Email Marketing Mistakes – CASE STUDY


The Company

The company XYZ is a successful furniture retailer. They have been in their line of business for 10 years, having opened their first store in 2003. Since 2003 the company has managed to grow their success and now manage 20 stores nationwide. They are now a big name in their field and well respected by customers and competitors alike. The companies vision is to become the country’s leading furniture retailer and specialists and have now branched the business out, offering an online store and home delivery service. The company recently began running an aggressive online marketing campaign in order to build up their virtual and physical presence to the number one spot.

The Problem

Email marketing is a key component of their online marketing strategy and quite rightly so. The potential ROI alone that the company could potentially gain from their email marketing efforts will at least ensure financial gain, if nothing else. However, the company also wishes to expand their name and consolidate their customer base, turning their clients into dedicated, long-term customers. So far, their efforts have been going to waste. A recent email was sent out by the company, details as follows:


  • Time sent: 10.00am
  • Amount sent: 92,150
  • Subject line: Offer Not To Be Missed
  • Content: Special offer of 20% discount off any purchase made before midnight, including sale items. The content included special offers now available on the site / the coupon code (at the bottom of the page) / call to action (‘Go Shopping’ button) located next to the coupon code at the bottom of the page / 2 images displayed on the right hand side of the mail, filling the whole right column of the page / one whole paragraph of text on the left hand side of the page offering in-depth detail of the offer, when it’s validity period, best selling products and current sale.
  • Target Audience: UK / Mostly professionals aged 25-50 / Majority of receivers female


  • Open rate: 450
  • Click Through: 95
  • Time Span: 10 hours

It is clear that the campaign was unsuccessful. The company have a large and organic email list that they have spent a lot of time and effort on accumulating. The company are lucky in the sense that all the emails have been accumulated through ‘ Opt-In Marketing ‘ methods and each and every single person on the list has something to do with the company, be it through a previous transaction or a site / product inquiry. There are a number of things that the company must look at in order to resolve this issue.


It is vital that the company take another look at the techniques used during this campaign and resolve the problem urgently, otherwise the likelihood of increasing ROI will be slim and all efforts will go to waste. In the worst case, the company could lose custom from their mistakes, if the company are not following the correct ‘guidelines’ of formatting and content creation as necessary, their mail will soon start being spammed. If their clients become bombarded or ‘bored’, their message will never get across.

After closer inspection of the email that was sent out and the above details complementary of their email service provider, the following mistakes became clear:

TIME – Quite simply the email was sent at the wrong time. Based on the majority of their clients details, 11am was not an appropriate time for the email to be sent. Most of their users will most likely have been in work at this time. According to the professions, age groups and gender of the receivers, the best time for this email to be sent would have been between 8.00 am – 10.00 am, or in the afternoon between 3.00pm – 5.00pm. The company must bear in mind here what their target audience is most likely to be doing at the specified time they have given. Will they be able to access their email? It is claimed that email that are opened within 60 minutes of being sent have the best response. By the time most of their clients would have finished work and re-opened their personal mail, the company’s email will have gotten lost in the inbox, after 24 hours, the chances of the email being seen or open are zero to none.

HEADLINE – The company did not give enough thought to their headline. Everyday, thousands upon thousands of companies send out promotional emails to their clients, fighting against all their competitors for the user’s custom. In order to stand out, XYZ should have used a more catchy headline. Granted, it was to the point, but not unique enough. The company had to think of their intended audience more, their headline was their one and only chance to connect. Due to the type of product they sell, it is highly unlikely that all readers are looking to buy furniture right now. Seeing the company name and the headline, most people will have shunned the email off, saying o themselves that they are not looking for furniture right now. In order for the open rate to have been increased in this instance, the headline should have been less generic and much more engaging.

CONTENT – XYZ made another fatal error when inputting the content into the email. The first mistake they made was that their call to action button and coupon were at the bottom of the page. The content should have been more clear and encouraging. The company included far too much text in their email, they did not consider the fact that most people will quickly flick through their mail and are immediately put off by long, drawn out paragraphs of text. The few words that would have been chosen should have been put right next to the call to action button, and should have tempted an immediate call to action. It is also highly likely that most people opened their email on a mobile or even tablet. XYZ should have opened the mail on a mobile before it was sent to see how the message was displayed. Due to the placement of the images, the customer was merely faced with a black of boring text, this will immediately have put the customer off reading more. This, will have caused most to miss the coupon and call to action.


It is possible for XYZ to turn their efforts around, but they must work on their technique. XYZ are privileged in the sense that they are well known and have a solid and valuable mailing list. Their email marketing campaign will succeed and afford them the results they want if they take the time and offer the attention that is much needed. Once all the above solutions are followed, the engagement they will receive will work hand in hand with their other marketing efforts to increase brand awareness for their services and products. Followers of XYZ, if pushed in the right direction through correct and effective email marketing strategies, will share and promote the company’s content. When all these practices are put into place, content engagement and sharing through social media and other marketing platforms will be a natural result.

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