13 Stupid Email Marketing Mistakes to Stop Making Now

Your first step in becoming a superior email marketer is to stop making mistakes!

So today let’s go over the biggest email marketing mistakes you can correct right now.

I’ve seen big names with big audiences make these same mistakes, and every single one is easy to avoid.

Let’s jump in with a mistake so obvious I can’t believe it still happens today:

1. You Have a Nonexistent or Delayed Welcome Email

welcome email example

In 2023 there are people running lists without welcome emails.

Why have a welcome email?

Because your welcome email is your #1 opportunity to engage with a new email contact. 

A good welcome email can get an 80-90% open rate and a 50% click rate if you do it right.

I’ve also experienced massive delays in welcome emails being sent.

I recently signed up to get emails from one of the biggest political news sites in the world – and the welcome email came 12 hours after I signed up.

Speaking of welcome emails, let’s talk about:

2. Your Welcome Email Has Nothing to Click on or Buy

As you just learned, your welcome email is your best opportunity to engage with a new lead.

So you better give people the opportunity to:

  • Engage with you; or
  • Buy from you

Your welcome email will always be your best performing email, so give people something to click on or buy.

Remember, it’s a big deal for someone to sign up for your list, so you want to build on the relationship immediately.

And having people click on your emails is good for deliverability.

Related: How to Write a Welcome Email

3. You Don’t Send Enough Emails

The 500,000 Email Rule says that the more emails you send, the more money you make.

I learned this by sending 500,000 emails in one day, with 7 emails going to every contact.

I made a bunch of money, and had near-zero spam complaints.

Not sending enough might be the most common mistake among email marketers.

Because if you ask your friends and family, they’ll say “yeah, nobody wants to get a lot of emails.”

But the reality is that high-volume email works better than you think it will.

One of the biggest questions I get is “how many emails should I send per week?”

The answer is as many as possible!

The ability to send high volume at no additional cost is why email marketing is so powerful.

4. You Obsess Over Vanity Metrics

Sometimes I brag about my open rates because I find it funny.

But beware of obsessing over vanity metrics, because they often have nothing to do with making money.

Focus on metrics that matter – like sales, list growth, and conversion rate.

Email opens don’t pay the rent.

Only money does. Act accordingly.

5. You Use Cheesy Clickbaity Subject Lines

Since we just discussed vanity metrics, we should talk about subject lines.

Using spammy, clickbaity subject lines can juice your open rates.

But you pay a price because people will stop trusting you.

You can only say “14 Epic Tips That You’ve Never Heard Before That Will Change Your Life in 30 Seconds” so many times before you turn people off.

You will get your high open rate… but all your other metrics fall off a cliff once you lose trust.

6. You Don’t Clean Your List

Email deliverability is key to your success.

Because if your emails don’t land in people’s inboxes, you can’t make any money.

And the single biggest reason people have email deliverability problems is a dirty list.

Meaning, your list is full of unengaged or dead contacts.

Keep your list clean and odds are you’ll never have delivery problems.

7. You Don’t Measure Your Results

One of the biggest benefits of email marketing is that you can measure results.

Yet tons of people ignore their metrics.

They don’t even know their open or click rates, let alone conversion rates or list growth rates.

You need to track this stuff all the time so you can find what works best for your list.

8. You Don’t Split Test Your Strategies

Split testing is also a major advantage of email marketing.

And testing is part of learning what works best for your audience.

If you’re smart about it, you might just find you save yourself time.

Because short, choppy emails might be your biggest moneymakers.

Or you might find that a small number of your emails make you all your money.

You won’t know until you start testing. 

9. You Don’t Split Test Big Ideas

This may be the biggest email marketing mistake of all.

You can get so caught up testing email formats and colors and fonts that you don’t test the most important thing of all: IDEAS

You need to know more than which colors and email lengths your audience responds to.

You need to know what makes them tick.

That’s why I dedicated an entire newsletter issue to big ideas.

10. You Put Giant Nonclickable Images On Top of Emails

I’m not a big fan of images in email – especially large ones on top that aren’t clickable.

Most of my split tests show no boost in performance from images, and in many cases, images and photos hurt. 

Ecommerce applications like clothing and makeup may be different, but that’s not my specialty.

Giant images on top are also bad for mobile users, because the images will push your message off people’s screens. 

So I like no image on top, or a thin one that doesn’t interfere with the email content.

That means people have to scroll down to see what your email is all about.

So let’s talk about mobile.

11. You Ignore Mobile Optimization

One reason I use plain text emails is a lot of my audience reads email on iPhone or Android smartphones.

And plain text is mobile-friendly out of the box with no adjustments necessary.

So no matter what you put in your emails, make sure your messages are readable on mobile devices.

12. You Use Unclear Calls to Action

My favorite call to action is “Click Here.”


Because if you want people to click on something, make it really obvious.

At the very least, make sure your links are colorful, bold, and underlined.

And do not underline any text unless it’s clickable – that’s a common mistake that drives me nuts.

Oh yeah, if you do have an image you want people to click, try overlaying a bold “Click Me” or “Click Here” call to action on top. It will help.

13. You Send Mass eMails from Gmail

Yes, people do this. They will copy and paste dozens or even hundreds of emails into Gmail and start doing mass mailings.

This is dumb for many reasons.

First, email programs limit the number of emails you can send per day.

Plus, you are violating Gmail (or whatever else you use) terms of service, your email address will be marked as a spam address, and you won’t be able to track basic stuff like opens and clicks.

You can start with ConvertKit or BeeHiiv for next to nothing.

So be smart and use a professional email sending service!

Have you made any of these mistakes? Let me know in the comments section below.

  • Amber Lachappelle says:

    I like how you suggested converter kit and beehiiv. I’ve been struggling with the learning curve for converter kit. It was sent to me as a link from a newsletter but then I can’t sent messages to the sender or message them on X. They only accept the blue checks. I’m a beginning beginner.

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