Email marketing is a tool for promoting your business that’s easy to use and that has an excellent track record. The skills and tools required are minimal, and practically anyone can drum up more business with a well-executed email campaign. Just keep in mind that there are a few mistakes out there that can turn email marketing into more trouble than it’s worth. Here are five of the most common and most easily-avoided of those mistakes.

1. Sticking exclusively with HTML or text-only. Most modern email programs have no problems handling complex messages that take advantage of HTML formatting, CSS, images, and even multimedia content. There are still some readers who stick with bare-bones text-only email, though. With many people checking their email over low-bandwidth mobile connections, their numbers are actually growing. Don’t alienate either the text-only crowd or the HTML lovers; make usable versions of your messages for each standard. This process can even be automated, and you can use links to let individual readers set their format preference.

2. Abusing email addresses gathered for other purposes. If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve probably gathered plenty of information about your customers, often including their email addresses. Resist any temptation to simply dump customers’ contact info into your marketing list as soon as you get it. You need explicit permission from every subscriber before you start sending them marketing emails. Operating in any other fashion is a sure-fire way to burn your bridges and ensure that a potential or former customers never does business with you.

3. Thinking grammar doesn’t count in email. Opinions vary as to how careful a person should be in composing their emails. Some people want to see emails written as precisely and painstakingly as a 19th-century letter; others prefer communication at the fastest possible speed without any concern for grammar and spelling. This is not a debate that concerns private email, though. Your marketing emails are part of your professional image, and therefore need to reflect the best compositional skills you can bring to bear. Proofread every message carefully and don’t let mistakes slip through.

4. Forgetting the call to action. The “call to action” is a very basic marketing concept that’s vitally important in email marketing. All it refers to is the next step that you’re suggesting to the people who read your message. This can be a direct “buy now” sales pitch or a more subtle “learn more here” invitation. The form of your call to action will depend on the overall tone of your marketing campaign, but don’t think that you should ever send an email without one. Even a purely informative email should prod its audience to do something, like submit feedback on the included content.

5. Rehashing content or going off-message. Some email marketers stress the importance of sticking to a schedule. While it’s important to communicate with your subscribers as often as their patience will bear, don’t overreach by sending out sub-standard messages. It’s tempting to compose an email that doesn’t relate closely to your marketing campaign or to simply gussy up an old message when you’re desperate to get something in customers’ inboxes. Resist the temptation! Nobody will remember that day that your email didn’t show up; many people will remember receiving an off-message or recycled email. They won’t remember it fondly, either!

If you can avoid the missteps detailed above, you shouldn’t have any difficulty putting together an email marketing campaign that increases your business’s prominence and customer base. Common sense will point you in the right direction, but a little advance warning makes it easier to steer clear of these errors.