We all make mistakes. Sometimes they’re unintentional and others come from bad strategies. In email marketing, there are lots of times when you can make both kinds of mistakes.

How subscribers see mistakes in your campaign

Have you thought about how the mistakes you make in email marketing look from the perspective of your subscribers? How they might react to them and what conclusions they might draw? Let’s take a look at things through the eyes of the people who open your newsletters and try to see things from their point of view.

Subscribers reactions to #emailmarketing mistakes illustrated in funny #gifs Click to Tweet

Sending newsletters without permission

A basic of good practices in email marketing is sending messages only to those you have consented to receive messages from you. This is why it’s called “permission marketing”. If you’re not following this basic rule, you’re making a huge mistake.


Don’t send any messages to addresses that you obtain through illegal methods. Don’t collect them from internet pages (contact@, info@, etc.) and never buy a mailing list. Always use the double opt-in method of gaining new subscribers organically. This means that anyone who wants to join your newsletter gets a confirmation email with a link that needs to clicked in order for that address to be added to your subscriber list.

Sending emails too often

Do you send a huge amount of newsletters, maybe every few days to everyone in your subscriber list? It might be time to rethink your strategy. Don’t be fooled into thinking this “spray and pray” approach works because it doesn’t. What it does do is flood subscriber inboxes and make many of them think about looking for the resignation link on your next newsletter.


Follow another email marketing golden rule - once a week is enough.

Sending emails too irregularly

At the other end of the spectrum is sending campaigns so rarely that subscribers can forget who you are. If you’re sending messages every few months, maybe only around holidays or when you have a special new product line, don’t be surprised when people start to forget you exist.


Try to send campaigns at least once a month to keep your space in the minds of subscribers. If you don’t have anything new in terms of products or services, create a newsletter based on brand building or educating customers. You can also include things like updates in your business or field.

Links that go nowhere

Great graphics, an enticing CTA and a link that takes subscribers… nowhere. It’s hard to make a conversion when you lead customers down a dead end street, isn’t it? Messing up something so simple as a hyperlink is usually enough to kill whatever motivation your almost-customer had to buy from you. Not too many of them will bother to take the time to find your store the hard way after this kind of mistake.


It only takes a minute to test everything in your newsletter before you hit “send”. Don’t assume that everything is perfect this time because it was fine last time. Send a test campaign and click everything that can be clicked to be sure the links lead to where you want them to.

Misleading CTAs or no CTA at all

When putting your newsletter together, don’t forget about including solid calls to action (CTA), something that will make it clear that you want subscribers to click on something for a specific reason. Even the best-looking newsletter will struggle to get a response without a good CTA. Just like the bad links I’ve already mentioned, make sure your CTA actually leads to where you tell subscribers it will take them. Again, it only takes a minute to test everything before you send it out to everyone.


Avoid using underlined words that are not part of a link. Don’t add elements that look like buttons that aren’t.

Language mistakes

A sharp eye can spot even the smallest errors in your newsletter content but sometimes things fall through the cracks. A missing comma or something like that might not be the end of the world but a bigger mistake can get lots of attention for all the wrong reasons. You don’t want your newsletter to be the next hit internet meme, do you?


Avoid costly errors and maintain your professional image by taking the time to carefully read and re-read everything that goes into your newsletter. Ask someone else to take a look just to get another perspective. 

Not using segmentation and personalization

I think you’ll agree that it might not be a good idea to send a newsletter about a great promotion on lipstick, mascara and eyeliner to men. When you don’t use database segmentation and personalization, this is exactly what you’re doing with every newsletter no matter what’s in it. One of the primary advantages of email marketing systems is the ability to send different messages to different people - why wouldn’t you take full advantage of the greatest asset you have at your disposal?


You can segment your database on the basis of lots of criteria, including degree of engagement, location or source of web traffic to your internet store. Proper segmentation is an absolute basic of email marketing and your subscribers expect content that is adapted to their preferences and tastes.

And if some guys want the newsletter with the cosmetics because you know they want it, well, then, that’s different...

Unresponsive newsletters

More and more of us are using mobile devices to check our mail. If your newsletter isn’t responsive, it won’t automatically adapt to the size of the screen that it’s displayed on. This means it will be hard to read, graphics won’t be in the right places and links will be all mixed up. This is a recipe for disastrous campaign statistics.


Responsive newsletters are a must, not an optional extra. If you want your subscribers to see your newsletter in the way you intended, there simply is no other way to make that happen on mobile devices than by using responsive templates. They preserve the fonts you use, make sure graphics display the way they should and your CTA won’t suddenly disappear off the edge of the page.

To make sure you’re doing everything the way you should, take a look at our article: Make responsive email newsletters!

Using shortcuts in your message subject like FWD or RE:

Using shortcuts to suggest that your message is a continuation of a previous conversation is a bad mistake that can cause your mail to be directed to spam folders.

9gifDon’t mislead subscribers, use personalisation instead and using something in the message subject to get their attention that way. Learn more about this in our guide.

Overly bright colours

Of course you want to get attention, everyone does. You might be tempted to use super-bright and almost neon-strength colours to get attention but I have one word of advice for you - don’t. Blinding everyone with mega-wattage colour is not the way to anyone’s heart. (Be careful - over-bright colours!)


Use appropriate and suitable colour schemes, with two or three at most in one design. For backgrounds, use grays and whites. This helps to focus attention on more intense colours and you make it easier to read and follow everything. Read more about colour schemes here.

Using the wrong font

If you’re looking to add a little extra “something” to your newsletter, don’t go too far and use a font that is too complicated or unnecessarily ornate. Using too many different kinds of fonts or ones that are hard to read just makes your message an unreadable mess.


Better to sue simple, standard fonts that display properly on screens of all sizes. These “safe” fonts are the ones that are installed on almost all devices - Arial, Tahoma, Times New Roman and Georgia.

Don’t write to anyone in tiny print, trying to cram in as much as possible. Make a clickable headline and invite readers to follow the link to learn more. Read more about the use of fonts in email marketing here.

Source: giphy.com

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  • Peter

    perfect guide – info here was obvious for me, but composition of a “lead+mem” was so perfect, that I’m sending this as a benchmark for creating “guides”.

    • Eliza | FreshMail

      Thanks! :)