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4 Examples of Bad Email Marketing & How to Avoid Them

4 Examples of Bad Email Marketing & How to Avoid Them

If you’re a marketer or interested in email marketing for your business sometimes it’s better to know what-not-to-do before you begin building your strategy. I have found 4 prime examples of email marketing disasters to help you avoid creating something memorable to your audience for all the wrong reasons. Take a look, leave me a comment to let me know what you think and give us a shout if you’re interested in a solid email marketing campaign for your brand or business.

1. Shame on you JC Penny. The email subject line below reads “Open To Confirm! Everything You need For Easter” – what am I confirming again? This is a cheap trick and a sneaky way to con readers into opening and scanning your email. Unless there is a legitimate call to action, don’t include one! Do no make one up just to get your email opened. Readers will find this dishonest behavior and quickly be in search for the unsubscribe button.


2. This one was a real attention getter – this email from Overstock.com arrived a full week after President’s Day! Also, it’s offering 12% off, that’s a very different strategy… and different isn’t a good thing in this situation. Most consumers won’t be impressed by only a 12% savings. Overstock may need to reconsider their promotional strategy and take a break from email marketing until they can get it right!


3. Don’t forget the minor details. Mattel had a great idea for this email campaign – “Don’t forget the kiddos on Valentine’s Day!” However, they missed the boat on their attention to detail. There is no link to view the email with images, who wants to read quotes without an image to relate to. Also, the copyright date in the footer text is still 2012; granted February is only the 2nd month in the year but still, email marketers always have to be ahead of the curve on fine details like this.


4. Express earns points for creativity on this one but that’s about it! On February 9, 2013, Express sent this email broadcast with the headline reading “Bad weather on the East Coast means FREE Shipping for EVERYONE on orders of $125 or more!” – are we that desperate for a reason to have a sale?! Express usually does a nice job but somehow they screwed up big time with this one. Don’t capitalize on natural disasters or nationwide tragedies as an opportunity to market your brand, products, services or promotions. It sends bad vibes and shows just how insensitive you are as a marketer.



Forthea’s mission is dedicated to helping clients achieve their full potential online through superior marketing that’s delivered with unsurpassed customer service and professionalism.


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