Stensul raises $34.5m in Series C funding

The Scariest Email Marketing Fails

Happy Halloween everyone! To celebrate this most terrifying of holidays, here’s a few email marketing fails that’ll have you running for the hills.

It’s always scary to hit send and hope that your multiple rounds of QA caught every single mistake.

Whether it’s a small spelling error or one of the big, glaring mistakes below, we can all relate to these forehead-slapping moments.

And it’s not just errors within emails that you’ve got to look out for. One of our lovely customer success representatives, Kelly Dynan, remembers a time when she unsubscribed from an email and the confirmation showed that she was unsubscribed from a list labeled, “Annoying people who don’t open our emails.”

Be a treat, not a trick, and learn from these spooky tales of email marketing fails.

Double, double, toil, and trouble (but no double checking)

Image by rawpixel on Unsplash

I think we can all agree that the subject line of an email is a pretty critical component.

We’ve all probably been guilty of writing a clickbait-y subject line or two to boost those all-important open rates.

Unfortunately, Topman took that to a whole new level when it blasted an email to thousands of subscribers with the subject line, “Insert Clickbait Title.”

Avoid gaffes like these with rigorous QA at each stage and a strict approvals process.

Tis’ always the season for timeliness

Image by Farago Tudor Andrei on Unsplash

While it may not be time for presents just yet, we’ve always got time for a holiday season pun.

The timeliness (or lack thereof) of a marketing campaign can make or break it. Keep the season, current political climate, market conditions, and national news in mind when implementing any campaign. We all remember the Kendall Jenner/Pepsi ad fail of 2017, so let’s avoid that in the future.

An email marketing campaign that was unfortunately sent at the wrong time was a 2017 campaign by Airbnb.

This “floating world” email featured water-themed houses and phrases like “stay above water,” and “live the life aquatic with these floating homes.”

The only problem was that it was sent in August, 2017, when Hurricane Harvey was decimating Houston.

Remember, it’s always important to consider what current national, environmental, political, or cultural factors could potentially influence the message and tone of your email campaigns.

Trick or treat, but not in the baby aisle

Image by Lydia Winters on Unsplash

Oh baby, these campaigns were big whoopsies.

Shutterfly sent an email out to a large group of customers congratulating them on their new arrival and encouraging the new parents to order thank you cards that “matches your birth announcement.”

The email was intended for new parents who’d recently made baby-related purchases on Shutterfly but it was blasted out to the masses instead.

Amazon made a similar mistake in 2017 when it sent an email to some customers informing them that someone had recently made a purchase from their baby registry. The only snag was that these customers didn’t have a baby registry, or a baby on the way.

Terrifyingly tone deaf

Image by Beth Teutschmann on Unsplash

After finishing the grueling Boston Marathon in 2017, participants were sent a congratulatory email from race sponsor, Adidas.

The subject line stated, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!”

Understandably, many finishers took issue with the message and Adidas promptly apologized.

Cultural sensitivity is critical in any marketing campaign, so ensure your emails are examined through this lens as well.

Reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and share your #scariestemailfail.

Ready to see Stensul?

Recent Blog Posts