email automation

6 Email Marketing Automation Mistakes to Watch Out For

Automation can save marketers so much time – but it also allows for embarrassing mistakes. To help you be more aware, our guest Tammy Wood talks about some of the most common email marketing automation mistakes. Thus, you’ll know how to avoid them.

Have you ever read an email that sounds like it was written by a robot? It doesn’t matter what company it comes from. An impersonal email feels uncaring and can be a mistake in marketing campaigns.

With digital transformation increasingly at play, email automation has grown in popularity, saving marketers both time and energy. However, we can still make mistakes.

Email marketing automation mistakes: what can go wrong?

Here are six email marketing automation mistakes to avoid if you want to keep people engaged and increase conversions.

#1. Ignoring your subscribers’ needs

If someone has subscribed to an email list for movie updates, they don’t want weekly emails on coffee grinders. Ignoring your subscribers’ needs and expectations is a big mistake. Whether it’s providing unexpected content, a lack of personalization, or lengthy emails, it’s a surefire way to earn an unsubscribe.

For example, sending automated offers for new customers to current customers won’t be appreciated, as they can’t take advantage of these.

Thankfully, an automated email marketing system can resolve issues like this. Below are some things to consider.

Email segmentation

Splitting one large list into smaller groups allows you to send more relevant emails. Base your groups on similar interests or needs.


It’s crucial for email marketing and affects open rates, click-through, and conversion rates. It shows people that you value them and that they’re not just another sir/madam. You can use email automation to add variables such as name, location, and relevant links for a hand-crafted feel. 

Email length

Emails aren’t novels, so keep them brief. More than 300 words might be too much text for readers to bother absorbing. 

By looking at how you can cater your email content to your subscribers’ needs, you can improve overall engagement and the success rate of your marketing efforts.

email marketing automation mistakes seen with a person sitting a desk with a laptop and typing.

#2. Sounding like a robot

Ditching repetitive manual processes in favor of a robotic process automation (RPA) system allows you to focus on more important and creative matters. Unfortunately for email automation, this can make your audience feel like they’re talking to a robot.

Things like do-not-reply email addresses easily identify mass emails, making subscribers unlikely to engage. Also, using impersonal text alienates them even more.

You can’t tailor marketing emails to each recipient, but that doesn’t mean messages should sound generic and uninviting. Replace do-not-reply email addresses with employee or department names to add a little humanity. You could also include personal anecdotes to spruce up your email copy.

For example, I hate when weekly newsletters sound like emails from the government reminding me to fill out my online tax return. To avoid this sort of scenario, relate to your recipients by adding personal touches that humanize your brand and add authenticity to your voice. 

Remember, when you’re crafting your emails, write as if you’re talking directly to a customer and do your best to avoid dry, impersonal blocks of text.

#3. Email frequency and scheduling

Email frequency and scheduling are prone to email marketing automation mistakes.

Automated email campaigns make life much easier. Like content automation, they take up less time and energy and can quickly send your message to a large base of potential customers. However, this can lead to chronic overuse. 

People receive emails constantly, with their inboxes quickly becoming overwhelmed with work, personal, and brand emails. If a brand begins sending them similar email offers every day, what do you think they’ll do?

What would you do? Would you check the same offers daily, unsubscribe, or add the company to your spam list? Like most people, I’d unsubscribe, and I suspect you would, too. Companies with a high email frequency erode trust in their loyal subscribers and can turn away new ones.

While it’s a fine line to tread between too many and too few emails, you mustn’t send an email without a good reason. 

Another issue is timing.

Email lists can have recipients worldwide. Sending a morning briefing at 7 am in the US might not be appreciated elsewhere, where it might be 7 pm, affecting how your subscribers perceive your priorities.

A properly planned email automation strategy solves both problems. By determining why you’re sending an email and defining your parameters, you can improve scheduling and reduce the frequency of unwanted emails. 

For example, you might decide to ask new subscribers what types of content they’re interested in and automate the system to send relevant emails. As with automation testing, check your system thoroughly to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Create and stick to a strategy to avoid becoming the sort of spammer we all hate. Keep in mind, just because you can send an email doesn’t mean you have to.

#4. Overcrowded design

Email design impacts how many people open, read, and engage with your campaign. Overcrowding emails with different offers and announcements is a common design mistake.

