There are a lot of best practice guides to email marketing. This isn’t one of those (although no promises, we’ll probably write one in six months). This is a worst practices list.

The old “login to unsubscribe”

If a recipient decides to unsubscribe, chances are they haven’t had any interaction with your company in quite some time and they one day think “I no longer need this in my inbox”. Asking them to try and remember information they registered with years ago is only going to sour any future relationship. The other scenario here is that something has recently happened to piss them off, meaning at this point they’re not exactly a brand advocate. If you love your subscribers, set them free without making them do more work.

Lazy linking

I’m always appreciative when a “track shipment” link prefills (via dynamic content) and takes me straight to my tracking page. Putting the onus on the customer by sending them somewhere generic and making them hunt for the a tracking code to input is poor form. Same goes with products. If I click on a dress, please take me to it. Not a page of all the dress options available.

I’m back!

This is the email equivalent of “how did you get this number?”. If your company has undergone a major rebrand, not previously sent any email marketing or taken a long hiatus from the activity, a reintroduction is necessary. A reactivation is even better.

Just because you have the subscriber list doesn’t mean they still want to hear from you. Plus, a lot of email addresses may not even be valid anymore so continually sending to them will only damage your sender reputation.

Click bait subject lines

There are many, many articles about how to write good subject lines, and yes I’d recommend you read them. However, one thing to watch is getting overly dramatic: the subject line equivalent of click bait.

Calling something a “Super sale!” when it’s 10% off, or using the phrase “Best …… ever!” more than once a month will soon have your subscribers ignoring you (you’re the retailer crying wolf). It’s fine to be enthusiastic, but the subject needs to somewhat reflect the content if you want people to click through.