12 Email Marketing Mistakes To Avoid [New Report]

Jeanne Hopkins
Jeanne Hopkins



dirty dozen email report

While I was working at MarketingSherpa, we published MarketingSherpa’s Dirty Dozen: Email Newsletter Mistakes Nearly Everyone Makes as a lead generation offer for the 2008 Email Marketing Summit .  At the time, I thought that this was a valuable document that could help companies recognize and change their less than stellar email habits. Three years have passed, and I’m inclined to believe that the email mistakes that were most common then are still rampant today.

We all make mistakes, and my recent blog posts on the topic of email marketing challenges , objectives and tactics have generated comments from our readers highlighting perceived errors by HubSpot's marketing efforts, primarily the perception of too frequent emails. 

Here are the "Dirty Dozen" and my brief commentary on each with their current relevance to your email marketing efforts.

Mistake #1: Blatant Lack of Permission - Companies still try to get around the permission issues in search for the quick buck. That’s a big mistake.

Mistake #2: Utterly Deficient Segmentation - Content relevancy is the number one issue for the email marketer. Without segmentation, you have no real relevancy.

Mistake #3: Lame ‘Welcome’ Messages - We still receive far too many lame welcome messages. What a wasted marketing opportunity.

Mistake #4: Frequency Decisions Made for the Wrong Reason - Marketers are in a constant battle on the matter of frequency.

Mistake #5: Institution-to-One Messaging - The debate on how to personalize company emails is ongoing. It’s all about testing.

Mistake #6: No Real Interactivity - Interactivity is not only for social media. Email was once the relationship building medium, and it still can be.

Mistake #7: Deliverability: Content, Formatting & Lack of Self-Advocacy - If anything, deliverability is even a bigger issue than it was a few years ago.

Mistake #8: Designing Images That Appear as Red Xs - Getting HTML images to appear for those who have images turned off still requires that they turn the images on. It’s the text vs. HTML debate.

Mistake #9: Disregarding Your BlackBerry and Mobile Readers - The number of mobile readers has exploded since 2008. Thank you iPhone and Android.  It’s more important than ever to make your email mobile reader friendly.

Mistake #10: Repeating Ad Types - Banner blindness in email newsletters is more prevalent than ever.

Mistake #11: Collecting Bad Response Rates - You need good analysis to determine the effectiveness of your email. That’s always been the case.

Mistake #12: Relying on Email Only - This last mistake of relying on email only was written during the dawn of the social media revolution. It’s the only one that feels a bit dated, but it’s still worth noting that relying on just one tactic alone is never a good plan.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Dirty Dozen: Email Newsletter Mistakes Nearly Everyone Makes , you can download a free copy . We’ve updated portions of it with data from MarketingSherpa's 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report. What we’ve kept is the wisdom.

Are you making of these mistakes?  Would you add anything to this list?

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