3 Email Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

3 Email Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When it comes to email marketing, learning how to design an email can be tricky.

Sometimes it's easier to learn from others' mistakes to learn what to avoid.

That's why I put together this handy video: Three Email Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


How to Warm an Old Email List

How to Warm an Old Email List

Whether you have an email list you've never sent to or have been on a break, it's scary to start sending emails to people who haven't heard from you in a bit.

I've got a few tips on how to warm that audience back up. Check it out!

Spam Folder Rescue: Part One

How much time have you spent wondering and trying to figure out WHY you're emails are ending up in the SPAM folder?

Well, my virtual friend, wonder no more.

I'm guiding you through the steps you need to know in order to get your emails OUT of the SPAM folder and into the inbox.

Your subscribers SUBSCRIBED to your emails for a reason. Make sure they're getting your offers and juicy content so that they will become your biggest fans.

So where do we start with getting your emails out of the SPAM folder?

The why. It always starts with the why.

Why are your emails ending up in the SPAM folder to begin with?

There are A LOT of reasons. But before we get into what those reasons are and how they might affect you, let's walk through a bit of vocab.

Email Deliverability

This term sums up what we're talking about, which is how your emails are getting delivered to the inbox.

Email Deliverability is concerned with the question: How many of your emails are making it to the inbox instead of the SPAM folder?

There are people in email marketing who ONLY specialize in deliverability. Their job is to monitor your email program and see if there are any red flags and then dig deep to figure those out.

Those experts are EXPENSIVE because it is such an in-depth field and requires a lot of technical and strategic know-how.

Don't worry. I'm breaking down this know-how into bite-sized pieces that you'll be able to implement on your own.


This term refers to permission-based marketing.

Otherwise known as: did your email subscriber ASK to receive the promotional emails you are sending to them?

And not like a winky, “Hey we met at a thing” or “I bought something from you” or “I listed my email address on my LinkedIn profile” so that means “I want to receive sales and promotional emails from you.”

Opting In means explicit consent. (Because we all know consent is sexy).

It means that someone checked a box or filled out a form that says something to the effect of “Yes, send more promotional information about your brand.”

Why does this matter?

Because if people didn't explicitly SAY they want to receive promotional emails from you, then why would they want to GET promotional emails from you?

How many times have you gotten a promotional/sales email from someone who you didn't give permission to send you those types of emails?

What was your reaction? Delight? Joy? Relief?

I'm gonna guess no.

It was probably more like, “Seriously!?”

If there was an unsubscribe at the bottom of that email, you probably hit it. If not, you probably hit the SPAM button.

How spot-on am I here? Are you getting spooked out? I thought so.

The bottom line here: Send emails to people who actually let you know they WANT them.

Sender Reputation

Everything online is tracked. Surprised? I thought not.

What does that mean for you?

The IP address you are sending your emails from is tracked. Email clients like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook look at your IP's sender reputation when they are decided where to deliver the emails you are sending out.

Remember that last bit about people opting in? When people get annoyed with you and mark your emails as SPAM, that is tracked.

It all gets tied back to the IP address your emails are being sent from.

If your IP address has a bad reputation, guess what happens? Your emails can get blocked or delivered to the SPAM folder.

Hence, Sender Reputation.

Now that we're on the same page with terms, next week we're going to talk about the WHY's of how your emails end up in the SPAM folder.

3 Ways to Know if Your Newsletter Is Working

You've been meticulously crafting your newsletters and other email campaigns. They take hours to put together.

You choose each article and piece of content carefully.

You pick the right images to go along with your message.

You are SO proud of the copy you put together.

It's all done, double-checked, tested and you got the nerve to schedule it or hit send.

Then….you wait.

Wait for what you're not sure.

The money rolling in. The knocks on your virtual door to hire you. The order numbers ticking up and up and up.

If that's you: AMAZING!

Or maybe you want your emails to start earning EVEN MORE.

MORE MONEY!!! Yes, please!

That's why we're doing this, right?

You've been pouring all of this work, dedicating all of these resources to your email campaigns, and you're just not sure if it's what your audience wants or makes them want to buy.

Don't worry. I got you on this.





target icon


Most people pay 100% attention to the open rates of their emails to understand whether or not their subscribers are still engaged and interested in their email content.

Yes, email open rates are a good barometer to judge whether or not your list is engaged, but they're not the end of the story. There are a number of factors that I've covered in other emails/blogs that determine an open rate.

So what do you pay attention to instead? Well, it depends on your goals for your email campaigns.

Most businesses do not have clearly defined goals for their campaigns, so measuring them becomes difficult.

If goals for your emails are more orders and you see a high click-through rate but no orders, then you know something fell short.

