Dump that pumpkin spice latte in the trash. Fall is for football. And what do email marketers and football players have in common? They both screw up sometimes.

Some email blunders are inevitable, but many are avoidable with preparation, practice, and follow-through. Read on to see how your email marketing mistakes would play out on the football field.

Not writing enticing subject lines…fumbling the snap

First impressions carry a lot of weight in an email. If you’re overlooking the value of a snappy subject line, you’re fumbling the snap during the first play of the first quarter. You don’t even get a chance to put your email strategy into motion because you lost the recipient—your potential customer.

Get back in the subject line game:

  • Three-word count subject lines perform the best
  • Don’t sell hard in the subject line, try to intrigue (but still give a clue about what is inside the email)
  • Test subject lines in your campaigns by segmenting emails.

Want to dive more into subject line best practices? Read up on more subject line tips here.

Not sending from a respected IP or domain…full game suspension

Football suspensions are some of the most severe punishments for football players. Same goes for the email world. If you’re not sending email from a respected IP or domain, you’re going to become a benched email marketer.  A poor sending reputation means that ISPs (Google, Yahoo, Outlook) won’t even let you engage with your recipients—no matter how good your content is.

Avoid this scenario by ensuring you understand how to check your sending reputation.

Not maintaining a clean and engaged email list…poor leadership, no team spirit

Have some pride in your email list, lead by example, and remove unengaged subscribers for the health of your email program. If you are overwhelming your recipients with email just for the sake of email, you’re going to get marked as spam or receive an influx of unsubscribes. Neither of these situations are good for your reputation, and both may have been salvageable with a better strategy.

Still feeling a bit uneasy about cutting how a large portion of your lists? Try a reengagement, down-subscribe campaign, or setting up a preference center so your recipients can decide how often and what types of email they want to receive from you.

Not proofreading emails before sending…missing the extra point

The extra point. So seemingly easy. You just kick the ball through the goal post, right? That’s the kind of arrogance that can get you into trouble. You may be the wittiest, most talented writer on your marketing team, but if you’re not having something review your email copy, one of these days you’ll send out an email with embarrassing spelling, grammar or formatting errors.

Avoid errors in your emails by:

  • Refresh yourself on writing clean email copy
  • Require a colleague or teammate to review your email before you send anything out
  • Read it again (and a couple more times more times) before pushing send

Consistent proofreading processes discipline is an easy way to avoid minor, yet embarrassing mistakes.

Stage a comeback from your email marketing mistakes

An undefeated record is nearly impossible for both football players and email marketers to achieve. Join SendGrid’s on-demand Email Marketing Mistakes webinar for more common email marketing mistakes and how to come back from them.

Don’t be hard on yourself, but set high standards in your email program. While a typo in your email may not affect you as much as poor domain reputation, the mistakes made together, or on their own, can severely hurt your credibility as a sender and negatively impact your business.

Ready to join the big leagues of email marketing? Download SendGrid’s Expert’s Guide to Email Marketing to hear from email marketing experts on how to build standout email programs within your organization.


Kelsey Bernius
As a senior content marketing manager at SendGrid, Kelsey oversees the SendGrid Delivery blog. Her downtime is dominated by either her mountain bike or skis (depending on current weather forecast)–and mixing up a salty marg afterward.