STOP IT! – Don’t Be an Email Marketing Fool by Avoiding These 5 Common Mistakes

Originally published in the April 2013 Thoughtspot Newsletter.

Email marketing mistakes happen to the best of us, but taking the time to learn the most common ones can help us avoid some of the pitfalls of email marketing. We’ve pulled together the mistakes we see the most often, explained what happens and given you tips to recover or regroup with a phrase inspired by a famous Bob Newhart skit.


Email Mistake #1: Sending image only or single image emails.

Did you know, most email marketing services require you to click to download images? Therefore, if you send an image only email, many of your recipients may never see your images. Many of the big name retailers can get away with image only emails because of the deep commitments to their brands AND the amount of money they can spend on well coded emails. Most of us smaller businesses simply can’t compete with what they can do in their emails, but we can stand out in our own ways.

In this same mistake category is sending a single image as your email. When I used to run our creative division, Bright Peak, I would regularly receive requests to, “Turn this beautiful brochure I just had created into an image to send as an email.” My response was (and is), “Bad idea.” As previously mentioned, most email clients don’t show images by default so all my recipients are going to see is a blank screen and an email footer. Can you say, “SPAM!”?

Recovery Strategy: So we caught you red handed and you don’t know how to fix your emails. The first thing you need to do is, “Stop it!” Stop sending image only or single image emails. Here are some ideas to correct your emails:

  • Include a balance of text and images. Read the email without images to see if the message is clear. Use images to enhance your message rather than communicate it.
  • If you are using an HTML email template, add ALT text to your images which add to your message. Avoid just describing the image itself.
  • For those sending a single image email, consider creating a thumbnail version of your brochure or image and writing a brief teaser about it. Then, link the brochure or a button to the full brochure. This way, those who are most interested can download the information and you gain valuable tracking in your reports.

Email Mistake #2: Sending emails without a purpose.
With email marketing, it can be tempting to think we just need to send, send, send to keep our brands in front of our customers. The problem with this way of thinking is we often send emails without a clear purpose in mind. For example, we send an email about a product but we don’t include an offer or a clear call to action. Another example, we send an email detailing our features, but fail to edit the content to make it scannable and provide clear opportunities to click through.

Recovery Strategy: Well first of all, “Stop it!” Now that you’ve stopped, read adjust your email sending strategy with some of the ideas below:

  • When you are getting ready to create an email, start with the end in mind. What is the purpose of the email? Write your call to action before writing the rest of your content.
  • Edit your content ruthlessly. Paragraphs in an email should be no more than 3 sentences. Include bolded headlines, bulleted lists, and images to help guide your reader’s eyes through your message to your call to action(s).
  • Download our email sending checklist and keep in an easily accessible place to review when you are planning your campaign. Don’t skip steps!

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About Audrey Howes

Audrey has been an active member of the Swiftpage team since September 2009. Audrey manages Social Media and special projects with her marketing know-how and design expertise. When she’s not working you are likely to find her enjoying time with her family in the mountains near Steamboat, going for a run, reading a good book, being goofy with her kids, or savoring a latte in a local coffee shop.

6 Responses to “STOP IT! – Don’t Be an Email Marketing Fool by Avoiding These 5 Common Mistakes”

  1. As usual nice post Audrey.I agree to your points that these are the most common mistakes which people tend to make while doing email marketing.Avoiding these silly mistakes can make you a smart marketer.

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