If the goals for your email campaigns are to build brand trust and visibility, then open rates would be an excellent way to measure whether or not people like your content. If your open rate stays steady, you're doing something right. If it starts to drop, then something else is going on that needs to be looked at.

list icon


Asking your audience's opinion about your brand is HUGE ask. One that needs a lot of incentive for your audience to feel compelled to let you know how they think.

That's why you see either 5 stars or 1 star reviews. People need to be motivated to take the time to write out a review. If they really LOVED the experience, they'll shout it out. If they really HATE the experience, they'll FOR SURE shout it out.

Try creating micro-surveys embedded in your content.

You can ask a question like, “How did you enjoy this?” with an image of a smiley face and an image of a frowny face.

Those faces can link to a simple landing page on your site with the words “Thanks for the feedback!” Make sure they're two different pages though. The copy can stay the same.

You can measure the success of the content by how many people clicked each link.

It's not perfect, but it'll give you a snapshot of how your content is performing.


hand paper icon


Don't take it too personally, but people will unsubscribe from your list.

It's just part of being a person in this world. People are going to float away eventually for reasons that usually have nothing to do with you.

HOWEVER, if you see a jump in the amount of people unsubscribe from your email, then it's time to take notice.

If it's more than your steady trickle, then something is up with your content.

That's your three ways of knowing if people are into your email content. The more people you have your list and the more often you send, the more you'll be able to see trends and notice when something seems out of whack. Once you have a baseline, you'll be able to see the bumps that tell you when something either worked really well or not at all.


Look back at your last 3 months worth of email campaigns. What trends do you see? Average open rate? Average clickthrough rate? Average unsubscribe rate?

3 Holiday Email Campaign Ideas

It's here! It's here! It's here!

The holidays are on us and you and your inbox are about to get STUFFED. (Get it!? Like a turkey!) Sometimes I don't know what to do with myself.

Instead of begging the Google gods for inspiration, I thought I'd throw you some ideas on how to celebrate the season in your customers' inbox.

I've seen RESULTS with these campaigns during the email cluttered season of SHOPPING, EATING and GIVING.

You've already designed, written and schedule all your holiday campaigns, right!?


If you're like most lean companies, you probably have a rough outline but haven't quite gotten to building those emails.

Don't worry about it. You have PLENTY of time.

And with these ideas, you'll have a fresh new twist to add to your copy or design.

Let's get to it, shall we?

Holiday Email Campaign Idea 1:
Show Some Gratitude on Thanksgiving

What are people doing on Thanksgiving day outside of the 30 minutes they spend at the dinner table mashing green bean casserole into their faces while trying to ignore Uncle Mike's one billionth rant about KIDS THESE DAYS?

(Also, let's face it. The sides of any Thanksgiving meal are usually the best. Give me green bean casserole, stuffing and mashed potatoes any day over turkey. CONTROVERSIAL!)

As maddening as it is, you are gonna be on your phone trying to avoid eye contact with Aunt Cheryl who's already had one too many glasses of wine and LOVES to ask you questions about what it is you actually do while pretending to know what digital marketing means.

You are not alone.

It's AWKWARD. And people will be doing everything they can to alleviate that stress.

What are they going to be doing on their phones?

Checking the social media and guess what else? THEIR EMAILS!

You are GOING to have their attention on Thanksgiving.

Use this time to show your email subscribers some gratitude.

  • Tell them what their support has meant for your business this year or the people/customers you serve.
  • Tell a story about something that was a big win for a customer or client of yours.
  • Tell them a story about a big win for your business this year.
  • Tell them that THEY are part of your success.
  • Tell them why they should care about your business.

Don't expect them to remember every detail of your brand story. Give them a reason to remember you. Make sure they know how important they are to your business.

Holiday Email Campaign Idea 2:
Make Black Friday/Cyber Monday Your Own

Every offer over the weekend after Thanksgiving is going to be about Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Do you know what OTHER BUSINESSES are going to be emailing about?




They're doing it because people are looking for deals. But when you start using the same language as everyone else, they're going to start comparing your deal or offer to everyone else's.

How do you make it different?

Brand it or Skip it.

Tell people why you're skipping out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday if you're not doing anything around it.


Name it your own thing.

How can you riff on it?

Any fun puns that go along with your brand?

Is there another color that aligns with your brand other than black? Or is black a core brand identity for you?

Play with it. People will see you stand out among EVERY subject line that will read “Black Friday”.

Holiday Email Campaign Idea 3:
Giving Tuesday

The nonprofit world lives off of Giving Tuesday. (The day after Cyber Monday).

It's a day that nonprofits can make an explicit call for donations.

Does a part of your annual sales go to giving back to your community or a cause your business supports?

Shout it out!

Is Giving Tuesday an opportunity to donate a percentage of your sales from THAT DAY ONLY to a cause that aligns with your brand and customers?

Use it as an opportunity to boost brand loyalty by showing that you care about something beautiful in this world.