Email marketing isn’t complex or new. Yet we see the same mistakes being made over and over by the marketing executives, sales professionals and owners of small businesses.

If done correctly, email marketing is a very effective medium to generate new leads, and build continuous contact with your customers and prospects. It can easily help you yield new sales and meet your targets.

Take care of these top 10 email marketing mistakes and you are on your way to new sales, and more success with email marketing.

1. Underestimating current customers list – This is by far the biggest mistake we have seen. Marketers just disregard their current customer list, and leave money on the table. Even worse, most have no systematic way of capturing their customer’s email and contact details in a common list.

A consolidated customer email list can be easily used to market new products to existing customers or to get repeat orders if done regularly and consistently.

Existing customers have seen your product and service before, and are more likely to buy from you again.

2. No specific target – One big, long message for everyone is no longer smart or effective. Nothing works the fast way.

Now the trend is to do personalized, 1 to 1 marketing.

If your standard message is for all prospects in all industries, chances are that it does not address anyone needs.

It is best to send several small, targeted emails to focus groups, which you can track to see what works in which industry, and who opened which mail.

With this potent arsenal, you can focus your efforts on those chose few to spend your time upon, and generate sales with a much bigger ROI.

3. Using cheap lists – Using 300,000 emails from a $100 source is bound to fail. These email addresses are mostly defunct, and most are acquired through snooping and email extraction from forums. Most will not be from your target market anyway.

Just sending a blatant marketing message is a sure-fire way to get yourself banned from major Internet Service Providers.

Anti-spamming laws are catching fast in most countries, so beware of such tactics.

You can either buy a good list of your target group from reputed list brokers, or start compiling your own house list of all past and current prospects, customers, vendors, suppliers, contractors to market to them.

4. No system to measure response – Marketing department just continue to send out messages after messages:

There is no check on ROI, no measurement of efforts, and no mechanism to evaluate the response of past messages.

No wonder these efforts hardly bring in any results or prospects.

A systematic measurement system to check the ROI of email marketing is very important.

With emails, you can tag each and every link, email account and email sent, so that when it is opened or clicked, you can immediately know who is interested, who is keen to buy, what product, and how eagerly.

With a good measurement, you can call those few that spent time with your message, or on your website, and by knowing their browsing behaviour, you can customise future messages for them. Market something that they have shown interest on, and you are closer to another sale.

5. No clear goal or strategy – Start with the right goal and marketing strategy. Your first goal should be to establish trust and credibility within your target market.

Secondly, get the prospect interested enough in what you are selling, so that they are willing to give you their contact information.

Thirdly, your marketing message should be sent out regularly so that the prospect expects it, waits for it, and it shows that you are consistent, reliable, and trustworthy.

Remember, marketing exists to generate leads, prospects and help sales and delivery teams to close the deals, & not for any other purpose.

So focus, and strategize on these lines.

6. Marketing folks don’t have time to update anyone about their initiatives – Most of the time, the services folks, the receptionist and other employees of the company are not even aware of what marketing is up to.

So when a prospect calls the office to talk about the offer made in the email, neither the receptionist has a clue, nor the employee from the service department.

None has seen the email, and have no idea who to refer this prospect to. Here goes another lost sales.

Marketing efforts need to be integrated over the entire organisation, and everyone should understand the need & importance of what’s going on.

7. Marketing message is inconsistent – Many marketing firms just send out a message, without making sure that it is consistent with the other company collateral.

It is not even properly linked to the company’s website, and does not incorporate the complete office address, telephone, fax, contact information. Just giving an email address is not sufficient to build trust and prove that yours is a genuine offer.

8. Boring marketing message or ad copy – A long repetitive message is no way to capture the prospects attention. You can’t watch a boring movie even if you paid for the tickets, so who is going to read your unasked for marketing email if you are not even addressing the problem.

Most messages spend countless paragraphs talking about what they offer, their products, services, and me, me, me.

There’s nothing in the message to catch the reader’s attention.

You need to talk about the problems faced by your target market, their industry, and their issues in your emails. Once you establish a bond by acknowledging that you know about their problems, they will be more amenable to your message, products & services.

9. Dropping prospects half way in the engagement process – It is a proven fact that a new prospect will take an average of 5-7 different interactions or more, before they build enough trust on you, your company and your products or services before thinking of buying from you.

So if you drop prospects after meeting them once or twice, thinking that they are not qualified or do not seem interested, you are losing sales too quickly.

Continuing to hand hold them and stay in constant contact will help you in the long run, as you will be familiar to the prospect and their needs.. People love to do business with people they know, and not strangers.

Email is the most cost-effective way to stay in touch.

10. Not interested in educating the prospect – The marketers are so focused on sales, that they do not spend enough time with their prospects to educate them. Remember that if you service a prospect well, they will most likely convert to a paying customer sooner or later. Have patience. Use email to market to them regularly with information, education, free offers etc. until they build enough trust to buy from you.


Email marketing has been proven time and again, if done correctly.

Big companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google are using it effectively, and smaller companies are catching up fast in understanding its marketing reach.

With its lows cost, and effectiveness, email marketing helps to build long term relationships with your target audience. Use it wisely, and ye shall reap its rewards.