Top Ten Email Marketing Secrets: Part 4

A Five-Part Series on How to Use Email Marketing for Your Business

Steve Renner Shares his Email Marketing Secrets

Part 4: Common Mistakes

Welcome back to another installment of our Five-Part Series on How to Use Email Marketing for Your Business. We’ve been discussing many of the things that can make your email marketing campaigns great, such as personalization, getting social media savvy, importance of timing and frequency, automation, snappy subject lines, creative content, and boosting your social media numbers (there’s an app for that).

This time, we’re shifting gears.

Sure, there are plenty of do’s when it comes to effective and efficient email marketing. But let’s talk about the don’ts, the pitfalls and flubs, all those common mistakes that’ll send your messages straight to the SPAM folder, or worse, send your subscribers unsubscribing.

Email Marketing: What Not to Do

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: The world of email marketing is a delicate ecosystem. Even the most experienced marketers, utilizing the most advanced email marketing software, can occasionally flounder. Here’s how:

The Problem: Neglecting Your Preheader
The preheader refers to that little preview of text that follows the subject line of an email. Since users spend about three seconds deciding whether or not to open an email, the preheader acts as another tool to grab their attention. In other words, this is valuable inbox real estate, and that all-too-familiar “If you’re having trouble viewing this email…” won’t cut it. Worse yet, many image-heavy emails jumble the preheader on mobile devices into rambling code or some lengthy URL. This will, invariably, reduce open rates.

The Solution: Customizing Your Preheader
Email marketing software makes it easy. MailChimp, for example, provide a text prompt you can replace with your own customized message preview. Again, customized preheaders allow you to extend or supplement the subject line into a more detailed call-out. It’s also a great way to showcase your brand’s personality.

The Problem:

People want to interact with people. Simple as that. Messages from “info” or “noreply” are the opposite of personalized email. When users receive these types of emails, the sender is, essentially, telling them that they don’t want to speak with them. Remember: The purpose of email is communication.

The Solution: Get Personal
Send emails from an actual person (i.e.,, and you’ll likely see an increase in open rates. Subscribers want to feel a personal connection, and they want to know there’s a person on the other end available to help them.

The Problem: Content Lacks Creativity
Remember: You’re not selling a product, you’re providing an experience. Focus on the customer. Who are they? What are they expecting from you? Emails don’t have to be as irreverent as, say, BuzzFeed’s (all demographics are different), but snappy and interesting is pretty much foolproof.

If an email lacks creativity or style, it feels lazy and cookie-cutter. This will lose valuable customer loyalty, reduce open rates, and significantly minimize click-throughs. Cluttered, myopic emails will be ignored, and rightly so. To launch an email marketing campaign is to engage in conversation with your most devoted audience: the consumers. You don’t want that conversation to bore them.

The Solution: Be so Good They Can’t Ignore You

The goal: emails so good they’re shareable. Let your brand’s personality shine through. Email marketing campaigns don’t need to be dry and flavorless. Get punchy. Instill a bit of voice. Your brand is special and unique. Email accordingly.

Well, that’s enough pitfalls, mistakes, and blunders for now. We’ll revisit this topic soon, because it’s important to know what not to do.

Next up, we’ll get back on track with getting to know and establishing a relationship with your subscribers. See you then.