10 email mistakes to avoid

It’s not enough to type your message and hit ‘send’; you have to get people to open it, and then read it. Here’s how.


You spend your time and effort crafting a compelling email message, and hit the send button. After checking your auto-responder, you realize that more people trashed it than opened it. Frustrating? Yes. Encouraging to want to try it again? No.

Don’t stop just yet. Remember that with every email you send, you are that much closer to sending a winner. Whether recommending that they buy something or urging them to read more of your blog posts, your email messages are the most effective method of communicating with your target market.

Unfortunately, there are several mistakes that can make readers resist taking action from your email and, even worse, not even read it.

What not to do

Maybe you are doing these things, maybe not, but avoid these 10 things at all costs.

  • Rushing. A rushed email message often has spelling errors, a lousy subject line, and little thought behind the actual message. An email is your one shot to prompt a call to action. Take time in executing it.
  • Boring subject lines. Dull and uninviting subject lines are the quickest way to get readers to hit the delete button. Write a subject line that plays to the emotions, brings joy, or creates intrigue, and your messages will get opened.
  • Not saying hello. A simple introductory statement is not only a good way to welcome your readers, but it gives you a chance to tell a brief story about what you have to share with them.
  • Not using a header. A header is particularly important in your newsletter. Ordinary email messages usually don’t require a header, but newsletters are a different story. A consistent header image creates familiarity and helps with your branding.
  • Using crazy fonts. There are several fonts that I just love, but using them in an email message is another matter. By using an unusual font, your run the risk of making your message partially or entirely unreadable.
  • Not paying attention to font sizes. Double-check your font size to make sure it’s the best for your readers. A small, 11-point font size is tough for me to read sometimes; imagine what it’s like for an older audience.
  • A color explosion. I enjoy color just as much as anyone else, but in emails, stick to two colors at most. Dark text on a white background is the easiest combination to read. And overly bright colors are a big turnoff for your reader’s eyes.
  • Unstructured formatting. Things like big blocks of text with no paragraphs or bullet points make it difficult for people to stay engaged, as do really wide margins. Here’s what I mean on the margins:

This is an example of the style of
email messages I send out. Notice
the margins are short and the sentences
are short, making it easy to read.
This tip alone increased my response
rate by 25 percent.

As opposed to…

This is an example of what not to do in your email messages. The margins are too wide, making it harder for people to read and scan quickly. Although it’s fine to read blog posts and articles at this width, your email messages need to be condensed.

  • Not offering your social connections. Sometimes we forget; sometimes we don’t want them to find us. Whatever the reason, stop forgetting and start including them all the time, every time.
  • And last, quit changing things up. I know there is a tendency to want to experiment and test different things all the time. Though I am a big fan of testing, once you have tested one aspect and solidified it, move on to something else. Don’t change everything all at one time.

Think you’ve got it?

One of the biggest things to remember in your email marketing is that you want yours to be the best messages in their inbox.

You don’t have to strive for perfection, but strive for being known as the easiest to read, the most professional, and the one who always has something helpful to share.

Go create some email messages, and don’t forget to test them on yourself before you send them to your subscribers.

Christine Brady teaches list building and email marketing for entrepreneurs. A version of this post first appeared on her website, ChristineBrady.com.

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Topics: PR

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