whole database

Is your communication relevant to your audience? Yes.

Is your communication relevant to every single member within your audience? Probably not.

You’ll find that some groups of your audience do not have the same needs as other groups. And this can be problematic in delivering good campaigns.

Powerful email marketing platforms like MailFirst enable you to segment your contact database based on their behaviour and dependent on their needs.

For example, you could group together all contacts who consistently click on and read articles related to retirement.

Once grouped, dynamic content can then be implemented to send one campaign with multiple targeted messages for different groups of contacts.

Viewing each campaign individually

As campaigns are delivered over time, possibly a monthly newsletter and intermittent ad-hocs, it’s easy to understand why it’s sometimes hard to see email marketing as a ‘whole’ rather than each individual campaign.

By looking at the whole audience experience with your email marketing, you can gain insights into important audience behaviour. For example, view your reporting for sends over a 12 month period, do you notice any trends?

As ever, if you’d like to discuss any of the points above with our email marketing experts, you can get in touch by emailing us on enquiries@mail-first.co.uk.