I’ll keep this really simple. Whether you’re selling a product or service or doing a nurture / drip campaign, these are the two sins of email marketing for a considered purchase or elevated brand. Mistake #2 below may be controversial for mass market brands but I’m firm on it for a considered purchase or luxury / premium positioned brand. My marketing advice in general is not for $5/month products.

Two Biggest Email Marketing Mistakes

Email marketing mistake #1: Tiny or absent Unsubscribe link / button

Unsubscribe is your FRIEND.

Engaged list = higher open and click rates. Those rates are health signals for your domain (your send-from address contains your domain).

It will also make your marketing stats look better. Shrouding the Unsubscribe link or button frustrates people who want to leave your list and it’s just annoying. The link is there for a reason. It’s much better to lose a subscriber than be marked as spam.

Make it easy to unsubscribe.

Email marketing mistake #2: Buying email lists or cold emailing

Was a thing in the ’90s and early 2000s. This is not of our time, much like showing up unannounced at someone’s house according to the GIRLS “Totem of Chat”. Just for fun, gotta embed the line:

HBO GIRLS- Totem of Chat- Marnie and Hannah

Cold emailing to someone who never opted in reads as desperate and old school. It’s from the spray-and-pray advertising mentality, not the content marketing reality.

Do you really want a captive audience?

The bedrock of successful email marketing is that it’s permission-based. Get subcribers through having valuable content like a blog, social media presence, or podcast. Then you:

Make it easy for them to join your list via your website or a landing page. Here’s mine for example: emilybinder.com/email. Make the URL [your website] /email – easy to remember and share. Add it to your footer and the bottom of your blog posts.

Email sign-up form tips:
  1. You want a super simple sign-up form. Don’t ask for more than 2-3 fields of information. One is best (just the email address). You can get their name in the future with a dynamic form (available through tools like Hubspot).
  2. Set expectations about how often you’ll email (I say “about once a month”).
  3. Reduce anxiety about data protection by saying you’ll never share their data (and say it right on the form).

Email marketing tools I recommend:

mailchimp logo

Email Marketing Tool / ESP:

Mailchimp to manage your email list, templates, and campaigns: The unicorn email startup from Atlanta that Ben and Dan built from nothing. I met Dan at my friend J Cornelius’s wedding in, what was it, 2015? He was great. Cool tats. His wife and I shared our bunion struggles. Mailchimp is an impressive company. I think they really care.

(UPDATE 3/24/2024: Obviously Mailchimp was acquired by Intuit. For a reason. It’s still a great tool for ease of use. Constant Contact is a nightmare in comparison from a UX perspective. I stand by my rec.)

Good customer support, affordable plans, solid and easy to use. You can certainly get fancier with other tools but I just stick with Mailchimp. Sign up with my Mailchimp link to try a free plan and get a discount on paid plans (not sponsored).

Canva logo

Graphic Design Tool (Cloud-Based Software):

Canva: Graphic editing tool anyone can use. Great for editing images for social media, blog, podcast, audiograms, website, and more. I use it all day.

Join Canva with my link and get rewards! If you ever need to create a graphic, poster, invitation, logo, presentation – or anything that looks good — give Canva a go: https://www.canva.com/join/lemons-rhinoceros-clubs

Mini-podcast about marketing & business.
Under ~10 minutes, every week or so: