There’s an abundance of tips, advice and strategies for improving your email marketing campaign available online, from how to build a rock-solid recipient list to creative ways you can strengthen the visual impact of your email content. However, before you even think about implementing any of these tips, you need to know the crucial pitfalls to avoid.

First time sending out an email campaign? Always bear these, the three biggest ‘nos’ in email marketing, in mind – in fact, write them down and stick them to your computer screen!

Not giving recipients the option to opt out. Not only is this incredibly irritating for recipients who, for whatever reason, don’t want to receive your emails, but it’s also against the law. Current legislation states that brands must make it easy for customers to opt out of receiving your newsletters and other emails if they want to – with an easy link to unsubscribe. Another big mistake that could fall foul of the law is to email recipients without permission – this is spamming and it will do you no favors at all. Combine the two – emailing without permission and not giving recipients an easy way to opt out – and you could be in for a world of trouble, not to mention massively annoying the people you email.

Sending too many emails. The most effective frequency for email marketing campaigns can be a tricky thing to judge, but you must be very careful not to overdo it. According to a 2013 study, published on this useful Betaout blog, around 34% of consumers named high frequency of emails as the main reason for unsubscribing from a company’s email list. Send lots of emails every week and they will be simply ignored, deleted or worse – marked as spam. Either your emails in their inbox will be so familiar that recipients simply stop seeing them, or you’ll turn potential customers against your brand by annoying them. You want your emails to be a pleasant surprise, something to look forward to – so keep it down to no more than one a week.

Not segmenting or targeting your emails. So many brands think that all email marketing comes down to is sending out wave after wave of the same content to every subscriber on an enormous list. The fact of the matter is that if your emails aren’t relevant to a recipient, they will ignore or delete them. This is why you absolutely must make some effort at personalization. Start by segmenting your recipient list, sending out slightly different emails targeted to different groups (i.e. people of a similar age, previous customers, recipients in a certain profession or household wealth bracket, or people in a particular location). You can also use content automation to tailor your emails to the recipient, which requires a bit of skill and know-how but nowhere near as much time as personally crafting each email yourself. Recipients will appreciate it, meaning your emails are opened more often and hopefully, lead to click-throughs, conversions and sales.

Now you’re aware of some of the biggest ‘nos’ in email marketing, you will be able to avoid them and be in a much better position to deliver an effective and valuable email marketing campaign.