Top Fails That Hit Every Email Marketing Campaign

Email Marketing

What can be more devastating to you, as a marketer, than realizing that you’ve made a glaring mistake after you hit send? From broken links and faulty promo codes to sharing offensive content, email marketers have done it all. Clumsy and apologetic follow-up emails usually make it worse as they flood recipients’ inboxes and prompt the unsubscribe rate to rise. 

So, how do you manage to deal with email marketing fails that can hit any campaign? Instead of learning the hard way, let’s take a look at the most common email marketing fails and ways to avoid them. After reading this article, you’ll get a better perspective on how to deal with the mistakes without sending your unsubscribe rates soaring. 

  1. Failing to send a welcome email 

Let’s say you’ve engaged a user enough that they’ve subscribed to your email list. What’s next? Many marketers scare away their fresh subscribers as they start sending promotional emails immediately after a subscription takes place. 

The problem with this approach is that new subscribers are at the beginning of their sales funnel. Yes, they are interested in learning more about your brand, but are they ready to be sold to? A well-crafted welcome email would be a gentle push towards a positive answer. 

How to avoid this email marketing fail? 

The only time when your subscribers are most engaged with your brand is when they have just subscribed to your mailing list. They are fresh, hooked, and interested in what you do. That’s why you don’t want to miss the golden opportunity to engage your new subscribers with a welcome email. 

Take a moment to introduce yourself and explain what the new subscriber can expect from you. Also, you want to use your welcome email as a way to set the stage for future communication. To make sure you never miss a welcome email, use automation tools to standardize your email flows.Incorrect or missing information

Subscribers spot broken links, faulty promo codes, missing or incorrect information in their inboxes all the time. Even the smallest mistake can affect the performance of your email campaign and your brand’s reputation

How to avoid this email marketing fail? 

Even the most skilled email marketers make an occasional typo in their pieces. The best way to avoid mistakes, incorrect or missing info is by proofreading and editing your email copies. 

There will be times when you realize that you’ve made a mistake after you hit send. When this happens, don’t follow the first instinct and try not to panic. We’re all human, and sometimes mistakes and typos just happen. Send out an ‘oops’ email apologizing to your subscribers and identifying the wrong or missing info. Additionally, you can provide subscribers with an extra benefit as a way to say sorry. 

Here’s a great example of how the sorry email should be done. 


  1. Not having a clear CTA  

Failing to provide a clear call-to-action (CTA) is another mistake that can hit any marketing campaign. 

CTAs are paramount for your email marketing campaign as they prompt subscribers to convert into paying customers. If you fail to include a clear and clickable CTA, your subscribers won’t know how to take the next step, which is the opposite of what you should aim to achieve.

How to avoid this email marketing fail? 

Don’t hide CTAs in your email. A good CTA is always bold and clickable. Use action phrases (like “buy now”, “explore more”, “view offer”, etc.) to invoke curiosity and prompt subscribers to take action. 

Also, you can include multiple CTAs as a way to segment your list. For instance, you can add additional tags to subscribers based on which CTA resonated with them the most. 

However, if you don’t have a list segmentation strategy in place, you shouldn’t use multiple links in your email pieces. They will make your message look over promotional, and instead of encouraging subscribers to click more, multiple links can do the opposite. 

  1. Overusing sales-heavy language 

Did you know that an average person receives 126 emails every day, with most of them being promotional? 

If you were to go through some promotional emails in your own inbox, you’d see an interesting pattern. Most of the emails would sound almost like they were written by the same person. Why does this happen? Sales-heavy language and cliches are to blame. Some emails feel as if they will be seen as spam because the subject line is a sales pitch. This is one of the most common email marketing mistakes you can make. There is not much worse than sending your customers an email that seems like it’s just trying to sell something and getting no response in return.

When creating email campaigns, professionals typically think from a marketing perspective They view their products as indisputably exclusive and unique, failing to realize the true scope of the competition.

How to avoid this email marketing fail? 

Use professional and respectful language while staying authentic with your brand’s tone of voice. When crafting your email pieces, think about how your email stands out from a crowd of competitors sitting in your subscribers’ inboxes. 

If you don’t want your email to become another 126th message that’s about to get lost in your subscriber’s inbox, you should make the copy virtually impossible to ignore

  1. Not prioritizing website signups 

The signup CTA on your website is paramount if you want to grow your mailing list. 

However, many marketers oversee the importance of website signups. What they fail to realize is that not prioritizing website signups can result in an insufficient number of subscribers and a low conversion rate. 

