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Seven Deadly Email Marketing Sins, and How to Avoid Them

by James Duval  |  
January 11, 2013

Several people have compared my obsession with refining ROI and open rates to a religion, so I took the logical next step and identified the sinful motivations behind seven common email marketing traps.

The deadly sins according to Christianity are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. All of those seven sins can prove tempting to the email marketer in a hurry, and they can have a seriously negative impact.

If you're interested in optimizing your campaigns at all, you'll steer well clear of the following email marketing sins...

1. Pride

All the results of your most recent email campaign are an enormous success—not just good, but better than anything you've ever done before!


For me, incredibly good statistics are just as much a warning sign as incredibly bad statistics. Your first instinct must always be to take a closer look at what's going on, and then relate to each other all the statistics you're seeing... Are those phenomenal open rates also translating into click-throughs? Are those click-throughs translating into conversions? (And so on.)

Pride in your work is great, but remember that software and people can both act in some very odd ways. Be sure to track every anomalous result to its source before you break out the champagne.

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James Duval is a technology and business expert for GKBC and a freelance journalist.

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  • by Justine Mon Jan 14, 2013 via web

    Using a classic methodology to emphasize the harmful habits of email marketing is clever. Way to go Mr. Duval!

  • by James Duval Wed Jan 16, 2013 via web

    Thanks very much Justine! I think that the implied point you make is correct. These are *habits* rather than conscious mistakes, and we need to make a real effort to stay out of them.

    Cheers for the comment!

  • by Donna Williams Mon Jan 21, 2013 via web

    Hi James

    I really loved the quirky nature of this article and couldn't agree more! I too, have been known as an ROI obsessive but my feeling is that with a media that can be tested and improved upon in so many different areas, why wouldn't you be?!

  • by James Duval Mon Jan 28, 2013 via web

    Absolutely! I can't think of another medium where the ROI is so easy to measure, and where so many metrics are available, I'd be kicking myself if I didn't measure every conceivable variable I could...

  • by Toby Marshall Tue Jan 29, 2013 via web

    Great email marketing analogy, James! Itís very important for businesses to take note of these ďsinsĒ so that they donít make those mistakes, regardless if they are a B2C or a B2B!

  • by James Duval Wed Jan 30, 2013 via web


    I think I was mostly considering the B2C angle when writing this, because with those I have experience on both sides of the equation. The differences between B2B & B2C email marketing campaigns are mostly of scale and of degree rather than of type, in my opinion - but my B2B marketing friends often disagree with me here.

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