Apple’s iPhone4 marketing campaign succeeded wildly when former CEO Steve Jobs personally responded to customers via e-mail. Apple was able to make a huge splash with that marketing move, which undoubtedly increased their sales. It’s no surprise, however, that huge companies such as Apple use e-mail lists to further propel their products forward – email lists can be extremely powerful tools when used correctly. However, when used incorrectly, they can be useless – even harmful. So are you taking advantage of your list? Or are you sucking the life out of it like a vampire? Unfortunately for you, vampires are not immortal in the world of Internet marketing – quite the opposite, actually. Here are some missteps you can avoid so that you can harness the full power of your e-mail list.

1. You Sold Out

Rather than taking the time to build up your e-mail list organically, you thought it would be a better idea to buy a list instead. But here’s the problem: not only do you not have permission from those people to contact them, but you also can’t fully know what their interests are either. In short, buying e-mail lists is a bad idea and a waste of money – kind of like buying a bunch of vampire costumes, just because they are on sale after Halloween (you might as well do this though if you bought your e-mail list).

You will never be able to launch and sustain a successful e-mail marketing campaign if you don’t know specifics about the people you are trying to connect with. What is their age group? Where do they live? What is their interest level in your product or service? You’d be able to much more easily answer these vital questions if you took the time to build your e-mail list naturally – this type of information can’t be bought.

2. You Use Your Personal E-mail Address

What’s wrong with using your Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail account? Well, the main issue here is that using any of those personal e-mails automatically makes you look like a rookie. In other words, sending e-mails from your personal account is unprofessional, and that is a hard label to shake.

If you run your own business, take the time to set up a company e-mail that uses your domain name. This simple step will convince visitors, competitors and peers that you mean business, and obviously, that’s the type of impression you want to make. For example, which email address seems more professional to you:


3. You Are Inconsistent

While it will take some research and practice to determine what the ideal schedule is for sending out e-mails, sending out one per day followed by one per month isn’t a good idea.

Appearing inconsistent is another unprofessional impression that you don’t want to make. Establish a consistent rhythm and monitor how your recipients respond. If you think you could achieve better results with a different schedule, change your routine and monitor the new response rate. Compare both results and learn what works best for you. If you’re having trouble with this, consider using software such as AWeber to help you out.

4. There’s No Call to Action

Why are you e-mailing your potential customers? If you don’t know why or can’t figure out what your call to action is, perhaps you shouldn’t be e-mailing anyone. Each e-mail you send should have a purpose. Try touting your services with a new promotion or letting people know about some exiting new features on your site. (Hey, maybe somebody will buy those old vampire costumes at a discount.)

Basically, sending e-mails that don’t explicitly ask your readers to complete a sale or perform some type of action are lost opportunities. If you aren’t clear about what you want your e-mails to accomplish, your readers won’t be clear about what they’re supposed to do. Make sure your e-mails always have a goal, whether it’s to get potential customers to your homepage or to get them to convert on a sale.

If you are able to sidestep these don’ts and instead research and utilize some e-mail marketing best practices, you will be making a smart investment in your business. Stop sucking the life out of your e-mail list – use it enhance your business, not drain it.


  1. Matt


    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.Any way Ill be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  2. Maria Pavel


    Having your own personal email address is very important cause it’s more convincing than accounts from free email providers. The more personal an email is and the more convincing for the readers.

  3. Iana


    The finest way method to get the mainly of e-mail list is to provide people an assessment by sending them useful article.After you gain their trust you can begin your business without elaboration it.

  4. Jesse Winner


    Such a great advice! 🙂 I’m not a fan of buying email lists as well, I think it’s a bit going over the line. We really should take the time to develop our own lists, how difficult that may be. Because it’s going to be worth it once we’ve build a good trust on everyone in that list, it will benefit us greatly.

    Awesome guest post!

  5. J.Clinton


    Good for iPhone4,e-mail works on them. For me, e-mail marketing is not ideal for business.I’d tried it and it sucks! I would not waste my time reading and writing messages with blur result.But the point is,customer service is a big factor to ensure your business. Giving them the best means getting more and more loyal customers = good income.

  6. Mahendra


    First of all we need reason to have email list, we should know we have to provide to subscribers

  7. greenwatch


    You must have clear vision what you actually wants from reader to do when they see and read your email.
    thanks for posting.

  8. Scott


    I’m taking a huge risk here of looking like a moron, but did Steve really not send those emails, or what is the story on that?

  9. Aaron


    I haven’t tried email marketing personally as yet. But one thing is sure whenever you send your email, you must have clear vision what you actually wants from reader to do when they see and read your email. This is what makes a successful email marketing so you must clear about your goal before shooting your email.

    • Sara


      I agree Aaron! Definitely try out the personality aspect of it and let us know how it goes!

      Thank you for the comment!

  10. Reply

    What about sending an email to those your list just to say ‘hi’ – i.e. add a personal flair, to let them know you’re not a robot. I received one such marketing email and it actually kept me from marking it as spam.

    • Sara


      Definitely Kelli, I agree. Personality is huge in email. Email is a good platform for personality too, since you have so many options in Aweber for using first names and signatures and such.

      Thanks for the comment!

  11. Raj


    I agree with the first three points, but on the fourth point I have something to comment. I guess, its fine to send occasional emails without any sales pitches because customers might not like every email to have a call for action. I guess a good mix of informational emails as well as call for action emails might be better.

    • Sara


      My reasoning for every email having a CTA is so that they have to take an action every email. It doesn’t have to be a CTA that leads to a commission. It can be as simple as a CTA saying, ‘check out my post on my blog.’ It more or less primes your costumers for when you do have a CTA that will make you money — it should help you get more clicks.

      Thank you for the comment 🙂

  12. Reply

    Well I haven’t done much with my mailing list but emailing them every now and then… I really want to focus more on my mailing list and getting more people to subscribe. Thanks for the lovely post 🙂

    • Sara


      Yeah, I’ve slacked some on my mailing list too, but when I do send out an email the response is huge! However, if I do wait too long, I notice that I get a lot of unsubscribes as well.

      Thanks for letting me submit this post, Kharim!

  13. Marketing Philosophy


    For me the best way to get the most of an e-mail list is to give people value by sending them informative articles and free giveaways, this will make people want to read every email you send. After you win their trust you can start promoting your business or products without overdoing it…

    Kostas | Opportunities Planet

    • Sara


      Hi Kostas,

      I agree 100% — that’s definitely the best way to do it.

      Thank you for your comment!

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