Email marketing, when done well, can be one of the most effective ways to attract, captivate and delight your audience. It gives companies an expansive reach: according to Hubspot, active email accounts are expected to hit 5.9 billion in 2019. Hubspot also found that 80% of business professionals believe email marketing improves customer retention. And, year after year, emails deliver impressive ROI. There’s really no reason why email outreach shouldn’t be part of your long-term marketing strategy.

But before you dive into distributing your next batch of emails, make sure you’re utilizing best practices and abiding by today’s accepted email etiquette. Some emails, even ones written with the best intentions, can turn customers away — or worse, cause them to unsubscribe from your mailing list. Here are some common types of emails that tend to repel, rather than intrigue, leads and customers.


  1. The Unsolicited Email – The best advice is to be transparent from the very start. When customers sign up for a “monthly newsletter,” they’re expecting a once-per-month update from your company. If you surprise them with a barrage of daily e-mails, they’re not going to be very happy. So, be clear in your intentions to send e-mails — whether you’ll be contacting them once every blue moon, weekly, daily or multiple times per day.
  2. The Deceptive Email – Chances are you’ve encountered an email from a spam account with a panic-inducing subject line. A few examples that come to mind: “You left your wallet.” or “URGENT: Read this now for information regarding your account!” Most people recognize this as trash. But if they don’t, they’re going to be confused and disgruntled if the email’s contents don’t contain the whereabouts of their wallet. Therefore, keep the subject line easy to understand and related to the email’s contents.
  3. The Clueless Email – We know that pretty much everyone has a busy schedule. No one wants to waste time reading long, complicated emails without an explicitly stated purpose. Emails with a buried, lacking or unclear call-to-action might result in your customer clicking “delete.” On the other hand, emails that have a prominently featured purpose are more likely to boost your click-through rate.
  4. The Amateur Email – Your email marketing should be integrated with your content marketing strategy — and you want it to exude the same professionalism and class as any website copy or blog. Emails with grammatical or spelling errors, poor sentence structure or dull copy aren’t going to keep anyone’s attention. It could hurt your reputation as a company, too, so make sure you edit before hitting “send.”
  5. The Pushy Email – Avoid making the recipient of your email feel pressured. Furthermore, they’ll be able to tell when an email is being overly sales-y. Your email campaign’s copy should be tactful, fresh and authentic — don’t resort to age-old clichés that everyone is tired of. Instead, offer something useful or enticing to the reader.
  6. The Unattractive Email – The number of people reading emails on their phones continues to rise and chances are many of your customers prefer to review their inboxes on their smartphones rather than at a desktop. This should be kept in mind when designing your email format — what works for both mobile and desktop readers? Will the information be jumbled if they open it on their phone? A skilled email marketer knows to construct an email based on their customer’s convenience — it’s easy to read and understand, pleasing to the eye and transitions smoothly between different formats.


These types of emails have been proven unsuccessful time and time again. Designing and implementing an effective email campaign takes a lot of energy — but a skilled marketing firm can help ensure your company stays top-of-mind and at the top of your target audience’s inbox. 

Learn more about email marketing practices, like how to grow your email list organically or the first steps to take when developing your company’s newsletter.