How to avoid this email marketing fail? 

 If you see insufficient signups, the problem may be rooted in your website’s design. Go through your website’s design to ensure that your signup button is visible and can be easily accessed by users. The best practice is placing the signup button at the top of every page.

  1. Failing to provide mobile experiences 

With 40.61% of all internet traffic being mobile, failing to provide mobile experiences is a serious drawback. When it comes to mobile email trends, 47% of users check their email from mobile apps. Another research shows that, on average, emails that display incorrectly on mobile devices get deleted within 3 seconds. 

The numbers prove the point. Failing to optimize your email campaign for mobile devices is the same as overlooking the needs of almost half of your audience. 

How to avoid this email marketing fail? 

Optimize your emails to display correctly across all mobile devices. Make sure that the text is responsive and readable on a small screen. 

Before launching your campaign, test your emails on different mobile apps to ensure they’re displayed as you want them to. If you’re working with a small team and don’t have enough resources to create mobile-optimized emails, there are dedicated services that can do all the work for you. 

  1. Relying too much on images 

Loading emails with eye-catching visuals is the first instinct of many email marketers. There wouldn’t be anything wrong with this approach if some of the email receivers didn’t view emails with turned off images. 

When you don’t have a plan B to address those subscribers, you’re risking to lose them. 

How to avoid this email marketing fail? 

You can still use images, but you have to be a bit more careful and have a good strategy in place. Using alt text is a great alternative to ensure that all of your subscribers can still see your point. 

Alt text refers to the alternative text displayed if the image fails to open or is blocked by default. This way, even though the image won’t load, your recipients will get a good idea of what your email is about. 

Making it easier to access your content for visually impaired people is another important reason to use alt text. Visually impaired subscribers typically use a screen reader to access visual information. By enabling alt text and providing descriptions of the images, you ensure that all subscribers can get access to your email content.  

You can enable alt text by using the “alt=” tag inside HTML code for the image. 

Please, note that when you do use images in your email copies, ensure to use files that are no wider than 600 pixels. 

Another potential solution is to send a subtitled video in your email to improve accessibility and make your message more engaging. 

  1. Not thinking from a customer perspective 

Commonly, marketers approach their email campaigns as the numbers game. They often think in terms of quantity (not quality) when deciding how often should they send emails and how many emails to include in their email series. 

How to avoid this email marketing fail? 

Instead of focusing on the numbers, approach your email campaign from the customer perspective. Prioritize thinking through your goals, audience’s awareness, and the purpose of every email you send. 

If you want to engage your subscribers and nurture them to eventually convert into paying customers, you must focus on helping their knowledge gaps. 

When creating an email series, identify the purpose every piece serves instead of thinking how many emails you should include. Every email piece should bring your subscribers closer to conversion through informative and helpful content. 

If you send out a really high number of emails, you risk crashing your website. That’s why you need to make sure having a stable host that is not only able to handle the traffic peak but also keeps being fast loading, especially for mobile users who generally have less patience waiting for links to load.

  1. Sharing offensive content 

Sharing offensive content is the last email marketing fail closing our list. Your subscribers will likely forgive an occasional typo or a faulty promo code, especially if you send out an ‘oops’ email with some extra benefit. However, if your mistake identifies with an offensive statement, it will take a well-executed recovery campaign to regain your subscribers’ trust. 

This Airbnb’s email campaign is the definition of what you shouldn’t do. Airbnb launched the ‘floating world’ email campaign back in 2017 amid the Hurricane Harvey events, one of the most harmful tropical cyclones that took away lives of more than a hundred people and left another 30,000 with no shelter. The company received a lot of criticism for trying to monetize the devastating tragedy. 


How to avoid this email marketing fail?

Relevant content doesn’t have to be offensive to drive attention. The only way to avoid making this mistake is by researching before sharing any content. Make sure your content pieces aren’t upsetting, insulting, or objectionable to certain groups of people.

Wrap up 

Knowing how to avoid the top email marketing fails is paramount to launch a successful campaign. 

Always make sure to proofread your email pieces for broken links, typos, and other mistakes. Test your automation email before launch to ensure all of the elements can be opened on different devices. Think from the customer perspective as you identify the goal of each email piece. Include a strong and clear CTA in every email you send. Don’t overuse sales-heavy language. Instead, build your email campaign around the authenticity of your brand’s tone of voice. And finally, always do your research to ensure that your email content doesn’t offend or upset your subscribers. 

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