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Email marketing’s often the quickest way to get a message into the hands of your customers.

Email marketing’s often the quickest way to get a message into the hands of your customers.

But it’s also the quickest way of getting a glaring error out there and once it’s out, it’s out.


We always feel a pang of sympathy when we see an email where the send button has been hit too early. Such as this recent example from The Drum.

The Drum email example

An unusually content-lite email from The Drum…

Now, we like The Drum, so were surprised to receive such a content-lite email in place of their normal great content. But it happens to all of us and there are lessons to be learned from the mistakes of others. Some are basic errors to be avoided, while some are commonplace practices that just send the wrong impression.

So if you think you can send emails with your eyes shut, let’s have a look at what might happen if you do.

Send a test email before you broadcast

No matter how familiar you are with emails, mistakes can easily creep in and you don’t want to discover an error just after you’ve clicked send.

So always test, test and test again and only once you’re happy should you broadcast. Then check your seed emails to make sure everything reads ok.

But remember, a test should only go internally – don’t send to a live list by mistake. Don’t let your customers see something like this –

Wine Society email


But if you do send something out by mistake, rectify it quickly. Your customers will understand, so don’t try to pretend it never happened. The Wine Society were quick to put their hands up and fix the problem.


Wine Society email


Get personal

If you’ve worked with direct mail, you’ll know how important it is to get the salutation right, yet it’s a skill which is often missing in e-mail. Personalising a communication with the recipient’s name is basic marketing and there’s no excuse for not doing it.

Here’s an example from American Express. It’s particularly important in financial services to address customers by name.  ‘Dear Valued Cardmember’ makes the email look like spam – or worse, a scam.


AMEX email

Don’t use generic salutations – show customers you know them


So always take the time to personalise your emails. But remember – make sure you test it before going live, or you might end up with something like this.


Discount Supplements email

Test your email across all devices

Don’t assume that everyone is seeing your email in all its glory.  Test your templates regularly to make sure it renders correctly on all devices and browsers.


Testing devices

Remember to test your broadcasts on different devices and orientations


Test on all devices and browsers to make sure your emails are being seen in the best light. A jumbled mass of text and images won’t do your brand any favours.

Share the expertise – don’t be caught out in an emergency

You’ll be familiar with the situation. You have an urgent email to go out and your resident email expert is out of the office. Now what do you do?

Make sure you have back-up – either someone else within the business or an external supplier who can take on the task.  But that means additional supervision and testing to make sure it goes out correctly.

Don’t wait for an emergency to train people – make sure you’re prepared for all scenarios and keep people’s skills up to date. It’s easy to get rusty.

Be consistent

Make sure your emails are consistent with all your other communications and channels. It’s easy for people to become siloed in their roles, but you need to be sending consistent messages.

Someone needs to be ensuring that communications are consistent and on-brand. That’s particularly important if you’re sending out emergency communications in a hurry, as has been so common over the last year. If you have need to send something out in a hurry, turn off other communications temporarily, or at least make sure that other communications don’t conflict. And that goes for email, DM, social media, TV or any other channel.

If you’re not consistent, you’ll end up either annoying or confusing your customers – or both.


If you need a refresher course in the essentials of email, why not read our handy guide here and make sure you’re avoiding costly errors.

And if you need more, we’re always happy to help. Just get in touch with us here.

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