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10 most common email mistakes—with a twist

It’s been a while since I sent a good listicle into your inbox, so let’s remedy that today.


But instead of me giving you the 10 most common email mistakes, I wanted to showcase the power of AI—and beat it to submission with my human-powered emotions and logic.


I asked my friendly neighborhood AI bot to write an email covering the 10 most common email marketing mistakes. And the machine spit out this:


(My comments will be in italic parentheses.)


==


Subject: Avoid These 10 Common Email Marketing Mistakes


(Okay, not a terrible subject line, but I personally dislike the Capitalization Of Every Word In The Subject Line. Why? Well, it just seems—and pardon my pun here—inhuman. I’m not just saying that because an AI bot wrote this though. I see many and many-a boomer following this strategy, and it always rubs me the wrong way because real human beans don’t capitalize every word when they’re talking to their friends or family. It also screams “don’t open me, I’m an ad.”


Moving on…)


Dear [Customer],


(Don’t call me dear! On a positive note, I don’t think we’re at risk for an AI takeover until they learn to say hi.)


Are you looking to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns? Make sure to avoid these 10 common mistakes:


(I’ve given the AI bot several prompts for emails to test out its abilities. I think every single email started with this same exact bland formula of: [Ask basic question] then [answer said basic question with another basic piece of copy].)


1. Not having a clear goal or objective for your campaign.


(Okay, this one checks out. You should have a clear goal for each email campaign you send. But not all clear goals are created equal. For example, having a clear goal that leads to a high ROI and results in sales makes more sense—and cents—than having people follow you on social media.)


2. Not segmenting your email list to target specific groups of customers.


(This is the most basic piece of advice—you can find it in almost any HubSpot blog about email marketing. The worst part? It ain’t always true. Sure, some segmentation might help. But sometimes you should send emails to your entire list.)


3. Not personalizing your emails to make them more relevant to each recipient.


(No no no no no! Another piece of generic advice that sounds “right” on paper, but isn’t true.


Quick example:


I’ve built my business on the back of cold email. I’ve sent cold emails that were so personalized they could only go to one person. And others that were so generic that I could send them to an entire list of hundreds of businesses.


You know what works best?


Not personalizing your emails.)


4. Using a generic or unappealing subject line that doesn't grab the reader's attention.


(Okay, hard to disagree here. It doesn’t tell you how to write a subject line that demands your readers’ attention though…)


5. Not optimizing your emails for mobile devices, which are increasingly used to read emails.


(Maybe. But this only applies if you’re going wild with designs, which, as I and many other email copywriters have proven, are less successful than their plain-text counterparts. You don’t have to worry about mobile devices when you write plain-text emails.


Also, the first 100+ emails I sent you were ugly as sin. Did it cause some people to unsubscribe? Probably. But you prove that it’s not as important as this AI bot makes it seem.)


6. Not using clear and compelling calls to action to encourage readers to take the desired action.


(Agreed.)


7. Not testing your emails to ensure they look and function correctly on different devices and email clients.


(Overrated. Now, I do test emails to make sure everything works as intended for my clients. But there’s also value in making “mistakes,” such as adding a typo to your subject line, adding the wrong link, so you can follow up a few minutes later with the proper link, or at least proving you're a human bean capable of mistakes.)


8. Not tracking and analyzing the results of your campaigns to improve future performance.


(Agreed… do we have a direct response AI bot on our hands?)


9. Not keeping your email list up-to-date and removing inactive or unengaged subscribers.


(Agreed. But again, this is something any HubSpot article will tell you.)


10. Not following best practices for email marketing, such as using a double opt-in for new subscribers and respecting the privacy and preferences of your recipients.


(Ehhhh, I don’t know about this one. For some lists, double opt-in makes sense. It’s a way to pre-qualify people before they officially join your list. I use double opt-in for this list, for example.


But sometimes double opt-in doesn’t make sense, and it steals sales from under your nose. I turn off double opt-in for most of my clients.


And to be honest, most HubSpot or Klaviyo articles advise using double opt-in to protect their servers and deliverability — not to maximize your revenue from email.)


By avoiding these common mistakes, you can improve the success of your email marketing campaigns and get better results.


(Well, maaaaaybe.)


Best regards, [Your Name]


(Who says “best regards” anymore?)


==


Alright, now here are some of my bigger takeaways from this email:


Overall, it’s a decent email. In fact, it’s light years better than emails lurking in my spam folder—maybe the first immediate use of an AI bot writing emails is to help, well, spammers.


But it’s not a great email by any stretch of the lack-of-imagination. And it has no way it can benefit me—other than ripping it to shreds.


Another important point:


90% of the advice given in said AI-generated email tells you what not to do instead of what to do. I get it, we’re talking about email marketing mistakes, so it’s easier to write what not to do versus what to do. But in the world of persuasion, telling someone what they should do is a much more effective way to persuade them. It’s easier to visualize, to act on, and to wrap your head around.


Last major takeaway:


Besides helping spammers write literate emails, I think this AI bot is already good enough to replace all HubSpot (and other similar companies posting SEO-fluff pieces) writers immediately. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if HubSpot has been secretly using AI to write their blogs for years.


Moral of the story?


You can “hire” an AI bot, not pay them a penny, and have them write you emails in—and I’m being serious here—under 5 seconds.


But these emails won’t do a damn thing for your bottom line or bank account.


Your other option?


You pay my “outrageous” fees, and see an actual ROI from them (even after subtracting my fees from the equation).


Interested in the latter?



John


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