6 Email Marketing Mistakes That Are Killing Your Conversion Rate
by Khalid Saleh last updated on 0

6 Email Marketing Mistakes That Are Killing Your Conversion Rate

Email marketing is one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal, when done right. While most marketers can capture leads and even get subscribers to open their mails, most of them struggle to turn readers into customers.

What could be the reason behind poor email marketing conversion rates? At this post, I’m going to show you 6 deadly email marketing mistakes that you might be making, and how to fix them.

1) Your subject line is overhyped and it doesn’t match with the body copy

We’ve all read articles like “How to come up with a subject line that gets your email opened.” There’re even websites like subjectline.com that will give your subject line a “score” based on how likely it gets opened.

For instance, the website scored the subject line “So What Happened at the Oscars” from Buzzfeed 86 out of 100.


Here’s what you need to know about such approach: subject lines that get you more “opens” don’t necessarily lead to better conversions.

Sure, baited headlines might get more clicks, but after some time people stop trusting brands that practice such tactics. When an email has very little substance to offer, it’s only a matter of time for people to mark it as spam.

As a result, you must keep your subject lines simple and to the point. Always remember, the best subject lines don’t sell what’s inside, they tell what’s inside. Let’s explore this with an example:

email example

I doubt if anyone truly knows the ‘guaranteed’ way to be successful. Also, note the misspelling – an easily correctable mistake that can make or break your marketing campaign.

In contrast, this headline “How I run a 100% virtual team” from Ramit Sethi, tells the reader exactly how Ramit Sethi runs his virtual team, complete with screenshots.

email open rate

It’s acceptable to some extent to encourage people to click, but if you constantly let down your audience with the email content it will have a long-term adverse effect.

Another important lesson to remember – your open rates don’t matter, if there aren’t any conversions. Plus, there other important email marketing metrics you should pay attention to,

2) Your email contains too many CTAs

Every business has a specific goal with its email marketing campaign. This might be to get more clicks to a blog post, to get readers to sign up for a webinar, or share free content to build and segment a mailing list.

With this in mind, it’s important that your emails include no more than two CTAs. This would help you to eliminate confusion which in turn would encourage you recipients to take your desired action.

As Econsultancy reported, when Whirlpool’s marketing team reduced the number of CTAs in their email campaigns from four to just one, they achieved 42% increase in clicks.

Marketers usually try to do too much in one email campaign. Having more buttons in a single email doesn’t mean more clicks. Keep your goal and CTA clear and simple. Udemy does this well:

Udemy email

You can’t miss this CTA even if you wanted to.

3) You haven’t offered a plain text link

Plain text emails are the digital equivalent of a typewritten letter – no images, no special fonts, and no hyperlinks. While they may not look as attractive, they play a significant role in any email marketing campaign.

Simply put, not all of your readers will have email clients capable of displaying HTML emails. In other cases, bandwidth limitations may prevent your readers from seeing HTML links.

In such cases, plaintext links give readers an alternative. You might not be able to show off your amazing graphics. For example, this email uses two links. The first link is plain text, the next one is a HTML link:


Interestingly, according out recent study, around 1/3 of all emails sent by our customers, contain no images at all.

To find this and other useful email marketing insights, check out the Email Marketing Benchmarks report.

4) You didn’t get permission before sending emails

You could actually get into a serious legal trouble for adding people to your list without their permission. Always check your country’s laws against spam.

Too many businesses take shortcuts and buy email lists or compile them in an unethical manner. Spam hurts the reputation of your business big time. Once people start marking your email as spams, you come under the “spam radar.”

Understand that for you to send emails to people, you must have their explicit permission first. For instance, if you collect business cards at an event, you shouldn’t add those email addresses to your mailing list.

At the same time, also understand that just because someone opted into your email list once, maybe for a contest or digital download, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily want to hear your marketing messages. Your emails to such subscribers might be perfectly legal, but they won’t necessarily convert well. For such subscribers, here are a few things you can do to reconfirm permission:

  • Ask a simple yes/no question about whether they want to continue receiving emails
  • Send additional downloadable content to ensure that your readers actually want to receive content from you
  • Ask readers to subscribe to another list to segment your list further

It’s also a good idea to remind readers why they received the email in the first place. Jon Morrow of SmartBlogger, for instance, tells readers exactly why he sent them an email:


5) Your email list isn’t segmented

As a rule of thumb, segmented lists results in a higher average email open rate and click-through rate than non-segmented email lists.

As a marketer if you’re not taking advantage of segmentation, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on potential revenue. One way to segment your email list is through creating buyer personas. With this tactic, you’ll send different emails to different customers, depending on their demographic and psychographic preferences.

For example, if your persona is a young lady in her mid 20s, then you can come up with a subject line that millennials can relate to. For this tactic to work, you need a lot of data about your customers, as well as a way to plug this data into your email tool, such as a Salesforce integration in your email marketing software.

An alternative tactic is to segment based on content consumption patterns. With this tactic, you can send customers different content-types and topics. Based on their consumption choices, you can fine tune your messages further.

For instance, suppose you have a list of 10,000 subscribers who signed up for your marketing newsletter. Now suppose you sent a guide to email marketing to everyone on your list, and 5,000 of your 10,000 subscribers opened and read the guide. These subscribers have now shown that they’re interested in email marketing.

Now if you send out another email about social media marketing, and 8,000 people responded, including 4,000 people who read the email marketing guide that you sent earlier, you have multiple segments:

  • 10,000 people who are interested in marketing
  • 4,000 people who are interested in social media marketing
  • 5,000 people who are interested in email marketing
  • 4,000 people who are interested in social media and email marketing
  • 1,000 people who are interested in email marketing but NOT social media marketing

6) You’re writing emails as a company, not as a person

I’m sure you’ve received emails like this “no-replyAtsomedomainDotcom”… What was your first thought when you received such email? When brands send emails from “no-reply” they’re essentially saying “we don’t want to talk to you!”… Instead of starting a conversation with customers, they just want to throw information at you. They miss on building meaningful relationships and engagement opportunities.

In contrast, consider an email like this:


Instead of a monolithic brand name, this email comes across as if it was written by a person specifically for you. This is exactly what great email marketing does: it creates conversations!


Email marketing can be a tough nut to crack, especially if you want immediate monetary conversions. However, if you follow the tips above, you’ll see improvement in your email marketing ROI.

Also make sure to check the health of your email campaigns by testing them. Test one variable at a time such as “from address,” “subject line” etc. Make changes and A/B test based on these trends to improve your open rates, click rates and conversions.

Over to you

What else should marketers be aware of in the realms of email marketing? Please share your thoughts and guidance in the comments below.

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