3 tragic email mistakes that are costing you business

How do you write your email marketing? Does it trip off your tongue (or fingers) so it’s conversational and fresh? Or do you slave over every word to maximise your potential for conversions?

I think I do a mix of both – depending on the subject matter and my mood.

Regardless of which approach you use, this checklist of simple but tragic email errors will help you make sure your email marketing hits the mark.

Tragic email error #1: Who are you again?

I recently got an email with the subject line: “Why I started CompanyA”. I didn’t recognise the sender or the business. Fail. Fail. Fail.

I give myself 30 minutes at the start of each day to go through emails and my ‘to do’ list and prioritise my day. I don’t have time to read emails from people I don’t know about the creation of businesses I don’t care about. Especially when they open with,

“Hi, business owner ”

The lesson: If you aren’t sure your name will be recognised, write an email subject line that would stop people on a busy street. Or at least stand out in an inbox. If you’re stuck, consider the kind of subject lines you write to friends.

If you don’t know the recipient’s name (you’re spamming), set your default greeting to something personal such as, “Hi there”.

Tragic email error 2: You don’t explain what’s in it for me

This email went on to explain why the company was started. The perky amongst you will be squinting as you wonder how I knew that if I didn’t read the email. You’re right. The email was successful in one way. So uninteresting that I became interested.

Anyway, it opened with an introduction and went on to tell the story.

The lesson: Customers only care about how their lives will be improved. So tell them. If this isn’t your first email, remind them who you are and how their life will be better from that moment on. Tell me why I should care!

Aim to use the word “you” twice as often as words like “I”, “us” and “we”.

Tragic email error 3: You don’t ask me to do anything

The email finished with the line,

“I hope you’ll give us a chance to prove ourselves. We’re really excited about working with you. “

Wait. What? Who is this and why are we working together? The email was friendly and polite but at the end, I felt baffled, without any clear sense of what I was supposed to do.

The lesson: Every piece of marketing needs a strong call to action. Identify one main action you want your reader to take and make sure it’s clearly visible.

Are your emails an anti-climax?

There are three very fixable errors that make many emails a tragic waste of time.

Because the end result was… nothing. I got a story with no benefit or request to act. So I deleted it and went on to the next email.

Rather an anti-climax don’t you think?

Take a look at the last three emails you sent to more than five customers. Did any of them fall into the same trap?


[Note: They weren’t actually called CompanyA. I just replaced the name. But, you knew that, right?]

7 Responses

    1. Thanks Rashida.

      I think it’s laziness and how a lot of people communicate on email. Which I won’t rant about, I swear, but I’m amazed at how many people forget their manners on email! When it comes to promo emails many business forget that crafting an email needs just as much thought as that first consult with a potential client. Because that’s what it is!

  1. Hi Belinda,
    Was the email overly long? Those are the ones I get impatient reading…spending so much time and not getting to the point. I guess I should respond to those emails by offer my editing services. 🙂
    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

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