7 Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Every day, billions of emails are sent.  Competition for your inbox is high and there are plenty of ways for even experienced marketers to trip up on common email marketing mistakes.  We are going to show you 7 of them and how to avoid them for better click-through and engagement rates

So, it all starts with an Email List.  Common mailing list errors are:-

  1. Outdated mailing lists
  2. No segmentation

1 Working with old mailing lists


Watch out with purchased list and old addresses


Business email servers look at your emails for potential spam to protect themselves and their employees.  Public email providers like Gmail and Outlook also have requirements for sending and receiving email to/from their accounts and have limits for complaints, spam etc.

If you are not regularly working and reviewing your email lists, you may well be sending to abandoned or full inboxes.  If you are in B2B, people leave employers and their mailboxes are either closed so you get a 505 error or worse they leave them as spam traps.  All of these impact on your sender reputation



Use an email validation service like neverbounce.com before you send, particularly if you acquire or purchase a new list.  It costs about 1 penny per email address to maintain your reputation.  

Regularly review or, better still, continuously automate your lists to check for no engagement.  If someone has not opened your emails in 6 months or more, its likely they have moved on.  You can try to re-engage them and there are specific ways to do that or just retire them.

By doing these simple things, your sending reputation will improve as will your email marketing results.

2 No Segmentation


Pay attention, this one is really important


Google “why segment email” and you will see similar stories - segmentation really works.  Even if you only sell one product, you certainly don't have only one type of customer.  They may be at different stages in the buying cycle, have different pain points, use different jargon...etc.  In 2020 segmentation is a must to get and keep your prospects’ attention. Just think about how you react when you receive emails that are not relevant to your business or interests.  Yep, you delete immediately, perhaps even unsubscribe or mark as spam.  Why would someone not react in the same way to your emails when they are not hitting the mark with them?


Lead Intuition ourselves have one basic product (ActiveDEMAND Marketing Automation Software) which we target into a number of business sectors or market verticals that are in our marketing plan.  Each sector has different needs or pain points which we try to address.  So, our Newsletters, produced in ActiveDEMAND of course, may well all contain the same talking points but are carefully and specifically targeted to each market vertical. We do this by using either multiple versions or dynamic content.  We write the same basic newsletter, but each version is tweaked to the market vertical as part of the same campaign with different language or images relevant to the recipient.



At the very least do basic segmentation and decide a few basic filters to separate and make groupings or segments.  Here are some ideas

  • Are they Prospects or Customers?
  • Are they Loyal or new customers?
  • If you’re in automotive – then segment by New or Used vehicles, SUV, 2-door, 4-door...etc
  • Be Country specific; if you serve multiple countries
  • Maybe check if they use Metric or Imperial units of measurement and adjust your email
  • In B2B be aware of the Company size by turnover or staff count

Send emails that address your groupings specific needs.

If you want to look deeper into segmentation, look at our article on Behavioural Segmentation. Then work out how people behave with your brand and how to use dynamic content to meet their needs based on their behaviour.


3 The frequency of email


When we have the time to write one?


Without having a plan or schedule for your emails, you will likely only send them when you feel you have something to say or think “we've not sent a newsletter for a while”.  BIG MISTAKE!  Someone who signed up 6 months ago and gets their first email from you has long forgotten you.  An unsubscribe or spam ding is the most likely outcome.



  • Plan your newsletter schedule months ahead.  Don't just do one when you have time or need work.  Have a publication date and stick to it.  The frequency depends on your overall strategy and target markets.  But at least Monthly.
  • Even better is to use the predictive send feature to put your email at the top of their inbox when they are most likely to read it.
  • Give yourself time (plan) to write; good copy, compelling call to action, interesting subject and preview lines.

4 Don’t deny recipients the Opportunity to Reply


Sorry, company policy -  we don't talk to customers


Nothing indicates to a prospect better that you don’t want to communicate than sending emails from a “no-reply” or generic box like sales@ or admin@.  You are also missing a chance for further personal engagement from a simple click of the Reply button.


  • Remember that marketing is all about the people.  People do business with other people, not entities or boxes. 
  • Treat your mailing list how you would want to be treated, Personally!

5 Failure to Test Your Work


Have you received emails that begin.....


Dear %contact_first_name% how are things at %contact.employers_name%,  just a string of meaningless characters.  Or maybe an email with a terrible layout.

So much for the use of personalisation when it backfires because you used the wrong syntax to create the personalisation tags or perhaps that image worked ok on your iPhone but not on an Android tablet.



  • Test your messages on as many devices as you can before you hit send; Desktop, Tablet and mobiles.
  • Think mobile first - More messages are read on mobile devices than desktops.  Design and test your messages with that in mind.
  • Test each version if you are using multivariate or dynamic content email - yes it takes time.  Build it into your marketing plan.
  • Always get several others to read them before public transmission.  Spelling, grammar and flow really do matter!

6 Not Using the preview line

The preview line or preheader is the text that appears below your subject line in the inbox.  It’s often overlooked or ignored, but it’s another opportunity to gain the readers’ attention.



Always use the preheader in your html emails.  Use it to offer a call to action, inject urgency or value.  Don’t overlook this valuable line of text.


7 Don't be greedy - 1 Subject and 1 Call to Action per email


What do you want me to do?


We have all received emails with multiple calls to action (CTA); Buy now, Subscribe, visit the website, book a meeting, check out this new product…...and so on.  Confusion rains and as a result, nothing gets clicked and your campaign fails.



Keep it simple.  Get their attention with your stunning email copy and make it really clear what you want the recipient to do.

Many of the things we have set out here are basic to most email marketing systems.  However, if yours cannot achieve some of the points discussed, please feel free to contact us to find out how we can make your email marketing better you achieve them.

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Visit our ActiveDEMAND Support Portal or schedule a support session.

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