Email marketing campaigns can be a cost-effective way to reach a lot of people in a very short period of time. However, many companies rely on ineffective practices, like clichéd subject lines and recycled “limited-time offers.” These practices can be annoying to readers and cause your email to end up in the trash.
Here, members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their biggest email marketing pet peeves and why you should avoid them.
What’s a pet peeve of yours when it comes to email marketing, and why are businesses better served avoiding that strategy?
1. Neglecting to provide value
“Not providing value is by far my biggest pet peeve. If someone is going to reach out and market to me via email, I would expect them to offer some value in exchange for whatever product or service they’re trying to sell me. I’m shocked at how much marketing communication I receive that adds no value, yet expects the recipient to put in their time and effort.” —Arian Radmand, IgnitePost
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2. Using clickbait email subject lines
“People are tired of the negative clickbait ‘here’s what you’re doing wrong’ email subject lines. After the past two years we’ve collectively experienced, we don’t want fear in our inboxes.” —Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
3. Selling constantly
“Nobody wants to open weekly or biweekly emails just to see you selling your stuff. People love quality content, news, ideas, tips, how-tos, and content of value. Give them a reason to open the email, and even forward it to friends and family. Spend time and money creating value, and you’ll get the ROI. Also, offer special deals not found on your site.” —Scott Levy, Fuel Online
4. Failing to research before reaching out
“A pet peeve of mine is when a marketing agency reaches out to me to do website improvement—the exact same service my company provides! It shows that the person misfired and thinks that one of our specialties needs improvement, which can be insulting and turn me off from considering their business. If you are going to do cold emailing, research the business in question before sending.” —Duran Inci, Optimum7
5. Forgetting to personalize
“It’s very clear when a business lacks personalization in its content. An email that begins with ‘Dear Customer’ or a ‘Hey’ and a blank space immediately makes me think that this message isn’t for me. Businesses need to make an extra effort to personalize their greetings at the very least. Do this by offering lead magnets where you can pick up the customer’s first name and interests.” —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
6. Sending emails too frequently
“Relentless messaging reaches a point where it becomes spam. All that does is drive customers away or, thanks to how sophisticated email inboxes have become, ensure your marketing campaign goes straight into the spam box. You need to be smart with how you handle email correspondence with customers. Put yourself in their shoes. Bombardment gets you nowhere.” —Nick Venditti, StitchGolf
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7. Disregarding preferences
“I don’t like it when I sign up for an email list to receive specific types of messages, only for my preferences to get thrown out the door in the hopes that I’ll click through to their website. If you’re asking users to choose their preferences for personalization purposes, follow through on your promise, or else your emails will likely start landing in spam folders.” —John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC
8. Making content too company-focused
“Some email marketing is all about the company and not about what is relevant. Nobody cares about your logo or how well your business is doing. They really don’t even care about your reviews. People want to hear about what’s relevant and if it’s relevant to them. Share a short list of what people can do to save time or money or bring joy. That’s more appealing than a campaign promoting yourself.” —Givelle Lamano, Lamano Law Office
9. Breaking up text with no strategy
“I understand that it can improve the readability of your copy if you break it up into smaller paragraphs, but it’s possible to go overboard. Sometimes I’ll receive marketing emails that separate each sentence into its own paragraph, so I have to scroll endlessly to read the entire thing. Just because you essentially have infinite vertical space doesn’t mean you have to use all of it!” —Bryce Welker, Real Estate Schooler
10. Sending daily newsletters
“Daily newsletters are annoying and ineffective. Even if customers don’t unsubscribe, they will stop paying attention to them. In place of clichéd newsletters, businesses can try blogs, single-topic emails, or social media. If you are set on a newsletter, you can try using other words, such as ‘Inside Peek,’ ‘This and That,’ or something creative to refresh the traditional newsletter.” —Shu Saito, Godai Soaps
About the Author
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs.