Email marketing can be a lot like playoff football. Or maybe I just compare the two because I see them a lot. Either way, here are some mistakes you may be making in your email marketing that get your recipients to hit “unsubscribe” or “spam” and eliminate you from their in-boxes, just like 2 teams will be eliminated from the Superbowl next weekend.

1. No game plan

Can you imagine if the Patriots or Broncos came to the divisional play-offs next week with NO game plan? That would be ridiculous. You should always develop some sort of “game plan” for your email marketing. Ask yourself some questions to get started:

– who are you emailing? customers? Prospects?

– what action do you want them to take in your emails?

– is the content you are sending interesting?

Once you have an idea of who your are sending to, what you want to send them and what actions you would like them to take, you should write out a flow chart to visualize the sequence before putting it together.


2. Confusing plays

One of my favorite things to watch is when you see a play obviously gone wrong, like this “Alex Smith hand off to nobody” (who was that going to??)


Just like some plays might confuse players….confusing subject lines or email text will confuse your readers. Your subject line should be clear, concise and informative. In the email body, you should keep your text short and any call to actions need to be very clear.

3. Not putting in the work

Whether you plan on winning the Superbowl or increasing your open rate- it takes work. Automated systems are great because they save you time, but this doesn’t mean they do the work for you- at least until we develop people-substituting robots to do that.

Keep in mind, that creating email nurturing campaigns can be work up front, but using the right system, they can be automated after that. However, to REALLY optimize what you are doing, you should keep tracking your open and click through rates so that you can continuously test and analyze what is working for your list.

This play-off season, make a plan, stick to it and make sure your plan involves testing and analyzing throughout the year. Do this and ensure that your opens and clicks increase for 2014!