The Top 10 Reasons Your Marketing Emails are Making a Bad Impression

About 1.1 billion business emails get sent every day. As a recipient of my fair share of these emails, I can say a lion’s share of those 1.1 billion are bad sales and marketing emails. Whether it’s unsolicited request for meetings, invitations to webinars/events I never expressed interest in, or constant notifications from tools I no longer use, there is no shortage of bad examples.

As marketers, the best we can do is keep our own email communications from making such bad impressions on their recipients. Naturally, that requires understanding our mistakes and correcting them, which is easier said than done.

To help out, we put together a list of common problems with email messages. In Late Show fashion, we count down the top ten reasons your marketing emails are making a bad impression with your audience.


10. Your emails have mistakes

The easiest way to leave a bad impression with your audience is to leave errors in your emails. Whether it’s a typo, broken link, punctuation error, or code issue, mistakes make your emails look unprofessional. Why would a client trust your product or service when you can’t even reach out without issues?


9. You’re not testing

Not every idea can be a winner. Sometimes the line between brilliant and bad is tough to call. If you’re not testing, chances are these bad ideas are making their way into live campaigns and those bad ideas are causing indigestion among email recipients.


8. Your emails aren’t cohesive

Ever receive a string of emails from a company and wonder if they have two or three different marketing departments handling their communications? Maybe, the emails look completely dissimilar. Maybe, they promote content you already downloaded or a product you already bought. In any case, poorly coordinated emails make a brand look disorganized.


7. You don’t consider your sending times

There’s a big difference between an audience at 9:00 am on a Monday and the same audience at 5:00 pm on a Friday, both are different from the same audience 1:00 pm on a Saturday. That’s not to say that any of the three are inherently the best or the worst time to send. They’re simply different. The time of day will impact how quickly a contact sees the email, their mindset, their viewing device, their location, and their willingness to take further action. If you’re not considering the attributes of different timeslots and planning accordingly, you’re risking flak with your audience due to inopportune timing.


6. You don’t appear trustworthy

There is no shortage of spam and scams trying to reach the average inbox. Email recipients are rightfully skeptical, particularly when it comes to unfamiliar brands. Make sure you aren’t giving your audience any cause for concern. Be clear (and honest) about who’s sending and why. Provide third-party validation and social proof where applicable.


5. You’re burying your audience in emails

Everything in moderation, as the saying goes. A recipient might enjoy receiving a new blog post every couple of days, but send a handful of emails every day and they’ll likely unsubscribe. Between marketing campaigns, newsletters, and nurture processes, it’s easy for touchpoints to add up. Be mindful of how many emails each contact is receiving. It doesn’t take long to go from resource to nuisance.


4. You’re not segmenting your audience

The larger the audience, the less specific and targeted your messages can be. Relevance is important to making a connection with a new audience. Communications that aren’t tailored to the recipient give appear as impersonal, mass messages.


3. You’re sending confusing emails

Email messages are a short format. They’re ideal for quick, single-purpose communications. When an email gets bloated with an excessive number of links, buttons, and calls to action, it becomes a confusing. Most viewers won’t take the extra time to figure out what you want them to do.


2. Your emails don’t provide value

When you reach out to a contact and ask them to do something, you have to provide something in return. It’s natural for a contact to ask, “What’s in it for me?” A good email will offer an equivalent trade – an industry report for contact information, for example. A bad offer asks, or worse, tells a contact to take an action without offering any sort of value in return. These kinds of requests are both ineffective and off-putting.


1. You’re asking too much, too early

You would never walk up to a stranger on the street and immediately ask them to join you for dinner. Yet salespeople and marketers often ask contacts to commit their time to an appointment with little to no previous contact or explanation. It takes time and touchpoints for a new contact to be ready for a significant commitment, like agreeing to an appointment, filling out a quote, or making a purchase. Asking a brand-new contact to make this kind of commitment shows a focus on a quick deal, rather than investment in the success of the client. It’s the single most surefire way to leave a bad impression.


There you have it, top ten reasons your marketing emails are making a bad impression with your audience. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll be ahead of much of the competition in your recipient’s inboxes.



Let us know what you think:

  • Were your emails guilty of any of these traits?
  • Do you agree with our list?
  • What email attribute(s) leave a bad impression with you?



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