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The etiquette of email: 5 email gaffes everyone hates

Make your email marketing campaigns shine with our guide to the best in email etiquette…

Companies are wasting thousands of pounds each year on their email marketing campaigns. Not because they have bad data, but because they haven’t considered the very basics of good email etiquette – and have managed to alienate their prospect within seconds of them opening that vital marketing email.

And with the latest figures showing that emails only have an average opening rate of 21.47% and a click-through rate of 3.16%, you can’t afford to make easily-avoidable mistakes…

Gaffe #1

Abbrevs, poor speling n grammarr

If you want to come across like a used car salesman genetically spliced with timeshare rep, then we strongly recommend that you use as many CAPITALISED WORDS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS AS POSSIBLE!!!!! AND TRY AND USE, PUNCTUATION IN THE. WRONG PLACE TWO!? LOL

The Solution

Alternatively, if you want to come across as a respectable company that treats clients with professionalism and who doesn’t shove its marketing message down their throats, engaging, proofed copy is the only way to go…

Gaffe #2

Going on and on and on and on and…

You have a simple message that you want to impart to prospects; a hook that will make them click-through. Sadly, some companies feel that to achieve this, they must explain their ‘message’ in overly-verbose, detail-packed, rambling, content-dense, sleep-inducing marketing guff.

The Solution

This approach will lead to the average prospect hitting the ‘delete’ button in under two seconds. Keep your message simple, direct and clear – if it takes longer than 30 seconds to read, edit it. If you believe your message really does need longer to explain, then your message is wrong.

Gaffe #3

Forgetting to get mobile

Imagine you’re one of those hotshot MDs that feature in those slightly obnoxious tablet device ads, checking your email as you hustle along to your next meeting. There’s a marketing email from a company that could help your business. Trouble is that the email’s formatting is botched with words littered all over the place on your device’s screen. You instantly delete it.

The Solution

When planning your email marketing campaigns, remember it should now be mandatory for any email to be mobile device-friendly. After all, 41% of emails are now opened on a mobile device and if yours hasn’t been optimised, it creates the impression of a company behind the curve at best or worse, a firm that simply doesn’t care.

Gaffe #4

Addressing the wrong person

You’ve dreamt up a potentially award-winning email campaign. The champagne is on ice. You know this is going to be big as you hit the ‘Send’ button. But a week later, you get a call from the Information Commissioner’s Office, informing you that you’re going to be fined for sending out spam.

The Solution

It’s essential that your emails are regulation-compliant. Make sure that you have permission to send out that message to the targeted individual or company in first place. Give them a clear unsubscribe link if they don’t want to receive any more emails from you and include full company details in your email’s boilerplate.

Gaffe #5

Looking like an amateur

The prospect is impressed by your email. It has a clear message coupled with an enticing offer – but then they see the email address they are responding to, it ends with ‘’ or ‘’. The prospect falters, wondering if your company is as professional as that email address is…

The Solution

Ensure you have a friendly, recognisable from address so it’s clear who the email is coming from. It’s a basic but essential tip to reassure your prospect that you are the real deal, or to provide a clear link between where and when someone signed up and the emails they are receiving from you. Otherwise you run the risk of your email marketing campaigns looking amateurish and appearing to be a company that cuts corners.

[SOURCES: Adestra, ICO LINK, email clickthru link,,,]



– Don’t use ‘sloppy’ language.

– Don’t trash your message with marketing speak.

– Don’t forget that people view their emails on their mobile devices.

– Don’t forget the laws surrounding email marketing.

– Don’t look like an amateur; have a professional and recognisable from address.

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  • Skip O’Neill

    Good Tips.