Bad Email Marketing Habits You Need To Avoid

Email marketing generates $38 for every dollar spent, according to Return Path. As a low-cost direct marketing channel, email marketing is the prime tool for digital only entrepreneurs and brands alike. But due to different email marketing habits, few brands were successful in generating maximum returns, while the rest lagged behind.

Did you try different email marketing tactics but still wonder why your returns are low?

Email marketing tactics

We, humans, tend to be biased towards habits that impact our results. This article deals with habits that hurt your email marketing tactics and how to avoid them.

1.Sending Unsolicited emails

Email spam regulations are not formed for India, leaving a lot of room for email marketers to exploit the customers.

Buying email list to increase product and service’s sales quickly is one of the email marketing habits that will hurt your brand growth than building it.

The recipients might have subscribed for a third party marketing content, or the list might not be legitimate altogether.

Frustrated recipients will most likely mark your promotional message as spam or delete it without even reading the full content.

According to Return Path, an uninterested recipient is one of the reasons why promotional emails obtained a low reading rate of just 19 percent. And also they attained a delete rate of 12 percent even before reading.

The email marketing bad habit of sending messages to customers, who did not opt into the email newsletter or marketing content. Will build dislike towards your brand and they will mark the messages as spam.

Those spam markings by unsolicited recipients will push your future email messages into the spam folder. Rising the possibilities of losing a future customer. And the vanished reputation due to customer dislike will hamper the brand growth directly and indirectly.

Ten repeated loyal customers that are satisfied with your brand, products and services are ten times valuable than hundred forced customers.

Ways to increase your solicited email list

Start building your legitimate email list through product or service selling on your website. Push the in-store customers to provide email ids in exchange for coupons and discounts.

Successful big brands are built on customers trust and loyalty that has been constructed over many years. But not through aggressive promotions within a short span.

Marketers, in their desire to attract as much attention as possible within a quick span, do many blunders. Unsolicited email marketing is one of such mistakes that marketers should avoid.

2. Infrequently sending Email Messages

Most organizations and individuals build an email list with a large number of email addresses. But they fail to serve content to their subscribers frequently and it is a bad email marketing habit.

It leaves a lot of room for subscribers to forget your brand and offerings. At the same time finding the right frequency is also a big challenge for digital entrepreneurs.

In another case, sending email newsletters or email messages every day means churning out content every day. If you produce more content in a quick span, the quality of the content will get degraded and the value addition to the reader will be very low.

Even though the subscriber is legitimately acquired. Bombarding the subscriber every day with email messages will hurt the prospect of a lead. Further, your unsubscribers rate will increase.

Email Marketing newsletter Frequency

Source: Entrepreneur

High quality content with low frequency certainly works better than the high frequency email newsletters. The above image clearly highlights that point.

In the below image you can see too many emails sent on the same day from the same brand.


This just ruins the customers’ interest and enthusiasm.

At the same time, if your subscriber lost interest in your offerings then remove their address from your email list. Email open rate statistics will help you understand their interest.

Low email open rates and read rates will increase the chances of email clients and internet service providers marking your content as spam. So, maintaining an active email list rises your prospects and leads.

Give priority to customer loyalty

Send an email to the inactive subscribers to subscribe back; if they are still interested, they will join the list.

Don’t be inconsistent, maintain a schedule and prepare content beforehand so that, your subscribers will not miss content from you. Send at least one email per week.

Engaging your subscribers frequently like once a week is crucial to keep their loyalty towards your brand.

Instead of sending too many emails within a short duration, push the highly exciting marketing content. You have to ensure that customers interest is not declining and still the email frequency should not be irritating for them.

Even at 12 email messages per month, some brands were able to obtain close to 3 per cent open rates, data from Entrepreneur (See image above). That is a rare outcome, dependent on the demand for your offerings.

Test different frequencies and click rates, try to find the right frequency with high click rates.

3.Sending generalized content

Knowing what your subscribers want is a much better way to target content specific to them. Sending generalized content or content that you believe will work is one of the email marketing habits to avoid.

At the same time, lack of segmentation of email subscribers will lead to a low return on investment.

Companies that do not have multiple channels to meet their customers are not showing much interest to personalize their interaction with the subscriber.

And even the ones with large data fail to personalize their interactions with the user. Personalized offers and personalized email messages will have better appeal to the recipient.

One of the Email marketing habits of sending messages without much value will disappoint your subscribers. Unless the customer is bound to your product or service.

Personalizing content based on segmentation and subscriber data

Segment your email subscribers list based on different parameters like,

  • The content type they react more,
  • Open rates and
  • Read rates,
  • Content engagement,
  • Their demographics,
  • Profession,
  • Interests and other data.

Track your marketing content performance and change the content as per the interests of segmented groups.

