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Consider this: fixing one common email marketing mistake can raise the rate at which prospects open your email by 137% and increase click-through rates by 129%, according to one study.

Indeed, fixing common mistakes can dramatically improve the ROI of email marketing. In fact, just recently one of our clients remarked at how much his newsletter’s open rates had spiked since we took over doing the work. He had been sending newsletters for years with minimal results.

His company is not alone. Bad email marketing is rampant. It’s not only a waste of money, it’s also a huge lost opportunity because well-executed email marketing can do wonders for a business.

Here are six common mistakes you should avoid.

1. Thinking “more is better”

Studies have found that the more you email to your database, the lower your open and click-through rate. The only exception usually comes from companies that send less than one e-mail per month.

While some companies may see a short term spike in sales from increasing the frequency in their mailings from monthly to weekly, the long term damage can be substantial. Over-mailing can reduce brand loyalty and will inevitably raise the number of damaging spam complaints and unsubscribe requests. And once someone unsubscribes, you’ve lost them forever.

2. Gambling rather than testing

Do you send out an email campaign and just hope for the best? That’s gambling. With email marketing, it’s smart to forgo gambling and instead test before you launch a campaign. Depending on the size of your database, send two or three variations of an email to a subset of your email list to see not only the open rate but also the click-through rate of the emails. You may find that one subject line gets the highest open rate, but another subject line gets greater click-throughs. Click-throughs are of critical importance, so take note of those when comparing your test emails.

3. Skipping personalization

One research study found that personalizing your email can increase open rates by as much as 137% and click through rates by as much as 129%. While these numbers may vary from study to study, they are still indicative of the importance of addressing recipients by their names—something that many marketing systems can easily do for you. Doing so will pay off.

4. Looking less-than-stellar

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to marketing, a cover is largely all you have. Your prospects will judge your company by how professional your marketing looks and reads. This is no time to skimp. Make sure your content reads like it was written by a professional, and that your email looks professionally designed. And I’m not talking about the default design templates provided by many email marketing services. You need an email piece that makes your company look great. After all, this book will be judged by its cover.

5. Forgoing triggered emails

You may be surprised to hear that well-timed, triggered emails are opened at double the rate of regular email marketing. Triggered emails are those that arrive in response to something that happens, such as the birthday of one of your prospects, or when they purchase your service, or when they buy a house. Be sure that your email specifically addresses the trigger for your outreach.

6. Undervaluing your contacts

Every contact you make is a possible new business lead or referral source. Don’t forget to enter them into your company database. Even better, make sure you enter not only their contact details, but also the nature of the relationship, how you met them, whether they are prospects, and every time you reach out to them. After all, growing your database will grow the reach of your marketing efforts.

The next time you consider how to grow your business, generate more leads or increase your company’s name recognition, think of email marketing. When done correctly, it’s something every company should do. Need help? Reach out to us. We’ll get your email marketing to yield optimal results. Email me at

By Rosalie Berg, President, Strategic Vantage