Before we get started, I have two apologies to make: one to every company featured in this blog post (my opinion obviously has little bearing on the success of your marketing efforts), and another for writing a post with a wholly negative premise.

In my defence, it’s often a lot easier to run your own emails against a checklist of ‘do nots’, as it arguably supplies some super-quick fixes.

Anyway, off we go.

Emails I did open…

1. One big image that doesn’t display correctly

I am lazy. If I’m just about convinced to open an email, I sometimes can’t then be bothered to click ‘display images’. And on my phone, I might not always be able to.

So you just need to mix up the images and the text. Here’s an example of an email that could do with a bit more text in it, from National Express.

And here’s how it looks with images enabled.

Beautiful, but perhaps feels a bit too flyer-esque because it’s one big pic.

2. Stock subject, stock images

Are you ready for 2014? Ready how? What solutions do you provide for what problems?

Who is this man that looks like a healthy, corporate incarnation of Samuel Beckett’s Molloy? Are balloons a sign of the future?

Again, snarkiness aside, we’ve used Regus services, and I find some of them valuable, but I don’t want to see stock subject lines and stock imagery.

 

3. Content below the fold

Regus is good after all: here’s tons of good content further down the email we’ve just discussed.

But all the content is below the fold! Get it up top guys, it’s the best bit.

4. Lack of information

Pullman Hotels are great, let me say. I’ve used the company before for meeting rooms and training. But here’s a good example of an email lacking information.

I am given no indication of what ‘Art Night’ is, and the link to register doesn’t offer anything further either. Of course, I’m curious and I googled it a few weeks back when I received the mail, but to no avail.

I like art, and might have attended but for the lack of detail. 

5. WEBINAR!

This is just personal taste. I hate webinars, but I love hearing about in-store tech. This email below would have been of interest, but I rather hastily deleted when I saw the word webinar. 

It’s your subject matter that’s compelling, not the medium. Put the subject first then add the word webinar on the end if you must, or simply add in the body. As I say, personal taste perhaps. 

 

And emails I didn’t even open..

6. Gimmicks: icons instead of characters

This is a bit ‘2000’. No longer impressive.

7. My good friend, admin

Make sure your email is sent with something touchy feely in the ‘from’ field.

Not ‘admin’.

 

8. Win an iPad!

These competitions were successful at the launch of iPad 1, due to its huge cultural cache at the time. Now, I think we agree that the iPad seems like an arbitrary prize, much like offering hard cash, it doesn’t say anything about your business.

Offer something that ties into your product.

9. Subject = sender

Here’s another example of an email where the poor work in the ‘from’ and ‘subject’ fields stops me from opening the mail.

In this case it’s a subject that is simply the name of the sender. It’s a shame, because this email was Devono’s survey of what makes London great, which I’d conceivably have contributed to, as a lover of this fair city.

10. Unpersuasive subject line

I don’t know why, but I get emails from EET Europarts, who provide electronics and such.

The gist of this email is ‘we have great micro batteries in stock’, as you can see from the opened email. But the subject is truly deathly.

Don’t automate this stuff.

Get someone who can write with pith to add their own micro-battery micro-copy.

 

Thanks for reading. Let me know pet hates in the comments below.