Your subscriber list might like gif images over regular images or a video to better understand the message of the email. Try different content mediums like video, audio, infographics etc.  to increase interest towards your content. It will become a good email marketing habit over the long period.

To make sure that the subscriber is entirely interested in your offering, use the double sign-up process for sign-ups. Drive your website subscribers to click on a confirmation link sent to their email id to make sure they are completely interested in your offerings. Provide unsubscribe link within emails.

According to Return Path, Post-purchase messages have 44 per cent read rate substantially higher than promotional messages. Use names of your customers instead of general hello and hi. Personalize the content to meet their interests and needs. Automation for sending emails during events and activities like birthdays, signup and purchase confirmation will connect your brand with the recipient. As these are special events related to them, recipients show increased interest to open and read your messages.

A pre-approved bike loan offer to a 25-year-old person is utmost likely to perform better than to a 45-year-old. At the same time, an insurance policy to a 45-year-old person will work better than to a 25-year-old.

4.Misusing parts of the email

Apart from the subject line, pre-header is the content that makes or breaks your subscriber to open your email.

In the attached image below, the brand tries to market about their No.1 position in the pre-header while the subject and context of the email is about discount – 10% off on laptops. This will destroy the context of the email.

Email Pre-Headers - Email Marketing

A pre-header that was not used as an extension to the subject line is an opportunity missed to create interest towards that email message.

In addition to that, avoid subject lines that look like spam. Email clients use specific parameters to label emails as spam. Subject lines with spam triggering words are one such parameter.

Spam triggering words example: 100% free, additional income, 100% satisfied, best price, billion dollars etc.,

Though email clients have become much more advanced at this, it is better to avoid too catchy or attention-grabbing words. If they are contextually relevant, you can use them without hesitation but not when they look suspicious.

The recipient needs assurance that the email received is from a legitimate source. The options to build this are very scarce through email messages. Brands are not utilising the footer physical address option to overcome this issue.

Plain Text – Automation

Use plain text instead of image and design rich templates, this will avoid the puzzle of reader distraction. Additionally your subscribers will not face any email viewing issues.

With plain text, subscribers will have fewer data to process and act upon.

Use the email pre-header as a way to convey the summary of the email apart from the subject line.

Add your Physical address in the email footer; this will increase the trust factor of the email.

5.Sending out without checking

A well-presented piece of content will serve its intended purpose but broken content will break its purpose. Do you know whether your email message is presented as it is supposed to be?

Same email account can be used and accessed on different email clients for convenience. This makes people use different email programs than their original email client. Example: Gmail account can be accessed on Microsoft Outlook. Change the habit of sending out email messages without knowing if they are showing up correctly across all devices and email clients.

Sending out hundreds of email messages every day with design rich templates and images shouldn’t be the norm.

Gaining maximum traction should be your priority, scope for deviation from this objective is high with design rich templates. Because design rich templates contain many parts in the body and you can customize them in many ways. If they are not your thing, you shouldn’t be implementing them in your email messages at all.

Organize Content

Use an Email service provider that supports compatibility across devices and email clients. If you want to use design rich templates to give rich look to your email messages, select simple designs. These kinds of email marketing habits will make your email messages look cleaner, beautiful and clutter free.

Measure the success of email marketing campaigns to find out any potential issues. Check for invalid or broken links and content formats.

6.Sending large email message

Clarity in what you do and want to achieve through your actions will increase your odds of success. A thousand words to present your point might not work if your content is puffy and dull.

Targeting different products and services in one email message will dilute its value. Using more than one call to action buttons in an email is most confusing to the subscriber.

At the same time, including too much of substance like too many topics, ideas and news. Which needs at least five minutes or more to read is one of the email marketing habits that hurts your tactics.

What Type of Content is needed

Make sure that your email content is concise and does not contain any deviation. Provide different insights, perspectives and statistics, and use effective words and content that will have higher prospects of grabbing your subscriber attention.

Target only one product or service through your email message, this will benefit your email marketing habits. As that one product or service has better chances to get a detailed attention in your email message.


A loyal subscriber base and their trust is crucial for building a sustainable brand.

Whether you are a small digital domain that provides technology tips or a big brand, you have to engage your subscribers and respect their interests. Every minute detail in the email impacts their engagement and interaction with the email messages.

Our progress is a result of change in habits and level of hard work, we cannot progress without breaking those habits.

So, try to find out the email marketing habits that hurt your tactics from this article. And implement the measures mentioned to increase your return on investment.

And if you have any additions to the points above, please mention them in the comments section.

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Siva Kumar

A financial analyst turned digital marketer with a keen interest on everything related to latest digital marketing trends. Watching science fiction and comedy movies is what I do during my free time. A strong believer in imperfect self and society. Polishing and practicing my writing skills in digital marketing.

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