Email Marketing – Mistakes Marketers Make On Ruining Response Rates

email marketing mistakesEmail marketing is a straight forward topic…at first. It’s like writing an article for traffic. How difficult and complex can it get?

Like most things in life, the simpler it looks, the less people do a good job with it.

Every internet marketer knows (unless you’re a fresh newbie), that the money is in the list. The bigger your list, the more money you’ll make.

But here’s the cold, hard truth.

The number of subscribers on your email list don’t mean squat.

If the majority of subscribers signed up to your email list using a junk email address to get the freebie and they never open your emails, do you think you’ll make money even with a million subscribers?

Obviously your email marketing will suck when that happens.

So what determines successful email marketing?

How do you know you’re building a list that will make you money and not just collecting unresponsive email addresses?

How successful your email marketing is, is determined by your open and click through rates.

When you send an email to your list, you look for the number of people who open your emails and the number of people who click on the links inside the email.

One of the reasons why a lot of people fail miserably when purchasing solo-ads is because they bought the ad based on the number of subscribers. This is not how you buy solo-ads.

The reason you buy solo-ads is to get subscribers to click on the link in your email to subscribe to your list or to purchase one of your products. However, I would advise sending the people on a solo-ad to your squeeze page.

email mistakesSo why the hell would you pay for an email based upon the size of the email list?

You could be crying over the dismal performance of the ad.

A much better approach would be to purchase a solo-ad based on the average number of clicks the list owner can send.

A huge list doesn’t mean they will send more traffic to your website. By paying for an ad that guarantees a certain number of clicks, you’ll be able to save a lot of money.

Doesn’t this make you think? A lot of marketers have huge lists yet their subscribers are dead!

No one clicks on the links which the marketer sends. With some marketers, not many of their subscribers open their emails either.

So why is that?

The reason is because the list was not treated correctly.

Here are 3 mistakes marketers make on ruining response rates.

Email Marketing Mistakes Than Ruin Responses

1. The Method of Traffic Generation

How you get subscribers onto your email list is very important. It determines how responsive these subscribers are when you email them.

For example, if you participate in a giveaway event where there are many product owners offering free stuff in return for the person’s email address, you won’t get a lot of good subscribers.

This is because the person has probably signed up to a lot of email lists to get the freebies in that giveaway event. He will be receiving a ton of emails and won’t be able to read all of them. It is also likely that he will unsubscribe from a lot of lists, including yours.

I’ve noticed that with subscribers from giveaway events, they are less responsive. Your freebie needs to be of exceptional quality and your follow up emails must contain excellent content for them to read your messages and remember you.

2. Boring your subscribers

Another mistake which marketers commonly do with their email marketing that ruins the responses is being boring with their messages.

Right after the subscriber joins the list, the marketer will email them regularly with content that is old, unattractive and promotional. A lot of the times, the subscribers will be promoted to day in and day out which is not why they signed up to your list at the beginning.

After a while, the subscribers will ignore the emails coming from this marketer and won’t even bother reading the subject line.

Just because someone has not unsubscribed from your list doesn’t mean that they are reading your emails.

The subscriber is most responsive when they are first signed up to your list. Your first few emails must excite them, make them remember you and want to read more. After a while, they will not be as responsive.

3. Not emailing the list

This is a very common mistake and one which I have made as well at the beginning.

Do not build a list for the sake of getting many subscribers on your list. Understand that the objective is to turn these subscribers to your fans and make them trust you. This is what makes them buy from you.

Don’t focus on increasing the number of subscribers. Your goal is to increase the number of people who open your emails and click on the links inside.

Email Marketing Summary

So the next time, you are revising the performance of your email marketing, look at the increase in number of open emails and the click through rate of the links. If there is an increase from last month, your email marketing is healthy.

Remember, your number of subscribers don’t mean jack.

Photo Credit: checkrecordsdotcom




  1. Alan,

    This is great advice. I used be hung up on numbers because that is what all the marketeers spoke about, but I thought numbers doesn’t count. It the relationship you have with your list. Like you said, once they become your fan they will always read your eMail and sign up for products.

    • Thanks for the positive feedback Tisha!

  2. Alan, I’m really tired of being flooded by email marketing from companies I have never signed up to get information from. Honestly think this is the biggest mistakes when it comes to email marketing. And unfortunately far too many companies/people are making that mistake.

