If the thought of using emails to sell intimidates you, don’t worry. The good news is that if you screw up email marketing, you’re in good company.

You can even get decent results if you make these mistakes, apparently. I wouldn’t know – I was lucky enough to receive some excellent training before I started dabbling.

Even without this training, I like to think I’d avoid some of these. The biggest screw-ups seem obvious to me. Based on what pollutes my inbox (temporarily, before I race towards the unsubscribe link), even some experts need a little schooling on this.

Don’t think of this as a rant. Think of it as a list of things to avoid doing.

The first thing is to make sure your name makes sense.

Yes, this is advice that I need to give apparently. Again, some digital marketing experts get this wrong. But your emails should clearly be from you (if you want to be personable) or your company’s name (if you want your brand to shine).

Many people say you should never use your company’s name as your email’s name. I think ‘never’ is a little strong, but it’s not bad advice. If you’re unsure, go for the personal touch.

But when I talk about your name, I mean your full name. Somewhere along the line, I subscribed to something and started receiving emails from ‘Jack’.

Yes, that was their name.

Jack who? Am I supposed to know who ‘Jack’ is?

Is everybody?

If people on your email list have no idea who’s emailing them, guess what? They’ll mark you as spam and hit unsubscribe. Your hard work attracting them ended up hurting you.

Not smart.

The second thing is to never send an email you wouldn’t love to read. If your email is nothing but a naked sales pitch, it better be a darn entertaining one. People aren’t going to install adblockers on their browsers and then welcome ads into their inboxes.

Now, that’s not to say you never sell to your list. You’re a business, after all. The whole point of having a list is for selling.

But be smart about it. When you email them, include a story, a useful bit of trivia or some practical advice. Add value to their day. Make them feel happy that they chose to subscribe to you. Then, somewhere in that valuable little email, put a link or two to something you’re selling.

If you do both of these things, you train your list to like you. They’ll see your name and know that you’re sharing something great. If they’re in a buying mood, they’ll buy. If not, you haven’t wasted their time.

I see other common mistakes out there. Certainly more than I should. I can’t imagine how much money they cost them.

Bypass these and it’s like finding a shortcut towards money and influence.

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