8 Email Marketing Mistakes that Decrease Conversion Rates

Momina Asif
Momina Asif

Last updated on

February 8, 2023

I was scrolling through Twitter the other day and came across a tweet saying, “Email marketing is dead.” Surprised and shocked, I went to research further and saw some more people agreeing with it.

Is Email Marketing really dead? I hardly think so.

According to Campaign Monitor, email marketing boasts a 4200% ROI which is $42 for every $1 spent. 59% of B2B marketers prefer email for lead generation. 40% of B2B marketers claim that email newsletters are the most critical tactic in their content marketing strategy. Then how can some marketers claim email marketing is dead?

Email marketing is one of the essential parts of any business’s marketing strategy if done right. I will talk about some of the most common email marketing mistakes that result in decreased conversions, lesser engagements, and ultimately no results.

1. No welcome emails

First impressions are essential. So, what’s the impression you are giving when someone first signs up for your emails?

If you arent sending them a welcome email as soon as they hit subscribe, you are off to a bad start. Welcome emails have a 60% higher open rate than other promotional emails with a 5x higher click-through rate than the other emails.

And most importantly, welcome emails are the perfect way to build a relationship with your audience. So how do you start with an engaging welcome email?

Make it fun, engaging, and on-brand. It should set the tone for what your audience can expect from you going forward. Any good welcome email should have the following elements:

  1. Thanking them for signing up
  2. Introducing your business
  3. Setting the stage for whats next
  4. Show the value of subscribing to your emails

So, to make the most of your email marketing, a nicely formatted and engaging welcome email is a must.

2. Lack of personalization

Are you sending out generic emails that seem impersonal and sounds like they were written by a bot rather than a human being?

Well, that might be one of the reasons stopping you from getting a good open and response rate on your email marketing campaigns.

The best emails are the ones that engage with their audience and include them in the conversation. You can achieve this with a touch of personalization. According to Smart Insights, 63% of customers will stop buying or shopping from your brand if your emails lack a personal touch. This is how vital personalization is when it comes to email marketing.

So how do you create personalized emails? Start with the subject line. If you use your customer’s first name in the subject line, they will feel intrigued to open the email, and it instantly gives that element of personalization. Let’s take a look at this email from Google with the first name of customers in the subject line.

email from Google with the recipient's name in subject line

With subject lines like this, it makes your customer feel like you are addressing them directly. It also makes the email feel more personal and less sales-y.

Other ways you can offer personalized content are based on your subscriber’s demographics. You can have this data when they sign up for the emails. Such data includes:

  • Interests (related to your services and/or products)
  • Location (applicable seasons and festivals)
  • Gender
  • Date of birth

Through this data, you can plan relevant content, promotions, special discounts on particular festivals, etc.

Another way is to create personalized email content based on your customers’ behavior. For customers who have abandoned their cart without completing their purchase, you can send them an abandoned cart email.

With abandoned cart emails, you can inform your customers that the product they added to the cart is still available. You can also offer them discounts to compel them to complete their purchase.

With customers who have already purchased from you, you can send them recommended products based on their previous purchases. This is also the perfect way to engage with your customers through discounts, reward points, or other special perks.

3. Generic subject lines

If your email subject line is meh, no one is going to open it. And an email that doesn’t get opened doesn’t get read.

So to make sure your emails are getting read and, in return, generating leads for you, make sure you are not sending emails with bad subject lines.

According to Invesp, 69% of email recipients report emails as spam solely based on the subject line, and 47% of email recipients open the emails based on the subject lines. These stats clearly show how important a good subject line is on whether an email will be opened or not.

So how do you write a good subject line that guarantees a good open rate?

  • Make it short and concise

Your subject line has to be short and concise. On desktop, you can see about 60 characters of your subject line while you can only see the first 25 to 30 characters on mobile devices. So this means your subject line has to be within 6 to 8 words and no more.

Graphic showing the effect of number of words in subject line to the open rates
  • Make it personalized

As we discussed before, its important to add a personal touch to your subject line. You can add your customer’s name to your subject line, making it sound like this email is just for them. Talk about making someone feel special!

  • Add emojis

The emoji debate has been going on for quite some time now. Most marketers think it's unprofessional to add emojis to your email. However, emojis make your subject line a little less boring and a lot more exciting. And we have the data to back it up!

Adding emojis to subject lines grew open rates by 1,071% on Android and 662% on IOS within the last year. So subject lines with emojis are more likely to receive attention in a customer’s cluttered inbox.

An email from Mailmunch with emoji in subject line

4. Lack of CTAs

Call-to-action (CTA) is important.


