6 email marketing bloopers you really should avoid

Posted under Email

I think we would all agree, email marketing is one of the top tools in our online marketing kitbag. But it can still come back to bite if it’s not given the respect it deserves.

Here are some handy tips on a few email marketing bloopers you really will want to steer clear of if you can:

Raising a smile

Only try to add humour if you can do it well. There’s nothing more cringing than a funny line or joke that just doesn’t quite work. It’s so difficult to get it just right – what’s funny to one person, isn’t to another. And in B2B email marketing the risk of offending or just downright annoying someone is even higher and then bang go your chances of them reading on. You can still lift the mood – try using a lighter tone of language, include links to good examples of humour done well and generally make the style more informal.

email marketing humourHow you use humour in any marketing material should always depend who on your target audience is. This screenshot from an email targeted at graduates and students, aged 18 to 25, is an example of humour working well for their audience. But could you imagine the same humour being used in a B2B campaign? I don’t think it would go down as well!


Getting personal

Human nature says we will all respond better if addressed personally, so why spoil it when it comes to your email marketing? Your database lists should all be set with first and surnames and a title (Mr, Mrs, Sir, Lord, Rt Hon….). You choose which is the most relevant term to use to talk to your audience. As you’ve gone to all this trouble to gather this list together, don’t then commit the cardinal sin and spell their name wrong – if you do get it wrong, to be honest, you deserve to be deleted!

Here’s a classic example of not checking your first name and last name email fields. It looks unprofessional and impersonal, two factors you definitely don’t want your emails to be:

personalise email marketing


Classic copycat

Never, never copy and paste – if you’re duplicating copy from a Word document for instance, make sure you double-check what is actually sitting on your enews item. So much can get lost in translation; especially symbols and dates. If you’re preparing an e-shot invite for instance, ensure the date and time of the event are correct, not simply a line of gobbledygook, a clear case of copy and paste-itus!


Don’t be shy

Share your contact details. What’s the point in going to all trouble of email marketing otherwise? Don’t forget to add a phone number, email and website link to every e-newsletter and e-shot. If you want your audience to respond to your email marketing and any calls to action then you need to give them the tools to do so.


Apology accepted

What happens if that carefully crafted e-newsletter goes out only for you to discover there’s a massive grammatical error in it which not only makes the piece factually incorrect, it could actually harm your business reputation? Well, like any good PR crisis management situation, you jump on it straight away to reduce damage limitation. Compile another follow-up e-newsletter and be totally honest – so own up to the mistake and put it right. This could be a case for taking a lighter approach – if you can turn your mistake to humour and show some humiliation you will not only put right the wrong, you will demonstrate you are genuine.

For example, my colleague received this email from a company who had included the wrong link in their campaign. Not only do they apologise for the mistake but they also include the correct link, with the hope that their survey doesn’t take too much of a hit!

email marketing apology


Regular as clockwork

Enthusiasm can get the better of us when it comes to email marketing. We start off with all the best intentions, firing out a dozen e-shots in the opening months and then start to lose content ideas and energy. If you can, stick to a regular schedule for your e-newsletter distribution. We are all creatures of habit and if your e-newsletter is gathering a following you may find recipients are actually waiting for the next one to arrive. So, if you want to publish weekly, monthly or quarterly, try to set the same time of day, and same day in the week, and recipients will know when to expect it. The best e-newsletter I subscribe to arrives at 8.30 on Friday morning and is sitting in my Inbox when I get to my emails.

Dawn Strange

Dawn has been with MM since the year dot – well, technically, six months after it was born! That was back in March 1995. She was the first recruit and can honestly say she’s loved the journey to where we are today – and where we’re heading!

Along with Karen, she runs MM, keeping it on track at the same time as exploring new business opportunities and pitching in on business development.

Her passion is content, in its multiple guises. Having jumped out of journalism into the agency world she’s got a real thing about matching right content with the right audience, whether it’s 10 words of ad copy or a 2,000-word thought leadership piece.