Top 5 Mistakes Email Marketers Make


Successful email marketing tactics are all over the web.  Just do a simple google search for “email marketing mistakes to avoid,” and you’ll be met with approximately 1.6 million results.  But, even with plenty of resources available (not to mention cutting-edge software), blunders are commonly made.  These are the major mistakes that we see marketers regularly make -- and could cost you dearly. 

1. Making signup difficult

Don’t start off on the wrong foot. If someone is interested in your brand, don’t make them jump through hoops just to signup to your email. Give your subscribers an opportunity to provide relevant information but don’t make it the Spanish inquisition. Even if you don't manage the website, make sure signup is easy!

You should be able to tell country and other broad details like interests based on their browsing patterns - you don’t need to ask for that! You can ask for zip code if it helps direct to a local store but asking for country is redundant.


Isabel Marant is an example where it’s too much. They ask you to select your country from a drop down list of over 200 countries and specify your language.

In a similar spirit, don't use complicated CAPTCHA checks.


We love catbird. It’s a local NY jewelry company which has gone from strength to strength but asking us to select all the construction vehicles in an image just to sign up to your email list is a no-no.

Double opt in emails are rare for fashion brands (<10% of the brands we track use them) and to add on an annoying CAPTCHA phrase is a bit ridiculous. We’re not applying for a mortgage here, just looking to get your emails and show you our love. 

Leverage browsing behavior to get to know your customer. Category information, like gold vs silver jewelry, statement vs delicate necklaces, price point and other designer preferences can all be inferred from browsing behavior and used to customize your emails. If you need a demo of how to do this, let us know. Use the browsing data to craft relevant emails and make sure you keep it up to date.

Some information however can’t be ascertained by how people interact with your website, e.g., birth-date. Go ahead and ask for that if you are going to send a special birthday email but test to see if that additional information turns off potential subscribers. Remember, the more complicated signup is, the fewer people will signup.  

2. Not enough value add

Emails should be valuable to the customer.  As Noah Kagan puts it, “Just ask yourself if your emails are valuable even if your potential customer never buys.” 

What’s a valuable email?  Not to be obvious, but one that adds value. 
Too many emails are ‘me, me, me’ (product centric) — and don’t something the recipient actually cares about.  Emails should serve the customer, not the product.  One way to serve customers is by giving them more than they expect or more than they are paying for with their time.

This email by Norma Kamali does this well.


You don't need to purchase with this email. This content can be helpful even without a purchase

3. Creative Needs “Reviving”

There are several components involved in a good email: subject, pre-header, and content.  All too often, however, email marketers focus their energies on the first two parts — and forget the important of the email body.  Studies show that people are more likely to engage with a compelling, creative email (duh) —give them something that catches their eye.   Also, make sure that users can engage with the mail by adding easily found links to the website, sale, or special offer. 


We love Loeffler Randall’s colorful and creative presentation (not to mention clear call to action!).  

The shades of pink in the email background complement the featured product and it pops.  Plus, it’s just pretty.

4. Not Optimizing for Mobile Subscribers

According to marketing studies, 60%+ of emails are read on a mobile device — and this number is only growing.  Not to be obvious here, but it’s essential that all links, images and text are rendering in an coherent and compelling way for users across multiple platforms.

We recommend a mobile first strategy. Make sure your emails look great on mobile first and then think about the other formats. 

5. Email Address (From Name) is “No Reply” or “Admin”

Using a generic from name (admin, no reply) is a major mistake.  When brands send emails from a mailbox, it gives the impression that they are unavailable (or worse, uninterested) in making themselves available to users.  Bottom line: people want to interact with people, not mailboxes.

This may be an easy one to get right for the main newsletter but make sure you check across all your brand touch points. Do order confirmation, signups and other automatic emails have any “No Reply” or “Admin” emails? It just takes one slip to start to annoy people and destroy all your hard work. 

Wrap up

Despite the abundance of marketing resources about email optimization and successful campaign tactics, blunders are routinely made — some worse than others.  To that end, we’ve reviewed the top five major missteps to keep in mind when planning and executing your email marketing strategy.  While making mistakes is inevitable in business (and in life), the above oversights can, and should be, easily avoided.  Because it’s these little things that can make all the difference.