It gives your audience a direction of the next steps they can take, from downloading a gated content to signing up for your newsletter.

Without a CTA, you are leaving it up to your readers to figure out the next steps. And you really don’t want to do that because sometimes that means clicking on the exit button.

So how do you compose a clickable and engaging CTA?

Use bold text, bright colors, and large buttons. Your CTA should be well-placed and should stand out. Make sure not to bury it in some corner of your email. Make it interactive, so customers find it compelling to click on it.

Use the right words on your CTA button. If it’s vague, dull, or doesn’t incite any action, your audience might not click on it. Some common phrases you can add are “Read more,” “Buy now,” “Download now.”

Take a look at one of the emails we sent. The CTA is well-placed and stands out from the rest of the email.

An email from Mailmunch showing the CTA button

You can also add more than CTA in your email if its looks appropriate but make sure not to overdo it.

5. Not optimizing for mobile

There are about 3.5 billion smartphone users around the globe, according to Statista. According to HubSpot, 46% of all emails were opened on mobile.

So one of the mistakes marketers are making is forgetting about their mobile users. If you are not tailoring your email campaigns to load on mobile devices properly, it can decrease customer satisfaction and loss of revenue.

What are some of the tips to optimize your email for mobile?

Use text and images that are easy to read on mobile screens. Try to use images that are less than 600 pixels wide.

Use your real estate on mobile wisely. It’s already limited, so don’t beat around the bush. Write short, consumable, and easily scannable chunks of text with bullet points. Add your CTA buttons front and center. Make them stand out with bright colors and large buttons.

Also, make sure to run A/B testing on multiple devices before sending your emails forward.

6. Making emails too sales-y

If you are subscribed to several email newsletters, sometimes they all sound and look the same, don’t they?

Analyze the emails you receive. What works for you? What sounds cheesy or sales-y? What leads you to open an email and then proceed to read the entire email?

To make sure you don’t sound like you only care about selling your products or services, you have to put in the effort. Instead of saying how great your product or service is, tell your reader what benefits they can reap from it.

Stop using cliche subject lines like

  • “The 7 Most Confusing Vegetables of the Past 10 Years (#4 Will Blow Your Mind)”
  • “5 People Who Messed Up The One Job They Had”
  • “12 Brilliant Gifts For Your Chihuahua You Had No Idea You Needed.”

These kinds of email subject lines are a dime a dozen these days. To get your emails to stand out, write purposeful subject lines that focus on the reader. Make your email all about the reader, and your conversions will increase.

7. Ignoring GDPR

In late May 2018, GDPR changes came to effect and changed the world of email marketing. Now, to comply with GDPR, it’s illegal for businesses to email recipients who have not signed up to receive email communications from you.

It’s also compulsory to include the option of “unsubscribe” in your emails to allow recipients to opt out any time they want.

Apart from the GDPR, it reflects extremely poorly on your business if you send unsolicited emails. People can easily mark your emails as spam, hurting your email reputation.

So to make sure you are doing email marketing right, only send emails to people who have opted-in to receive emails from your business.

Secondly, if a subscriber doesn’t want to hear from you anymore, provide them with a well-placed and clearly visible unsubscribe link. Don’t hide it in a sea of content or make it small.

8. Sending emails at the wrong time

The timings of your emails affect your email analytics a lot. There a right and wrong time to send emails, and most marketers don’t know about it. This is why they don’t achieve the same results with email marketing.

A well-written, highly engaging email sent at the wrong time will not result in the desired results. Sending emails on a Monday might not be the best time for your audience. People are likely to be busy with work which means there is a very small possibility of them opening and reading your emails.

So what’s the best time for sending emails?

According to Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp, and our own data at Mailmunch, Thursdays are the best days for higher open rates.

Graphic showing the best days to post

Source: Campaign Monitor

In addition to an optimum day, your timing should be well-aligned with your audience as well. Let’s have a look at this chart by CoSchedule.


Graphic explaining the optimum time to send emails

So, using these ideal times and days, send your emails at best possible time for the most conversions.


Having someone’s email address and sending them emails isn’t email marketing. To convert your subscribers, you have to execute your email campaigns with the proper strategy. You can use software like Mailmunch to use automated emails like welcome emails, abandoned cart emails, and others. Now that you know which mistakes to avoid, you can jump on to Mailmunch’s app and start creating your email campaigns.

Author Bio

Momina Asif

Content marketer by day and book nerd by night, Momina works at Mailmunch as a Marketing Communications Specialist. Momina eats, sleeps, and breathes content marketing. Her expertise ranges from ideation to production to distribution of content, thanks to 4+ years of experience in the B2B content marketing sphere.


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