email pet peeves

Just Checking In: What Are People’s Biggest Email Pet Peeves


I’m just checking in to see if you know what people’s biggest email pet peeves are.

For starters, clichés such as “just checking in” or “per my last email”. But let’s take a closer look at some of the most annoying expressions that have been floating in our inboxes for years – and the alternatives that could save us.

Whether in work emails or B2B sales and marketing emails, you’ve probably encountered – and even used? – these clichés at least once.

Email pet peeves: here are the worst offenders

Email is still the no. 1 channel we use to communicate at work, according to a Perkbox study. The average worker receives 121 emails a day and some of us spend up to five hours checking and writing emails.

Our inbox is where we live and breathe at work, so how can we make it a better place? One option would be to avoid these overused formulas – if they annoy us, they certainly irritate others, as well.

email pet peeves

Top 5 worst ways to start an email

  • Not sure what greeting to use in a work email? Below you’ll find several to choose from because 53% of the people surveyed by Perkbox said emails without greetings are a turn-off.
  • To whom it may concern” comes second among people’s biggest email pet peeves. Easy to understand why: is there a most distant way to approach someone?
  • Hey” is ok if you’re emailing a friend, but in work and B2B marketing emails, it’s a no-no, 28% of people say.
  • Happy (insert day)! For example, “Happy Friday!” annoys 23% of people.
  • Greetings” – does anyone still say that in emails? 22% of the survey participants say they dislike it.
worst ways to end an email

Top 10 worst email sign-offs

  • Love” – 57% of people said it’s the worst.
  • No sign-off – 44% think it’s rude.
  • Warmly” – 31% ranked it as irritating.
  • Cheers” – 26% feel we should get rid of it – and I agree!
  • Yours truly” – 24% vote against it.
  • Yours faithfully” – 18% would rather not see it in their work inbox.
  • Talk soon” – it seems friendly, but 14% of people find it annoying.
  • Sincerely” – while it’s still popular, 12% are tired of it.
  • Best” – 12% believe it’s a cliché.
  •  “All the best” – it bothers 9% of people.

So, what does that leave us with? There are plenty of other ways to start and end an email. Here are some ideas!

„Hi” and „Kind regards” are the best

  • The best way to start an email is by saying “Hi” – 49% of people say so.
  • Kind regards” is the best way to end an email – 69% vote for it.
email best practices

Other popular greetings are “Good morning/afternoon,” “Hello,” and “Dear,” although I’ve heard many people saying “dear” has become one of their email pet peeves.

As for signing off, use “kind regards” confidently, 69% of people appreciate it. Also, consider “thanks” or “thanks again,” “regards,” “thanks in advance” or “best wishes.”

work email pet peeves

“As per my last email…”

Some clichés that have populated our inboxes for so long that they’ve become engrained in our vocabulary, as well. Below are the top 5 we should most be aware of:

  • “Just looping in…” – 37%
  • “As per my last email” – 33%
  • “Any updates on this?” – 24%
  • “Just checking in” – 19%
  • “Confirming receipt/confirming that I have received this” – 16%

Other pet peeves to stay away from are “per our conversation” and “please advise.”

email marketing pet peeves

Email marketing pet peeves

If you care about your email marketing, keeping an eye on stats is helpful. For instance, the number one reason people unsubscribe from emails is that they receive too many.

Other than that, what are the things your subscribers dislike the most? We did the research for you, so here are the most interesting email pet peeves the Adobe Consumer Email Survey has found.

Receiving irrelevant emails

When it comes to email marketing, this one is at the top of the list: 33% of the Adobe survey takers say they receive offers they’re not interested in.

To avoid this no-no, check out our articles on list segmentation and people-based marketing.

Getting offers that have already expired

Fact: 22% of the people that participated in the survey said they receive offers that have already expired.

How is that possible? We’re not going to go into that now, but one thing’s for sure: marketers will have to refine their automation techniques. Otherwise, we may see much higher unsubscribe rates this year.

Hey, Jon

Uhm… it’s actually John. Another email marketing pet peeve the survey revealed was that 17% of people get upset when marketers misspell their names.

Are you a marketer? Avoid these email pet peeves, too

  • 16% of the survey takes said they get annoyed when emails don’t render well on their mobiles.
  • 17% don’t like waiting too long for the images to load.
  • 12% said poor email design bothers them.
  • 17% dislike it when the font size is too small.
  • 8% feel disappointed when the email doesn’t include a „Buy” button.

Related: Are You Making These Email Mistakes?

Related: 5 Annoying Things Email Marketers Do

sending newsletters

How to make our email marketing better: more information, less promotion

As you can see, when it comes to marketing emails, there’s room for improvement. Listening to the people on our lists is the best place to start. Here is what the Adobe survey responders said:

There are so many factors that determine the success of an email marketing campaign. Sure, content is crucial, and keeping a nice balance of 80% information and 20% self-promotion is the way to go.

Then, if your content is the painting, your email design is the frame. It helps your email stand out, and your visuals can make you memorable.

Also, having a steady sending rhythm is important, as it keeps your IP warm and it lets Internet Service Providers know you’re a legitimate, trustworthy sender.

email list scrubbing

Does your list need a scrub?

Another factor that determines your email marketing performance is your email hygiene. Sending your emails to real people, who regularly engage with your content, is the first step to higher open and click-through rates – and ultimately, more conversions.

Check your latest reports: has your bounce rate exceeded the industry standard of 2%? Have you been getting spam complaints? When metrics like these go up, while open and click-through rates do down, run your list through an email scrubbing service.

Want to see how ZeroBounce works? Give it a try!

This post was published in October 2018 and updated in March 2020.