7 Email Marketing Mistakes Sabotaging Your Sales (and How to Fix Them)

Small businesses everywhere miss the mark when it comes to sending emails that break through the noise and turn subscribers into customers.

The culprit? Scattered messaging, inconsistency, and lack of planning & strategy.

The truth is, crafting emails that resonate and convert takes more than just throwing some words on a page and hitting send, and many businesses are unknowingly sabotaging their email marketing efforts by making a few common mistakes. 

In this post, we’ll not only expose seven of the most common email pitfalls, we’ll also be hooking you up with actionable tips to transform your emails into powerful tools that nurture leads and sales.

Let’s dive in! 

Mistake #1: Lack of Clear Goals

Emails that try to be everything at once end up being nothing to anyone. You know the ones: they try to squeeze in a little bit of everything – a new product launch, a company update, a random blog post – and leave you confused and wondering, “What’s the point?”

Without a specific goal for each one of your emails, your message becomes scattered. If your email lacks focus, your subscribers won’t understand what you want them to do, and they’re unlikely to take any action at all.

Fix it 👉 Our simple rule is: one email, one topic, one call to action. 

Start with a specific goal in mind for each email. What are you trying to do?

  • Educate potential customers about your areas of expertise? 
  • Showcase a new product and drive sales?  
  • Get them to download a freebie or visit a blog post? 

Once you have a clear target, craft your entire email around achieving that one, focused objective.

Mistake #2: Ghosting Your Subscribers / Inconsistency

Building trust with your audience is the cornerstone of successful email marketing and that trust thrives on consistency. Inconsistent emails, where you send a few blasts and then vanish for weeks, are like a disappearing act for your brand.

Why is consistency so crucial?

  • Brand Recognition: Just like your favorite store or restaurant, consistent email communication keeps your brand top-of-mind with your subscribers. They see your name and logo regularly, solidifying your presence and reinforcing brand recall.
  • Building Trust: Consistent communication fosters a sense of reliability. Subscribers who receive regular, valuable emails from you begin to see you as a dependable source of information and a brand they can trust.
  • Engagement Rollercoaster: Did you know engagement rates for emails typically plummet after the initial sign-up period? Inconsistent sending schedules exacerbate this decline. When subscribers don’t hear from you, they’re less likely to open or even notice your future emails.

The result? Missed opportunities. Each email you send is a chance to connect with your audience, provide valuable content, and ultimately move them closer to a sale or desired action. But sporadic communication throws those opportunities out the window.

Fix it 👉Determine an email schedule that aligns with your goals and audience expectations and stick with it. We recommend shooting for sending a value broadcast email once a week and setting up automated welcome email sequences for all of your freebies that send out 3-5 emails immediately after they subscribe.  

Staying in constant communication keeps your brand relevant, builds trust with your audience, and cultivates an engaged list of potential buyers ready to act when the right message arrives in their inbox. 

Mistake #3: Emails that Lack Structure

People’s attention spans are shorter than ever. In today’s overflowing inboxes, emails need to grab attention quickly and deliver value upfront. But emails lacking structure – rambling walls of text with no clear purpose – get buried and ignored.

Without a clear beginning, middle, and end, your email becomes a confusing mess.

Fix it 👉 A well-structured email is like a delicious meal – it has a clear beginning, a satisfying middle, and a delightful end, all working together to create a positive experience. Here are the key ingredients:

  • Captivating Hook: Grab attention from the start with a powerful opening line, a question, or a relevant statistic.
  • Compelling Value Proposition: Clearly explain the “why” behind your email. What benefit does the reader get from taking the time to read it?
  • Logical Flow: Organize your content in a clear and logical way. Use subheadings, bullet points, and short paragraphs to guide readers through your message.
  • Strong Call to Action: Tell them exactly what you want them to do next. Whether it’s downloading a freebie, visiting your website, or making a purchase, make your call to action clear and easy to follow.

By following this recipe, you can create emails that are clear, concise, and engaging.  These emails will avoid the black hole of reader indifference and achieve the results you desire.

Mistake #4: Forgettable Subject Lines

Imagine this: you spend hours crafting the perfect email – informative, engaging, with a clear call to action. But before your masterpiece reaches your subscriber, it faces a crucial hurdle – the subject line. A weak, generic subject line dooms your email to oblivion before it’s even opened.

Why are subject lines so important?

  • Grabs Attention in a Crowded Inbox: People receive a staggering number of emails daily. A compelling subject line is your golden ticket to cutting through the noise and grabbing attention. It’s what convinces subscribers to open your email.
  • Sets Expectations: A well-crafted subject line acts as a mini-preview, giving readers a glimpse of what the email is about. This transparency helps them decide whether the content aligns with their interests and encourages them to open it.
  • Leverages the Power of Curiosity: Subject lines that spark curiosity can be highly effective. By posing a question, teasing a benefit, or using intriguing language, you pique readers’ interest and entice them to learn more.

Fix it 👉 Craft Subject Lines Like Headlines

Think of your subject line as a miniature headline. Just like a headline, it should be:

  • Clear and Concise: Keep it short and to the point, ideally under 50 characters.
  • Benefit-Oriented: Highlight the value your email offers to the reader. What’s in it for them?
  • Actionable or Intriguing: Use strong verbs or pique curiosity to encourage opens.

Example: 🚀Double Your Website Traffic with This Simple Strategy (Read Now!)

By paying careful attention to subject lines so they’re clear and engaging, you’ll increase your open rates and make sure your carefully-crafted emails get the reach they deserve.

