Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your arsenal. It allows you to establish a personal connection with your readers and lead them through a sales funnel whenever you launch a new product or a service.
How To Write a Terrible Marketing Email
But, marketing emails are also responsible for 70% of spam complaints which means if you don’t take the time to ensure your email content is engaging and relevant, chances are it will wind up in the spam or junk folder.
Unfortunately, there are a few other mistakes that can help your email land in the spam folder or simply cause your subscribers to delete it without even opening it. Avoiding those mistakes is easy, when you know what they are.
In this post, we’ll show you what makes a terrible marketing email so you can avoid writing emails that nobody reads and instead ensure they drive traffic, leads, and customers for your business.
1. Write an irrelevant or generic subject line
Your subject line tells the recipient what they can expect in your email. It should encourage them to open your email and read it. If your subject line is irrelevant to them or generic, they won’t bother reading your email, let alone open it.
Use your subject line to prepare your subscribers, engage them, and encourage them to take a few minutes out of their schedule to see what your email says. Use your brand’s voice to ensure it stands out from thousands of other emails that land in their inbox.
The following examples demonstrates an irrelevant subject line that doesn’t tell the recipient at all why this diet is the best and the email itself doesn’t offer any way of actually checking the book discussed in the email:
2. Ensure your subscribers have no way of replying to your email
Sending a marketing email from a Do Not Reply address is a great way of ensuring you get no feedback and lose out on sales. You’re effectively creating a one-way conversation and nobody wants to participate in those.
Even if your email is sent from a generic [email protected] or [email protected], chances are nobody will reply to those either, because it looks like the email is coming from a robot. It’s cold, it’s impersonal, it scares your customers away. In other words, don’t do it.
If you want your emails to be the first step toward building a more meaningful relationship and turning them into actual clients and customers, use an email address that has your first name in it. Seeing an email that came from [email protected] or [email protected] looks more personal and makes your brand appear more human.
3. Don’t personalize the emails
Another way to ensure your email looks generic and cold is to start it off with a simple Hello or Hi. Even if you opt for Dear, it looks plain weird.
No matter which email service provider you’re using, their built-in tools allow you to build a form that asks for your subscriber’s first name. And some of the best opt-in plugins will allow you to insert a name field into the form.
Use that information to personalize the email and insert it after the greeting. It will make your subscribers feel like it was written for them and with them in mind.
This example from a book marketing company uses a generic opening line that shows no level of personalization:
4. Send the same email to everyone on your list
Have an awesome new product coming out? Great! Be sure to notify your entire email list about it because that’s a surefire way to get more sales, right? Well…not exactly.
Your email subscribers are people who are at different stages in their lives or their businesses. As such, not all of them will be interested in the exact same product that you have to offer. Someone who opted in for a free checklist to write better headlines will not be interested in your high-end course to master writing sales pages. But they might be interested in a low-cost course that helps them learn the basics of copywriting.
Use the segmentation tools in your email marketing software to learn more about your subscribers and create different groups or segments of your list. This will ensure you can send a more targeted campaign and know which subscribers to email to achieve the best possible return on investment.
5. Avoid formatting and spell checking at all costs
A good way to ensure your email gets sent to the trash and results in no sales or engagement is to condense all the information into one long paragraph. If you want to make sure it gets sent to the spam folder, be sure to include a few grammar and spelling mistakes, too.
Typos happen to everyone, but not checking your writing prior to hitting Send just shows you don’t really care what your subscribers think. It also leads to a lack of trust.
There are plenty of online tools that will help you check your writing and save you the embarrassment. Formatting, on the other hand, doesn’t require a lot of extra effort–it’s a matter of keeping your paragraphs short and making use of bullet points to make the content easy on the eyes.
6. Avoid calls-to-action
Just because you know what you want your subscribers to do doesn’t mean they know it too. Avoiding calls-to-action for the fear of coming off too salesy is the biggest mistake you can make and may leave your subscribers confused.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you need a call to action after every sentence, but do make sure to make it clear what the purpose of the email is. Tell them whether you want them to click the link and read your blog post or to click a button to get an exclusive deal in your online store.
This email breaks several of the rules mentioned so far: the email comes from an [email protected] address, there is no way to unsubscribe and the call to action is practically non-existant:
7. Omit the unsubscribe link
Assuming you are guilty of any of the mistakes above, complete the picture by omitting the Unsubscribe link. If you don’t give them a way out, they will be forced to stay on your email list whether they want to or not. Instead of opting out, they will simply mark it as spam and go about their day while your open rates plummet.
Not only can leaving out the Unsubscribe link hurt your relationship with your readers, it also violates the CAN-SPAM laws. Avoid hurting your reputation by making sure the unsubscribe link can always be found in the footer of your email.
8. Ignore mobile devices
The last mistake on our list includes ignoring mobile devices and not testing your email campaigns. Considering 34% of subscribers use a mobile phone to read their emails, sending them an email that doesn’t display correctly is a surefire way to frustrate them and cause them to unsubscribe.
Don’t make this mistake and take advantage of your email marketing software’s tools to get a preview of how your email will appear on devices with smaller screens. Your mobile subscribers will thank you and your chances of getting them to read your emails and click through to your site greatly increase.
Avoid writing terrible marketing emails
The mistakes listed above are great if you want your subscribers to delete your email without opening it, mark it as spam, or unsubscribe from your list. But, now that you know what the worst email marketing mistakes are, you can do the exact opposite and ensure your list stays healthy and your subscribers stay engaged. Use that knowledge to turn those leads into customers and clients and to grow your business. Best of luck!