Increase Email Engagement by Avoiding These 5 Email Faux Pas

Serving emails to email marketers is incredibly difficult.

I am the world’s worst lead. I never engage and always judge the marketing messages that hit my inbox. When I see a subject line, I ask myself, “Is that worthy of a click?”

Some email marketing tactics make me downright angry, which is why my manager asked me to write this blog post. Turns out the email marketing tactics that ruffle my feathers creates a great list of what not to do when creating marketing emails.

Stop Emailing From 3-5 Different Friendly Froms

This B2B brand is insistent on sending me at least 2 pieces of email per day. That’s not the worst on its own, but they switch up the friendly from every time, so it looks like the email came from someone else.

That’s annoying because now I get email messages from Scott, and the company team and the company. And that’s only a handful of the monikers they use to disguise the frequency of their sends.

In your own efforts, stick with one friendly from. Instead of your leads seeing emails from 3-5 randomized senders, they’ll appreciate the transparency of getting all their marketing communications from a single name.

Maybe you send your emails under your brand name, but then also the name of your chief marketing officer. This is a nice blend: you get the human name and the official word of the brand. Just don’t go overboard or you will confuse your leads and/or make them hit the unsubscribe button.

Avoid Special Characters in the Header

Sometimes, especially with automated emails, it is hard to know when a character will fail to translate in the email client.

That’s how you get something like this email, in which the apostrophe comes through muddled on my email client.

There’s a simple way to avoid this email marketing faux pas. Avoid any special characters in the first line or two of text. This might mean slightly tweaking the language you planned to put there to avoid contractions, dashes, etc.

It’s a small tweak that will ensure scanners don’t get put off by spammy-looking characters in the preview of your email.

Stop Repeated Follow Up on the Same Email

If I haven’t been responding to your marketing message, repeatedly following up with the “RE:” is obnoxious. In this case, I am not in a role that allows me to make event sponsorship decisions. There will never be a time that I’m looking for that sort of information, so this poorly targeted email is extra annoying every time it’s reiterated.

You know how toddlers will ask the same thing over and over until you respond? That’s how this feels, and it’s not a cute look on a B2B brand.

Keep Subject Lines Focused but Not Obscure

I had to look up “bang on.”

It is apparently a phrase that means “spot on.” Outside of the United Kingdom, it isn’t a common phrase. Needless to say, this email had me more confused than anything when I first saw it. What kind of trends? I couldn’t even tell from context.

Then there’s this email. A quick Google search revealed to me what this meant, but an international brand like this one should avoid phrases that involve culturally specific slang.

For reference, this phrase means to get in trouble, with the specific reference alluding to a hanging. That’s pretty dark.

Remember where your audience is when you create emails. Decide if enough of your audience is in one location before you make hyper-local references.

Stop Emailing So Much

This social media site sends me at least 3 emails a day,

That is excessive and unnecessary. I never see an email and go “Oh this makes me want to check out this site.”

I never open the emails, because they usually just tell me who has saved my stuff on my page.

This is likely an automated system, one that sends us so many emails because someone pins on the HIPB2B  every day.

What would help this system work more successfully is if the site noted email engagement rates. If someone is very active on the site t but isn’t opening any of emails, maybe you set their emails to come less frequently or send a different type of emails.

Your brand should have some sort of system like this in place. Auto-triggered emails can be highly effective, but also highly annoying. Watch your top engagers and if they don’t engage with many emails, consider tailoring the number you send so you don’t chase your most engaged leads away.

That’s why marketing automation systems have communication limits. You can limit automated messages on both a daily and a weekly basis.

Learn from these email marketing faux pas and you’ll notice that your leads engage more often and unsubscribe less. Let us know how it goes.


Let us know what you think:

  • After reading this list, do you notice anything that might be bothering your leads?
  • Have you made a recent change that improved your email opens and click-throughs?



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