"Dear Customer..." 

Are there two more dreary, unimaginative and frankly dispiriting words to be greeted with in a marketing email? 

When a message from British Airways first landed in my inbox this week, things looked promising enough. 

Excited yet? Let's explore your trip to Hong Kong..."  The title was attention-grabbing and yes, it accurately referenced our upcoming family holiday. 

My interest was piqued and I opted to take a closer look.  

But, why oh why, British Airways, when you'd bothered to go to the effort of personalising the details of my upcoming holiday destination in your title, was it so difficult to address me by my actual name? 

"Dear Customer..." 

From email expectation to utter deflation in one quick click.

So what it is that makes the difference between an email marketing campaign that hits the spot and one that leaves your prospects nonplussed?

If you're after a check-list of email marketing pitfalls to avoid then HubSpot's "7 worst marketing emails you've ever seen" is a great place to start.  

Among the things it suggests you steer clear of?

Bragging about all the amazing clients you already have in your portfolio...great for you but definitely not the most persona-led of approaches. Your prospects aren't as interested in who you work with but rather how it is you can help them.

Uninspired subject lines...an interesting title can make or break an email's success. So it's definitely worth investing time - and using A/B testing - to ensure you get the best results.

Lack of personalisation...successful email marketing is all about the finer details. The "little" things (like getting your recipient's name right - or in the case of British Airways, bothering to include it at all) really could make a difference.