Mistake #5: Using a Formal Tone or Jargon

Nobody wants to read an email that sounds like a corporate lecture – full of jargon and overly-formal language feels more like homework than a message from a brand you care about. 

Here’s why a conversational tone works better:

  • Connects with Humans: People connect with people, not robots. A conversational tone makes your emails feel more personal and relatable. 
  • Builds Trust & Rapport: Clear, jargon-free language fosters trust and rapport. Stiff formality creates a barrier, making it difficult for readers to connect with your brand.
  • Promotes Clarity: Complex ideas become easier to understand and keep your audience interested in your message.

Fix it 👉 Write Like You’re Talking to a Friend

Imagine you’re writing to a friend or colleague – that’s the key to a successful conversational tone. Here are some tips:

  • Simple Language is Best: Ditch the jargon and technical terms; aim for clarity everyone understands.
  • Let Your Brand Shine: Infuse your brand voice and personality. Are you playful, informative, or authoritative? Let it flow through your writing.
  • Interaction Makes it Engaging: Conversations are two-way streets, not lectures. Ask questions, use humor where appropriate, and encourage interaction to keep your audience engaged.

By ditching the stiffness and formality, you’ll craft emails that resonate with your audience. This fosters trust, builds rapport, and ultimately leads to higher engagement and sales.

Mistake #6: Failing to Leverage FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

People are naturally driven by a desire to avoid missing out on a good deal. Incorporating limited-time promotions and flash sales into your email marketing strategy can be a powerful tool to capitalize on this psychology and boost sales.

Why limited-time promotions work:

Limited-time promotions are a powerful tool because they tap into several psychological factors that can boost sales.  

Knowing a deal has an expiration date creates a sense of urgency, encouraging subscribers to take action before the offer disappears. Limited-time discounts can also increase the perceived value of your products or services, making them seem more desirable.  

The fear of missing out (FOMO) can nudge subscribers on the fence about a purchase to make a decision. 

To use limited-time promotions effectively, make sure you clearly communicate the deadline with countdown timers or specific dates. Don’t just focus on the discount; highlight the value proposition of what you’re offering. Most importantly, make it easy to redeem the offer with a clear call to action and a simple process.

Examples of limited-time promotions:

  • Exclusive discounts: Offer a percentage off for a limited time.
  • Free shipping: Waive shipping fees for a specific period.
  • Bonus gifts: Include a freebie with purchases made within the timeframe.

For more ideas and a seasonal calendar to inspire your email sales promotions, download our Email Promo Calendar below:

By strategically incorporating limited-time promotions into your email marketing strategy, you can create a sense of urgency, increase perceived value, and drive more sales.

Mistake #7: Winging Every Email From Scratch

Crafting a compelling email from scratch is a super time-consuming task, especially for busy businesses with limited resources. If it’s not sustainable and easily doable, it’s just too easy to put sending emails on the back burner when other pressing priorities crop up.

Fix it 👉 Embrace Automation, Templates, & AI

The good news? You don’t have to start from scratch every time. Here are some ways to streamline your email creation process:

🟡 Automated Sequences: Set up automated email sequences to nurture leads and welcome new subscribers. 

🟡 Email Templates: Use pre-written email templates for common campaigns like promotions and flash sales, weekly broadcast value emails, and email sequences to save time and ensure consistent branding.

📌 Email templates from Monetize Your List Promo Builder (promotions & flash sales), Activate Your List (broadcast emails) work as systems to help you send well-structured emails your audience will love. 

🟡 Use AI Strategically: AI tools are great to use as a “writing assistants.” ChatGPT or Gemini can help you come up with topic ideas, first drafts, and customize email templates (see above) for your niche. Browser extensions like WordTune can help you fine tune the language line by line and help you get unstuck when you’re trying to find the right turn of phrase. 

We’ve found that time spent using AI to help us with content can sometimes be a false economy (spending more time trying to get it to sound like you than it would take to write it yourself), but if you use it strategically it can save you a ton of time. Just remember that humans can predictably detect AI-written content so you don’t want to go crazy copying & pasting AI-generated text without putting it into your own brand voice.

We use a combination of content templates and so we’re never starting with a blank page and instead, have a starting place so we can focus on the value and infusing our brand voice. We use automation to welcome new subscribers and onboard customers and more. The results speak for themselves: email is by far our #1 most profitable channel.

Ready to level up your email marketing game?

Crafting captivating emails might seem daunting at first, but remember, every rockstar email marketer started somewhere. By following the tips we’ve shared, you’ll be on your way to writing emails that connect and convert.

A couple of bonus tips before you skeedaddle outta here…

Focus on Helping, Not Selling

Think of your emails as friendly conversations, not sales pitches. The more you focus on providing genuine value and building relationships with your audience, the more receptive they’ll be to your messages.

Embrace Experimentation

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Sometimes we try things we think are sure to rake in oodles of sales and they flop (hey, it happens!), and other times we second-guess ourselves before hitting the send button only to see a tsunami of sales come rolling in.  

Approach each email as an opportunity to learn and grow. Track your results, analyze what works, and adjust your sails as you go.

Remember that every email you send is a chance to connect and make a difference.

So, take a deep breath, tap into your creativity, and get ready to craft emails that inspire action and fuel your business growth. You’ve got this!

Further Reading

8 Things to Do Before Running Your First Email Flash Sale

9 Power Tips for Running High-Converting Email Promotions

The “First Sale” Email Funnel – Build Your List & Make Passive Income

15 Reasons You Should Be Building Your List

How to use Content Upgrades to Explode Your List Growth

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