email marketing best practices

Avoid Making These Scary Email Marketing Mistakes

On the spooktacular Halloween day, we thought we’d revisit some of the scariest email marketing mistakes we’ve seen over the years, in the hopes that you won’t let these haunt YOUR email marketing messages…!

In one of our early posts for the Email Experience Council (EEC) we talked about 9 common real-world email marketing mistakes that you can avoid, and I’m sorry to say, two years later, I’m still seeing some of these  email marketing mishaps haunt my inbox.

Some of the freakiest?

1) Corpse-Like Copy: otherwise known as boring, dull, repetitive, irrelevant or otherwise nonsensical copy. I don’t need to see dead content molding up my email inbox, and neither does anyone else. If you adopt: “content is king” as your mantra, and continue to craft interesting, engaging, and highly relevant copy, your subscribers will perk right up and listen. And what interested subscribers equals for you are higher open rates, more click throughs, and more conversions!

2) Zombie-fied Coding: Make sure you’re setting your pixel width to be accommodated not just by computer screens, but also smartphones and tablets. Also be careful with HTML-only emails, since not all email clients render these effectively. Always offer a text-only version of your email, and include a link to a web-version of the email that can be easily viewed online.

3) Blood-Sucking Subject Lines: Otherwise known as ineffective teasers, these can suck the life right out of your email; meaning, they’ll never be seen if the subject lines cause the email to be flagged as spam. Some of the most common spam-flags are subject lines that are too long, screaming (all caps), contain too many spaces, exclamation points, or repeated characters.

4) Ghostly Images: Many ESPs and email clients suppress images, not to mention the rendering difficulty encountered with mobile email clients. Also consider using some simple techniques to compensate for image blocking, like including descriptive alt tags beneath the images, using non-image copy for display type, and to be on the safe side, utilize a View Online feature so they have another way to see images if they are suppressed.

Granted, none of these email marketing mistakes are as frightening, as say, seeing a zombie making a beeline for your front door, but in the real world, the former are much more common, and very preventable. When you consider how much of an effect they can have on your email deliverability and how easily they can be avoided through use of your email marketing best practices, you might reconsider just how scary they are.

Published On: October 31st, 2011Categories: Email marketing best practices

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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