    • Hi Catrina,

      Lots of people and companies are using emails to promote their business. This is why our inbox is really busy nowadays.

      So you have to stand out if you want people to read your email.

  3. Hi Alan, I’m learning something from you. Great advice for email marketing. The focus should be on the content of email series or newsletter. Thank you.

    • Thanks for your nice comments Vivianna.

  4. Hi Alan,

    I must agree with what you are saying here. And for people with large lists, it’s a good idea to clear out folks who don’t click on your emails after a certain time, since you are charged more after a certain number on the list. Aweber has a way to check on this. I read about how to do this on Ana Hoffman’s blog, but didn’t pay much attention because my list is so small. Hopefully, that will change.


    • Hi Lou,

      Your list may be small now, but as long as it’s responsive, then it’s better than lists that are 10 times bigger!

      By the way, aWeber is fantastic. And so is Ana Hoffman.

  5. Hi Alan,

    Since I’m new, I don’t have subscribers or clicks. But I can see that how I use the list will have a big impact. I’ve noticed that the lists I have subscribed to keep my interest, just so long. Unless they have something I can use right now, I move on.


  6. Hi Alan

    great List of you’ve got, I guess I have to start emailing my list 🙂
    I have been doing that in quite a while now.

    thanks for the reminder.

  7. Hi Alan,

    The first and last have been mistakes that I’ve made. At first a lot of my subscribers came from being a part of the giveaway lists. I found out quickly how many unsubscribes and no-reads I got from those.

    I also found out the importance of engaging the readers early on so now I have a good plan in place to keep the subscribers interested particularly in the first month.


    • Hi Stacy,

      Good to know that we both agree on the ‘giveaway lists’.

      To get an idea of how to keep your subscribers interested, just check out the email lists you’re currently subscribed to and are reading.

  8. Alan, you couldn’t have said it better. I’m the pits at email marketing because I don’t like it hence I email only about once every week or ten days and I know I need to do a better job.

    I don’t have a huge list… but it’s not ‘bad’ either. When I do send an email out, I have a decent open rate… I think…. probably about 10-15%…

    with that said, what is a good open rate?? Any ideas.

    I was just thinking about my list(s) today and wondering if the ones I had neglected…(YIP… I have one or two of those as well 🙁 ) would let me re-kindle my relationship. (LOL)….

    I really loved the way you wrote this. It’s so true.

    Best regards


    • Thanks for the comments Jayne.

      A good open rate will depend on what niche you’re in.
      I’ve had open rates as high as 40% in some niches and 8% in others.

      What I do realize though is that the open rates will decrease over time. Hope that helps.

  9. I love this advice Alan! It is so true that success is not necessary in the numbers but in the responsiveness (which stems from a solid relationship). Work on giving value to your subscribers and building that relationship before expanding the list size. Thank you for this reminder.

    • Thanks Rachael. Glad you like the post 🙂

  10. Thanks Alan this is a really good post. Business owners are obsessed with numbers but you really need to look closer at how good the numbers actually are. Like you say it’s about the open and click rate.

    Another tip is don’t be afraid of people unsubscribing, it sounds harsh but if they’re not going to buy from you, you don’t really want them on your list. There are a lot of freebie seekers out there and you need to make sure your list is as qualified as possible. Of course give value but you need to sell too:)

    • Lilach,

      Excellent point about people unsubscribing.
      I’ve written excellent emails to my subscribers and there are still people who unsubscribe. So you can’t please them all.

  11. I agree with you 100%.I speak from my own personal experience when I say that email marketing is the most effective marketing strategy out there. It takes only little time to set up and it has the biggest return for the money invested.
    All you need is a good email template go get you potential new customers interested in to opening the email and a good email database with opt-in email addresses that you can gather on your own or purchase form an email list provider.
    I buy my email lists from and so far it is as good as it gets.

  12. I was guilty of number three in the beginning as well. I just didn’t want to be emailing them promotions all the time, and wasn’t really sure what to send otherwise. I finally decided to create 52 follow up informative emails that could help them with their online business and schedule them to go out once each week. (I also send out a weekly blog update message with the last 7 blog posts on my site)

    This has helped keep me in touch as well as show that I’m more about providing content than selling affiliate products. The result is a higher CTR and more traffic to my site.

    Thanks Alan, enjoyed the article!

    • That’s a great strategy Warren. I like it.