Three big fat e-mail marketing mistakes

Whether it’s an unintentional typo or a reply-all catastrophe — almost everyone has had some sort of e-mail disaster. For businesses, mistakes in e-mail marketing shots can have momentous consequences. Here, we run down three e-mail mistakes to be cautious of.

Laura England, account executive, Stone Junction

#1 Merge tag mix-ups

Mistakes happen, but referring to your entire e-mail marketing database as ‘Hi Firstname’ can cause irreparable damage. We’re all capable of this human error, in fact, even the Labour party fell victim to this mistake in an e-mail asking for party donations last year.

Paying careful attention to using the correct merge tags is important, but it’s just as important to check the data exists in the first place.

For example, if some of the e-mail addresses in your database do not have a corresponding first name listed in the correct field, the e-mail marketing system won’t know where to pull the data from. This can create dodgy looking e-mails with odd spacing or blank greetings.

#2 Unresponsive design
While the e-mail preview might look great on your desktop, this doesn’t necessarily mean the layout will translate well to tablets, mobiles or other computers. Most of us will have received e-mails with unusual spacing, unavailable images and overlapping text and for the most part, these will get deleted.

Most e-mail marketing software packages give you the option to preview the e-mail in various styles, so you’ll see an example of how it’ll look on different types of devices. If you’re still nervous, we would recommend sending yourself a preview and viewing it on a handful of different devices first. This way, if there’s any major problems, you will see it first-hand.

#3 Breaking regulations
When sending personal e-mails, most of us don’t think twice before hitting send. However, businesses will need to start being more careful. Under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — which comes into effect on 25 May 2018 — organisations can be fined up to four per cent of their global turnover for breaking the ruling.

Companies must be able to prove they have permission to contact all the addresses in their database with marketing information, before sending them any promotional content. Flybe, Morrisons and Honda have already been found to be in breach of similar guidelines and faced hefty fines. To avoid this, companies must make sure they’re informed.

There’s a lot to be cautious of when delivering e-mail marketing, but it can be an incredibly fruitful marketing exercise. If you’re unsure where to start, or you would like a hand avoiding these common mistakes, speak to Stone Junction on 01785 225416.


Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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