My generation grew up with email. We remember passing along chain-letters hoping to see it return with a million names.

And we haven’t given up on email like many outside the Millenial generation might assume. So neither should you.

I’ll open an email newsletter if the title catches my eye. And I’ve signed up for probably hundreds…mostly connected to giveaways (still waiting to win something).

But a majority of those newsletters don’t even get a glance. Sometimes it’s not the marketer’s fault. I’ve not bothered to cancel a good chunk of the newsletters I subscribe to.

But there are times when I say “What the…?” when I read a newsletter title. These are the moments I want to speak into. The failed moments where marketers think they’re clever when they’re clearly not.

So, scroll onward and we’ll talk about how you can avoid some nasty email newsletter mistakes.

1. You Assume Everyone is a Clone

In the film Multiplicity, Micheal Keaton’s character takes an offer to clone himself. And in this film, the cloning process is more like a carbon copier or a 3D printing process. No need to wait thirty years for your clone to look like you.

But while Keaton’s clones all look like him, they all develop distinct personalities and hillarious conflict ensues.

What’s the lesson here? That even clones aren’t all the same person.

Remember this when creating e-mail newsletters. While your customers might have similar interests, not everyone is the same. Your most loyal customers are loyal for reasons your marginal customers are not.

If you try to appeal to everyone, your e-mail newsletter won’t be specific enough to capture your central audience.

Instead, target your most loyal. Those who come back again and again.

How do you specifically do this? Email tools.

Do a little shopping. The news@me email marketing tool is a great example of how you can separate out your email newsletters to target specific audiences. These tools will give both you and your readers a sense of autonomy and control.

2. Your Newsletter Makes You Seem Like as Slob

Is your desk messy or impeccable? Don’t answer that. It doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that your newsletter doesn’t look like a mad professor’s desk. Even if you can’t find a darned thing on your own desk, your customers expect to find something, anything, in your email newsletter.

But why do even the most organized people seem to have the least organized email newsletter? They don’t understand formatting.

Formatting will be your salvation when it comes to your newsletters. Why does formatting matter? Scannability.

The biggest mistake email marketers make: the wall of text.

A wall of text is virtually that. A wall filled with text.

In a wall of text, you will find no paragraphs, no headers, and certainly no pictures or graphics. It’s worse than reading a newspaper from 1865.

If one of your customers clicks on an email with a wall of text, don’t expect them to click again.

Instead, create white space.

Short sentences are O.K. And short paragraphs. You aren’t writing a book or even a letter to grandma. You want the newsletter to point at content on your actual website, not copy it.

And don’t forget pictures and graphics. It’s imperative you place them correctly.

Where should you place them? Typically above a header or next to a link.

And don’t overload your email with photos and graphics. Just as a wall of text will stave off the client, so will a college. This isn’t your 5th grade art project.

3. Your Email is Immobile

Yeah, I’m using the word immobile liberally. But most of us don’t check our email on a desktop computer or laptop anymore. We’re very mobile-centric.

And if people have to pinch and squint to even read the content in your emails, you’ve failed at the email marketing game.

While everyone knows your website needs to be mobile friendly, hardly anyone thinks about email. Responsive design isn’t just for the webmaster or the web designer. It’s for everyone.

You want every link to be clickable with a thumb. You want your text to be readable and exciting. And lastly, you want your message to be clear and concise.

4. The Font From Hell

There once was a time when fonts were something the office social coordinator used to blind the poor unfortunate souls who opened their email.

Usually, they would employ such fonts as Comic Sans and WingDings. And these were typically accompanied by rad colors such as neon green, pink, yellow, what have you.

Thanks to generous the typeface designers of the 21st century, there is no excuse for this idiocy. You can find some incredible and useful fonts for free on the internet.

And if you want colored backgrounds, you don’t have to rely on the colors in Microsoft Outlook.

5. Title Branding That Says Nothing

If I can’t tell what the email has in store from just glancing at the title, I won’t open it. And if the title doesn’t entice me, I don’t have time, sorry.

You have to demand and appeal with just one title. And that’s hard to do.

But the secret is in the brand. Remember the lessons you’ve learned about branding. Consistency, originality, and representation.

Your loyal customers subscribed to your email newsletter for a reason. You offer something of interest. And if your newsletter titles don’t include that original hook, nobody will open your email.

The second stage of email newsletter appeal can be found at the top of the email. It must immediately introduce what the letter is all about.

You can do this by including a consistent logo placement and using a consistent color scheme. And include products or content that’s central to your brand.

Everything should center around your brand or your content. Anything else is a distraction.

Conclusion: It’s Easier Than it Looks

Email newsletters aren’t rocket science. If you can organize your email content well and hook the reader from the moment they read the title, you’re golden.

Don’t forget that not all fonts are created equal, that you should create scannable content, and that it’s all about branding consistency.

If you liked this blog, check out our other marketing content.

By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.