Resources Hub » Blog » 6 Common Mistakes in Email Campaigns

We all want to create only the best when it comes to our email campaigns.

However, it’s easy to slip up and make one of the many common mistakes in email campaigns, especially as marketers (and their audiences) evolve.

Read on to discover several common mistakes we’ve seen in email campaigns, so you know what to avoid.

6 of the most common mistakes in email campaigns

While there are many common mistakes in email campaigns that should be avoided, we don’t want to overwhelm you. Instead, the goal is to inform you, so you can start practicing best behaviors and ensure your email campaigns net you the best results possible. That said, here are six of the most common mistakes seen in email campaigns across all industries.

1. Lack of email list segmentation leading to irrelevant content for subscribers

One of the most common mistakes in email campaigns is sending irrelevant content to your subscribers. It doesn’t matter how good you think your campaign is—if it doesn’t apply to a reader’s specific needs, they won’t read it. Nearly 21% of consumers state that they unsubscribe from a brand’s email list when the content isn’t relevant to them.

Why email subscribers unsubscribe

Source: Marketing Sherpa

The good news here is that several simple fixes can address this common mistake in email campaigns. The easiest one to implement is email list segmentation. This is the process of segmenting your whole list into multiple smaller lists based on very specific criteria, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geolocation
  • Purchase history
  • Page view history and more

 Email list segmentation example

Source: Campaign Monitor

Once you’ve broken up your list into more detailed lists, you can assign certain segmentations to specific campaigns, ensuring that your audience is only getting the most relevant content available.

2. Not taking the time to welcome your new subscribers

You’ve probably already heard of welcome emails. If you haven’t started implementing them, you need to start now. Taking the time to reach out and welcome your new subscriber to your brand is essential in starting your new customer relationship off on the right foot.

Consumers these days expect to have regular communication with the brands they choose to subscribe to. If they subscribe to your list and receive crickets in return, they’ll assume that you don’t prioritize your customers. This is also true if you start sending them promotional content without taking a moment to introduce yourself.

Be courteous to your new subscribers and send them a simple hello and thank them for joining your community.

Learn welcome email musts by watching the short video below.


Subscribe to Campaign Monitor on YouTube.

3. Lacking a clear CTA

Another common mistake in email campaigns is either not including a CTA, lacking a clear CTA, or including too many CTAs in a single email. For a CTA to work, you need to make sure it’s simple, easy to identify, and easy to act on.

This is crucial because it not only drives your brand’s overall engagement, but is the most effective way to get your subscribers from your email campaign to your website to perform an action, such as a download, signup, or purchase. Here are a few tips you want to keep in mind when creating your call to action for your next email campaign:

  • Make your CTA about your reader by utilizing terms such as “my” instead of “your.” For example, using “get my copy now” makes the CTA about your reader, whereas the phrase “get your copy now” can come off as demanding they take action.
  • Make it visually appealing and ensure it stands out by using a contrasting color to make your button, such as a blue button against a white background.
  • Make sure your CTA text stands out against the color of your button.

4. Not utilizing a responsive template

The days where everyone viewed their emails on their desktop computers are long gone. In fact, more and more people are viewing their emails on smaller devices, such as their tablets or smartphones.

Percentage of email opens by device 2018

Source: Emailmonday

Since more consumers are using devices other than their desktop and laptops to view their emails, you must avoid this common email campaign mistake and create responsive email templates so your subscribers can open your email, no matter which device they’re using.

However, while a responsive email template will ensure your email opens and is viewable, you should really consider utilizing a mobile-friendly email template. The difference?

  • Responsive email templates rely on CSS media queries that change and modify your email campaign message based on the specific rules you’ve set, allowing it to adapt and fit any screen width.
  • Mobile-friendly email templates rely on a single-column layout to ensure emails are still readable when they scale to different screen sizes.

Either of these methods is acceptable, and there are many resources available in creating responsive email templates without having to know the coding that goes alongside it.

