5 Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2021

Content | Email

Many people think email marketing is a thing of the past. In reality, email marketing is still a fundamental part of a business’s everyday digital marketing strategy, and for good reason. 

Over the last year, and during the uncertainty of the pandemic, businesses hastened to distribute goods and services in new ways. Public dining was banned, in-person events were canceled, and many brands put the brakes on advertising. They needed to shift their marketing strategy and we quickly saw that shift move towards digital channels, including email. 

It became the main channel to inform people about new online opportunities, distribution strategies, virtual events, etc. As a result of this, email sending volume has increased by 45% post-coronavirus, with over 80% of small-to-midsize businesses relying on it as their primary customer acquisition and retention channels. 

However, it’s one thing to send an email, but a whole new ballgame to send a good email. To reach your target audience and increase conversion rates, you need to understand the do’s and don’ts of email marketing, and in return, effectively turn your subscribers into customers. 

After you have chosen your email marketing platform and start building your subscriber list, your job is far from finished. Once you’ve got someone to subscribe you have to keep them interested and engaged to keep them subscribed and, hopefully, increase conversions. Your emails need to be relevant, actionable, user-friendly, and optimal. 

To achieve this, you must avoid these 5 mistakes:

1. The Content You Are Sending Out Is Not Focused Enough 

Many companies make the mistake of sending out the same email to all of their subscribers. My interests are different than your interests, and your interests are likely different than others. It is very unlikely that all of your subscribers are interested in the same things, and therefore deem the same content valuable, which is why it is important to implement segmentation. 

Market segmentation is the process of dividing a target market into smaller, more defined categories based on similar interests or characteristics. This allows you to target these smaller groups more specifically and tactfully.  

The Fix

Begin by breaking down your list of email subscribers into smaller groups that will allow you to send them emails relevant to their interests. A good way to do this is by creating multiple opt-in forms for various pages on your website. By doing so, you will be able to deliver more targeted and valuable messaging for them.

There are four main customer segmentation models that you should use to begin breaking down your email list. 

Demographic Segmentation: The Who                           

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Income
  • Level of Education
  • Profession

 Psychographic Segmentation: The Why

  • Personality traits
  • Hobbies/Lifestyles
  • Life goals
  • Values
  • Beliefs

Geographic Segmentation: The Where

  • Country
  • Region
  • City
  • Postal code

Behavioral Segmentation: The How

  • Spending habits
  • Purchasing habits
  • Browsing habits
  • Interactions with the brand
  • Loyalty to brand
  • Previous product ratings

By segmenting your email list, you have a higher chance of increasing your conversion rate and decreasing your unsubscriber count.

2. You Don’t Have a Clear Call to Action

Before you start writing your email, make sure you have a clear goal in mind. Ask yourself, what action do I want the reader to take? Do I want them to visit my blog post? Fill out an inquiry? Take a survey? It is important you have a predetermined call to action that is noticeable and easy to follow. 

The Fix

When writing your CTA, apart from repeatedly mentioning it throughout the text, you can help the reader by designing your email in a way that is interactive and will guide them to the final action. 


  • Action-oriented text like ‘Head here’ or ‘Reserve your spot’ or ‘Learn More’
  • Button text that is large and legible
  • Bright colors
  • Highlighted text links that lead to the desired landing page

These are a few simple tips you can focus on when you are adding CTAs to your emails.

3. Focusing on Quantity Instead of Quality 

Personally, when I receive several emails a week from a business, I find it very scammy and am likely to unsubscribe. I would rather receive one or two quality emails throughout the week that provide valuable content than annoyingly sift through the numerous ones that will most likely go straight to the trash. 

The Fix

Focus on building a list of highly engaged subscribers rather than an even longer list of subscribers that are doing just that. This means that you need to focus on the quality of your subscribers rather than the quantity

If you provide valuable content and relevant information in your email, you should see your subscribers engaging. If they aren’t engaging, it is a good idea to perform an email list clean-up every once in a while. This means removing subscribers that are not opening your emails. Yes, your email list will shrink, but in the long run, an engaged list of subscribers is a lot more beneficial than stagnant ones. 

Thankfully, you don’t have to take the time to do this manually. Most email marketing services have a ‘Clean Up Inactive’ feature that makes this process pretty easy. 

4. Forgetting Your Mobile Users

81% of all emails are now opened and read on mobile devices. If you’re not ensuring your audience can read your emails on their phones or tablets, you are making a mistake… and an expensive one. 

The Fix

When you format for mobile devices, keep it simple and clean.

  • Images and text easily readable on a small screen 
  • Single column content 
  • Images no wider than 600 pixels
  • Generous white space

Once you’ve formatted for mobile, test your site using Google’s mobile-friendly tool to ensure that they’re coming across the way that you want them to.

5. Sending Your Email at the Wrong Time

When you send an email, half the battle is getting someone to open it, and if you send an email during a time when nobody is checking their emails, you are sabotaging your campaign.

The Fix

If you want your marketing messages to have a big impact, you may need to change when they are being sent out. Most people are the most active and engaged with their emails during the morning work hours, which is why the best time to send an email is around 10 am-11 am. 

For those who aren’t morning people, another effective time is late in the evening from 8 p.m.–midnight. 

Use these times as a starting point, but know that the “best” time to send emails depends on your own audience. Test a few different times and analyze the data to see when you received the most traffic. 

For testing, you can use the free Google Analytics reports to assess the best time to send out your emails. 

Final Thoughts

Email marketing is alive and thriving, and you should be making it a priority.

There are a lot of moving parts that go into a successful email marketing campaign, and we know it can be frustrating trying to turn your subscribers into customers. 

If you feel like you could use some guidance after reviewing this article, our team of experts can help you make adjustments to improve your email marketing strategy moving forward. We do more than write snappy copy and hit the send button.  We produce results that matter to your business.

Contact us to get started on your new and improved email marketing strategy!