Unnecessary information and multiple calls-to-action can prove detrimental to email engagement, often leading to inaction and landing in spam folders. Automated emails perform best when there’s one clear message to move prospects closer to conversion. 

Each email campaign should focus on a single goal, and each email in the series should build toward accomplishing this. If you have multiple goals, you should have multiple campaigns.

Do this by keeping things simple. Define the action you want users to take and focus on each email element to achieve this. Avoid adding anything unnecessary.

Distracting elements in an email include:

  • Too many links/calls to action. Every email has a goal. You want the reader to do something. Including multiple links and calls to action can be distracting, leading to inaction. 
  • Keep it simple. Have one link to a product page or include one call-to-action.
  • Too many questions. Do you like questions in an email? How many do you think are too many? When does it get annoying? Now? How about now? There’s actually nothing wrong with questions. They’re great for attracting attention, but too many make even the most attentive reader switch off. Would you want to sift through 20 questions before getting to the quality content in an email? 
  • Distracting data. It’s natural to want to talk about your company and its achievements. This builds credibility, but it can also be distracting and off-putting. Nobody wants to read through a company history before getting to the crux of the email. Ask yourself, do I need to put this in or can I add it to the website? 

Remember: one campaign, one goal.

email verification services provided.

#5. Holding onto bad lists

Perseverance is an advantageous trait for marketing. People aren’t always easy to persuade, and it can take a few emails, targeted ads, and campaigns to win them over.

But when it comes to email lists, perseverance may be tanking your campaign before it’s even begun.

Every email service provider has a spam filter. While they usually work well at sorting emails into wanted and unwanted piles, there are instances where legitimate senders are accidentally blacklisted. For example, if a company sends emails to an address that no longer exists, the sender could be flagged as a spammer.

Your sender reputation is crucial to landing emails in an inbox. Unverified email addresses that don’t engage, have high bounce rates, or full inboxes can damage your reputation, leaving you on a blacklist.

Check if your IP or domain have been blacklisted

To preserve your sender reputation, use email checkers to verify your email list addresses exist, are being used, and can receive emails. Also, use a dedicated IP address and a single email address for marketing purposes to control your reputation.

Moreover, check the open, bounce back, unsubscribe and spam complaint rates of each campaign to identify how to keep your reputation positive.

You might also want to try and construct more reliable and organic lists. Look at some list building ideas to help you keep your email addresses relevant.

Cleaning your email lists and removing unverified addresses is one way to improve the efficacy of campaigns. 

See how ZeroBounce works – It’s free

#6. Ignoring past campaign metrics

Learning your lessons is vital to prevent the same mistakes from happening again. The same applies to past campaign metrics.

Like sales automation tools, email automation offers a helping hand to manage your time and productivity. Improving current and future campaigns depends on identifying what went well (and what didn’t) in previous campaigns. 

However, this often doesn’t happen, leading to future campaigns suffering from the same pitfalls as previous ones, limiting your growth and success. Analyzing opens, clicks, replies, unsubscribes, and other metrics is crucial to assess the changes you need to make. For example, if recipients are checking their email on mobile devices, it’s important to optimize content for smaller screens. 

Be careful not to focus on the wrong metrics, which can make you feel you’re achieving a goal when you’re not.

Imagine you want to improve conversion rates. Seeing an increase in open rates while conversions stay the same is not a success. Open rates lead to more conversions, and improving them is fantastic, but the focus should be on increasing conversions.

Learn from the past to brighten your future.

If you don’t like it, neither will anyone else

Fifty-one percent of companies are currently using marketing automation. When it comes to email, this can be invaluable, and getting it right doesn’t have to be difficult – so long as you understand what you’re doing. 

Making tweaks to your strategy will quickly improve your email campaigns. Investing time to make personalization adjustments and analyzing past performance can increase conversion rates, generate leads, and grow your lists, too.

Remember, your recipients are humans who expect a human-sounding email with a simple design and clear goal. Think about the emails you like receiving and try to replicate them to maximize the success of your marketing campaigns.

After all, if it’s not an email you’d open and read, chances are no one else will either.

Author: Tammy Wood has been involved with SEO for two decades. Her current role is Director of Technical SEO, for Automation Anywhere, an intelligent automation ecosystem that offers RPA training. While not chasing keywords, Tammy enjoys reading, buying shoes, and writing articles about both RPA and SEO. Here is her LinkedIn.