5. Not paying attention to your send frequency

One dangerously common mistake in email campaigns has nothing to do with the design of your campaign, but when and where you’re sending your campaigns. While consumers want to hear from their favorite brands regularly, sending too frequently can lead to your readers unsubscribing from your list.

However, the opposite also applies. If you aren’t sending frequently enough, your readers can and will quickly forget about your brand as their inbox fills up with content from other brands.

The key here is to utilize A/B testing to see how often your subscribers prefer to hear from you. Another way to ensure you’re sending frequently enough is to include a frequency preference in your email subscriber’s preference center.

6. Prioritizing images and videos in your email content

Images, videos, and GIFs are great pieces of content to include in your email campaigns; however, when you build your entire email around them, you’re setting your campaign up for failure. While utilizing videos in your email campaign can lead to an open rate increase of 6%, if you bog down your message with these extras, you’re running the risk of slow loading times, messages that result in corrupt images and frustrated readers.

The problem here is that, once your message starts to show broken files or videos that won’t play once clicked, your readers are going to get frustrated, and that frustration could easily land your messages in the trash.

In the case of images that won’t load, at least you have the opportunity to add alternative text that’ll appear, should your images corrupt for whatever reason.

So, instead of prioritizing images and video content in your email campaign, make sure you’re balancing out your imagery with a decent amount of body text to ensure your readers are still getting the full message, not only part of it.

Emails that are doing it right

Now that you know some of the most common mistakes in email campaigns, it’s time to take a look at a few brands that are getting their email campaigns right.

Apple – “Welcome to Apple Arcade”

This email example from Apple stood out to us as an excellent email because it addresses many of the most common mistakes in email campaigns that were discussed earlier.

First of all, it’s an excellent example of a welcome email that’s sent out to those who subscribe to Apple’s Arcade services. The message is very cheery but still comes off as very professional, which is expected by most consumers.

It also uses a great CTA that stands out and is very easy to spot. However, one area they could improve upon is the fact that they included two different CTAs in a single email. The first CTA suits this welcome email very well and allows readers to jump right into the gameplay. The second CTA would’ve been better suited for a follow-up email in the welcome series with the topic of setting up a family account, should one be needed.

Excellent email example from Apple

Source: Really Good Emails

Grubhub – “Pro tips for ordering delivery”

This email example by Grubhub stood out primarily for its overall design. The brand does a wonderful job of balancing out its use of imagery and written copy. The image used in this email screams money, which encourages readers to keep scrolling through the message. The body of the text then informs them of the “perks” mentioned not only in the header text, but in the CTA as well.

Even better, while Grubhub also utilizes two CTAs in their message, the CTAs are the same. That means the reader’s attention won’t be divided, and they can take action without having to guess which choice is the right one at that moment.

Excellent email example from Grubhub

Source: Really Good Emails

Public Goods – “How Our Team Is Coping with Social Distancing”

Finally, we truly enjoyed this email example from Public Goods because it did an excellent job of keeping their email balanced between images. Thanks to its single-column layout, we also know it’ll be easily viewable on a mobile device.

While this message doesn’t include a CTA, this is the rare case that it really doesn’t need one. This email wasn’t designed for the reader to act on. Instead, it was designed simply to inform, and it does a wonderful job of just that.

Excellent email example from Public Goods

Source: Really Good Emails

Wrap up

It can seem so easy to fall into any of these common mistakes in email campaigns. However, knowledge is half the battle, and, if you keep the following errors in mind, you’ll know exactly what not to do:

  • Lack of email list segmentation leading to irrelevant content for subscribers
  • Not taking the time to welcome your new subscribers
  • Lacking a clear CTA
  • Not utilizing a responsive template
  • Not paying attention to your send frequency
  • Prioritizing images in your email content

New to email campaigns? Then you’ll want to check out our complete email marketing guide for beginners for more great tips to get you started.

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This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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