How To Suck At Email Marketing

Follow these 10 rules to create email marketing that really sucks. Or, learn from these mistakes and become a marketing superstar.


1. Mass mail generic stuff to your entire list (Because everyone wants your fruit cake recipe). Instead, segment your list and create different versions of each email campaign that are tailored to specific industries or titles.

2. Write long emails that go on for pages (You lost me at hello). Instead, make your point in 10 sentences or less. Better yet, do it in less than 5 sentences.

3. Sell your solution in the email (Click here to buy a house). Instead, create low-pressure calls to action, such as a request for an appointment or link to a landing page on your website.

4. Talk endlessly about yourself and your company (Because you are the most interesting person in the world). Unless you’re the Dos Equis Guy, recipientsv don’t want to hear about you. Instead, send useful information like tips, trends, and best practices that will help them.

5. Only send impersonal, corporate emails (From: [email protected]). Instead, send emails on behalf of each sales or customer service person so the recipient can reply directly to the Rep who manages the relationship. Be “huggable.”

6. Ask a stupid, rhetorical question (Do you hate being asked dumb questions?) Instead, don’t be gimmicky and focus on stating your purpose.

7. Expect email to do all the work for you (10 eggs, 1 basket). Instead, follow up with a phone call when appropriate and blend email with other marketing tactics (singing telegrams are nice).

8. Rattle off a list of features and product information (Behold, the human Pez dispenser). Instead, focus on a single, primary benefit or result you can deliver. Keep it simple.

9. Create subject lines that look like SPAM (Free trial, 101% off!). Instead, create subject lines that build curiosity or leverage what you know about the recipient.

10. Use lots of bullet points and create long lists (How do I love thee? Let me bullet point the ways). Instead, make sure the the email is more conversational and less formal.