Email Marketing Mistakes – The 7 Most Common Errors Made

July 26, 2023
Countless brands are wasting their valuable marketing asset - an email marketing list - by committing these basic email marketing mistakes...

In this blog, we will explore the top 7 email marketing mistakes most commonly made and provide insights on avoiding them.

Email marketing has long been a powerful tool for businesses to engage with their audience, build brand loyalty, and drive conversions. There is also a strong misconception out there that email marketing is dead. It most certainly is not!

However, like any marketing strategy, there are potential pitfalls that can hinder the effectiveness of your email campaigns.


1. Neglecting to Segment Your Audience.

Probably the biggest email marketing mistake is failing to segment your audience. Sending a single, generic email to your entire subscriber list will likely result in lower open rates and engagement. 

Instead, segment your list based on as many key and relevant characteristics as you see fit in order to deliver more targeted and personalised content. Tailoring your emails to specific groups allows you to deliver relevant messages that resonate with your subscribers, increasing the likelihood of conversions and customer satisfaction.

Some good places to start with email marketing list segmentation;

  • Purchase history (your most loyal customers!)
  • Geographical location
  • High purchase intention (high click-through rates)


2. Overwhelming Subscribers with Excessive Emails.

Bombarding your subscribers with excessive emails is a surefire way to annoy them and lead to higher unsubscribe rates and is an extremely common email marketing mistake. While staying top of mind is important, finding the right balance is key. 

Sending too many emails can dilute the impact of your messages and result in fatigue. Set a frequency that aligns with your subscribers’ expectations, and make sure each email provides genuine value. Consistency and quality over quantity will keep your subscribers engaged and eager to open your emails.

“How many emails should I send a month to my subscribers?”. The answer will vary from business to business and industry to industry but as a general rule – 4-5 emails per month is a solid starting place. Remember, QUALITY OVER QUANTITY!


email marketing mistakes


3. Neglecting Mobile Optimisation.

With the rise of smartphones, a majority of email opens now occur on mobile devices. Neglecting to optimize your emails for mobile viewing can lead to a poor user experience, affecting your open rates and conversions. 

Ensure your emails are mobile-responsive, with clear and concise content, appropriately sized images, and easily clickable buttons. Test your emails across different devices and email clients to ensure a seamless experience for all subscribers.

You can safely anticipate that around 70-80% of your emails will be opened on a mobile device or tablet.

For more tips on specific mobile tips, read here.


4. Lack of A/B Testing.

Email marketing is an iterative process, and failing to conduct A/B testing is a missed opportunity for optimisation. A/B testing involves sending two variations of an email to different segments of your audience and analysing the performance metrics to determine the most effective version. 

By A/B testing, you will quickly learn what your subscribers prefer and can easily avoid some basic email marketing mistakes. Eventually, you will be able to consistently serve them the emails that they really want!

Some different A/B tests to run;

  • Different subject lines
  • The placement of CTA buttons
  • The overall layout of the email
  • The time the email is sent at


5. Poorly Crafted Subject Lines.

Subject lines are the single most important line of copy that you will write in any email. Using generic or uninspiring subject lines will lead to low open rates. Arguably the most common email marketing mistakes are seen most consistently in the subject lines.

Avoid overly promotional language or vague statements. Instead, create compelling subject lines that pique curiosity, convey value, and provide a clear indication of what recipients can expect in the email.

Some tips for email marketing subject lines;

  • Use 8-10 words or 50-60 characters
  • Use a number or statistic to stand-out
  • Use the occasional emoji to catch the eye 

You can read in-depth about optimising subject lines and in turn open rates, in our other blog here.


6. Neglecting Email Personalisation.

Personalisation goes beyond addressing subscribers by their first names (but that is a good start!). Failing to personalize your emails in any way can result in a lack of relevance and engagement. 

Leverage the data you have to tailor your emails and make them more personalised, ensuring that subscribers receive content that resonates with their interests and needs.

A top tip is to gather a little more information when they are subscribing to your email marketing list in the first place – first name, geographic location, etc. And once they have become active, gather information about their habits and activity and tailor the emails using this data as well.

How do I personalise emails?

  • Start with their first name in the intro!
  • Send them emails based on their behaviour on your website
  • Send them emails based on their previous purchase habits

email marketing mistakes


7. Failure to Maintain a Clean Email Marketing List.

Over time, email lists can become filled with inactive or unengaged subscribers, and not doing anything about it is another one to add to the list of email marketing mistakes. Neglecting to clean your email list regularly can impact the overall deliverability and effectiveness of your campaigns. 

Remove inactive subscribers or those who have consistently shown no interest in your emails. Implement a re-engagement campaign to win back inactive subscribers before considering removing them from your list.

It may seem counterintuitive to remove the subscribers that you worked so hard to get onto your list in the first place, but it will be more beneficial in the long run.

Having a list of 1000 highly active and engaged subscribers is much better than 2000 semi-engaged subscribers. Cleaning your list regularly will eventually result in;

  • Higher open rates
  • Higher click-through rates
  • More loyal subscribers



Effective email marketing requires careful planning, strategy, and continuous optimisation. By avoiding these common mistakes—neglecting segmentation, overwhelming subscribers, neglecting mobile optimization, lack of A/B testing, weak subject lines, no personalisation, and not maintaining the list —you can enhance the performance of your email campaigns. 

Take the time to understand your audience, deliver personalised and valuable content, and utilize the data at your disposal. By learning from these mistakes, you can create compelling email campaigns that engage, nurture, and convert your subscribers, ultimately driving the success of your business.

And if anyone tries to tell you that there isn’t a place for email marketing in today’s digital landscape, or that email marketing is dead, run a mile from this person! It can still be one of your most valuable marketing assets.