Blogs Oops You Did It Again: Three Common Email Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

Written by Paula Chiocchi on 2019-08-08


We’ve all been there. After sending out an important email to a colleague or customer, you find a glaring and embarrassing mistake that you wish you’d caught beforehand. That scenario unfortunately plays out countless times every day, everywhere around the world. And while we all make mistakes, email marketing errors are for all to see, and for the most part, there’s no taking them back.


So what can you do to minimize campaign blunders? With more than two decades of email marketing experience behind us at OMI, here are three common mistakes and oversights we see along with our top tips for fixing them:


  1. The basics: Let’s start with the surprisingly common mistakes that are the easiest to fix: spelling errors or typos, incomplete placeholder text, unsupported characters, personalization errors (e.g. wrong name inserted), cut-off subject lines, links that don’t work, etc. These mistakes are most often due to time constraints or just plain laziness.


The fix: 1) Always have your messages proofed by someone else, 2) send your message to a few internal folks who are disconnected from your campaign – do they understand what you are communicating and what action to take? 3) Test your campaign emails on various ISP and mobile device platforms to ensure they are delivered and render perfectly. You can save testing time with tools such as Email on Acid, an online email rendering evaluation platform that displays how your messages look on various devices and email programs.


  1. Overly promotional: Using words that come across as overly corporate, too salesy (“buy now!”), or contain jargon, acronyms or overused buzzwords (“best practice” or “synergize”) can turn off your audience and negatively impact engagement rates.


The fix: Stop communicating like an old commercial from the 1950s and instead make your emails sound like they’re coming from a friend or trusted advisor. For example, in your subject lines, use an informal vocabulary, get creative or insert some emojis. (Emojis can increase open rates by over 50%, but before you use them be sure to check guidelines for usage in B2B vs. B2C environments.) A few other tips for subject lines: use a provocative question or simply offer practical solutions or ways to overcome a common challenge you know your audience faces.


  1. Ignoring pre-header text: An email pre-header is summary text that follows the subject line when an email is viewed in an inbox. It’s what many mobile, desktop and ISPs show email readers to give them an idea of what’s inside the message before they open it. It often provides a short summary of the email and can make the difference between someone opening it or not.


The fix: Complement your subject line and give the recipient a way to preview what they’ll be getting when opening your email message. This allows you to be proactive or creative by providing the reader another reason to open your message, get them to take action, or utilize FOMO (the fear of missing out). Pre-header text can be easily written and programmed into your email content, so educate yourself about the way these important email elements work and get in the habit of using them going forward.


Mistakes or oversights are simply an irrevocable part of marketing (and life). Stay vigilant, be proactive and enlist the support of others and you’ll be better positioned to avoid them.


What’s the biggest email mistake you’ve made? We’re all friends here – let us know!


Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.


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