6 common email marketing mistakes – so you can swerve ‘em

freelance writer 50 1


Email marketing is a brilliant way to nurture relationships, promote new products and offers, and build brand awareness. 

With 99% of email users checking their inbox every day, this is an incredible way to reach people away from the dastardly algorithms of social media. 

But, if your emails are landing in the junk folder or simply never getting opened, then you’ve fallen at the first hurdle. 

So let’s look at some common email marketing mistakes so you can give ‘em the swerve. 

#1 – Clickbait email subject lines

Your email subject line is make or break. And it has one job – to get your recipient to click OPEN!

This is best done with a fairly short subject line that sparks some curiosity and intrigue… but no tricking your readers now, ya hear?!  

Tricking your readers can be a swift way to end up in spam and with a heap of unsubscribers. 

69% of consumers mark messages as spam just based on the subject line.


So stay away from clickbait subject lines that mislead your subscribers. 

And avoid using common spam trigger words (listed below), ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, or excessive punctuation!!!! 

All of these can all send your email straight into spam jail. 

Go to Jail

Straight to jail with ya! 

#2 Using common spam filter trigger words

The most common words and phrases that can send your emails into spam are those relating to money, scarcity or promotions. 

Here are a few examples of words that may send your emails into spam jail. 

  1. Buy now
  2. Limited offer
  3. Free
  4. £££ or $$$
  5. Bargain
  6. Cheap
  7. Discount
  8. No obligation
  9. No strings attached
  10.  Prize
  11.  Free gift
  12.  Promo or promotion
  13.  Act now
  14.  Cheap
  15.  Save ££
  16.  Free trial
  17.  Order now
  18.  Increase sales
  19.  Winner
  20.  Bonus

#3 Making these email marketing faux paus

Your subject line isn’t the only thing that can activate spam filters and send your emails unread. 

Here are some other common culprits:

  • Not including an unsubscribe link in your email
  • Emails with low copy to image ratio
  • Your emails being marked as spam by recipients
  • Adding re: or fwd: to an email that’s not a genuine reply or forward
  • Misleading subject lines
  • Not including your address in the email footer

Essentially, you want to be certain that you’re emailing useful content that’s relevant to your recipient, with a subject line that’s not misleading. 

email marketing mistakes

#4 Not segmenting your email list

How do you ensure that what you email your subscribers is relevant to them? 

Segmenting your email list or tagging subscribers with specific interests will transform the success of your email marketing. 

​​Marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue.


If you have one giant email list and don’t know where these people have come from, what/whether they’ve bought from you before, or what they’re interested in, it can be really easy to send them emails that are way off base. 

It can even damage trust with your clients. 

For example, imagine I’m on your email list because I attended puppy classes with you a year ago. And over the last six months, you’ve emailed me three times about upcoming puppy class availability. 

I’ve already done puppy classes with you! My puppy is now over a year old. 

What does this do?

Well, it makes me feel like just another number on your list, for starters. I’ve worked with you, probably for six weeks in a row, but yet you’re still trying to sell me something I already bought!

It also makes me less likely to open any future emails or to feel like the special client I thought I was!

Imagine…. if instead you tagged me as someone who’d attended puppy classes, and as my puppy approached a year old, you sent a happy birthday email? 

Or when my pup hit adolescence, you invited me to a recall or loose lead walking workshop… which I desperately needed!

Use the data you have on your clients/subscribers to help you tailor your communications with them.

#5 Not personalising your emails!

It’s a privilege to be respected and honoured when someone gives you permission to enter their inbox!

Most of us don’t hand our email addresses over to just anyone – so this is a nice warm lead that needs to be treated veeerrrrry nicely! 

By gathering first names when people subscribe to your list, you can easily personalise your emails, making them so much nicer to receive!

Go one step further and gather your subscriber’s date of birth, and you may be surprised to find that birthday emails go down a STORM!

Birthday emails have 179% higher unique click rates than promotional emails 

Campaign Monitor

#6 Not sending a welcome email

What happens when someone joins your email list?

If you’re not sending out a welcome email or, better yet, a welcome email sequence, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity. 

Welcome emails receive the HIGHEST open rates. And this continues over the following few days after someone joins your email list. 

It’s the honeymoon phase, and you want to make the most of it! 

First, it’s the opportunity to establish a relationship. 

And second, it’s the chance to establish a habit that they open your emails. Wooohooo!

Learn more about setting up a welcome email sequence here.

What do you do if you’ve got a healthy list but you’ve not segmented them?

Simple! You need to send a simple poll to establish the tags you need. 

The key here is keeping it simple. Don’t send an enormous long survey asking them a ton of questions. 

Identify the main things you want to market, and figure out what you can ask to easily tag your subscribers so you can only send them relevant content. 

It’s worth including an incentive here to encourage people to answer your poll. 

This could be a discount code or access to a freebie.

How to get people on your email list

If you don’t yet have an email list or you’d like to grow your email list, giving away some free content is a brilliant way to encourage people to join your list. 

In marketing terms, we call this a lead magnet. It’s how you attract people to become leads that you can nurture and build a relationship with. 

A lead magnet could be a free webinar, a 5 day Facebook challenge, a useful checklist, or a how to guide. 

The key to creating a successful lead magnet begins with thinking about the problems your target customers have, and creating valuable content that will help them. 

Learn more about lead magnets here.

If you’d like some help creating the content to go into your lead magnet, and a killer email sequence to match – then my lead magnet and email sequence package is for you. 

Simply send me an email and I’d be very happy to talk through your options with you. 


Written by Rikki S

Hi, I'm Rikki. I'm a copywriter specialising in helping pet businesses with copy that attracts, engages, and converts.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest tips & tricks in your inbox