Why is My Email Marketing Campaign Failing?
5 Reasons Why Your Emails Suck and How to Fix Them

Checking emails is like doing the dishes – no one likes to do it – but it must be done. In fact, people approach the task of dealing with emails with a pre-determined goal of removal. We tend to be looking for things to delete. Armed with this piece of information, your marketing challenge is to give people a reason to pause, reflect and open the email instead of sending it to the bin folder.

#1 Spammy

  • Does your subject line appear vague or overly-familiar?




No, I didn’t…

  • Is your subject line typed in all-caps?





  • Your subject line has way too many exclamation marks !!!!!!!!
  • Does your subject line contains the words FREE and Sale?




I didn’t even have to delete this particular email, it went straight to the junk folder because it had the word FREE in the subject line.

Now be honest, are you guilty of any of these email faux-pas? Because if you are, you need to stop immediately.

You see, subject lines are important and not an afterthought that you add just before you hit send. The subject line often determines whether you email is opened and how the recipient responds. If you need help writing better subject lines? I’ve got your back! Here is THE GUIDE to writing better subject lines.

#2 Fail to Personalise

Do all of your emails start with ‘Hi there’ or ‘Hello you’? Better yet, is the first name of your recipients in a conspicuously different font or colour than the rest of your email?

If personalisation fails to happen, well that’s just pretty darn embarrassing.

Did you know that personalised emails can produce transaction rates and revenue up to six times higher than non-personalised messages? Based on data compiled in the UK, the average consumer has 260 unopened emails in their inbox, 56 of which are from brands. 60% of the people surveyed say they would open those messages if the subject line was personalised. (Source). What more proof do you need?

Personalise as much as possible. It’s easy if you are using InTouch. Simply add %FirstName% to your email content or subject line for an email experience with a personal touch. How easy is that?

InTouch#3 Don’t Optimise Email for Mobile Phones

If you choose to ignore the fact that nearly half of all emails ( or 40.1% to be precise) are opened on a smartphone and don’t mobile-optimize, you could find that your email marketing metrics fall in a slump. Your images, content, and design need to be open-ready for phones. Why? Because 69% of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimised for mobile. And I am sure you don’t want to take those chances.

Here are some quick and easy steps to optimising your emails for mobile users:

  • If you are sending images, reduce the size of the file. If the file is too big it will either not open or it will take up too much screen space.
  • Increase the size of links – if you are sending links that you would like people to click, make sure they are big enough for people to click on with their thumb. Make sure that any text links and Call-To-Action buttons are taller and wider than the rest of the copy. Also, space your links far enough from each other that there isn’t any accidental clicking.
  • Break down big chunks of text into smaller and shorter paragraphs that are easier to read on a smaller screen.

#4 Fail to Segment Your Email List

If your email marketing campaign efforts consist of the same messages being sent to all of your contacts, regardless of whether they’re long-term customers or new leads, decision-makers or money-savers, then surely you will be driving away customers and prospects. And if you email quarterly messages that are a really boring run-down of company updates, like your CEO’s vacation to Bora Bora, you’ll lose even more business. Nothing will drive your unsubscribe rate through the roof faster than incredibly irrelevant information.

The solution? Segmentation! You see, not all contacts are created equal and not all contacts need to (or in fact would like to) receive the same information. What you send to someone who has just signed up for your newsletter will most probably be irrelevant to a business partner who has been with your company for 5 or 10 years.

The classic way of segmentation is done based geography, demographic features such as age, age and gender. These however might not be the most appropriate criteria to use when slicing and dicing your list. Instead think about the different groups or clusters of people who are on your list. Those might be loyal customers, new customers, prospects, partners, suppliers etc. You can ever base your segmentation on past purchases and which particular lines of your product or services they are keen on.

Bottom line is, you have to decide what differentiator between these different clusters work for you and group people together based on it. Then send them relevant content. The more laser-focused your content is, the better results you will achieve.

Need help with segmenting your data? Head over to this page explaining how to achieve better results using segmentation.

InTouch#5 Your Content is Stale

Is your content as stale as a 2 day half full beer, as the song goes? You need to give your subscribers a reason to subscribe in the first place, and then again to keep opening your emails. It might be something like an exclusive offer or discount, but it could also be interesting content, creative flair and relevant news and insights.

Good content will supercharge your email marketing campaigns! But, surprisingly, this is where a lot of small businesses and marketers completely miss the boat when getting started with content for emails. The goal of content is to build a relationship with your prospects.

Content is a whole other subject that is more extensively covered in this post, and again in this one.

In case you are in a hurry, here are the key points:

  • Focus on the reader – You want ME to get excited. You want ME to give you my attention. You want ME to read what you wrote…and you want ME to click on your link. So why did you talk about YOU the whole time!?
  • Monitor results to see what content your readers prefer
  • Make it relevant to the reader (think about your segments), one size rarely if ever fits all.
  • Trend-jacking – It can be difficult to work current events or big news stories into carefully planned content, but it can also pay off tremendously when it comes to catching your audience’s attention. Consider current events, trending topics on social media or just ask yourself ‘what are people buzzing about these days?’. Be part of the conversation people are having.

Email marketing might be one of the most misunderstood and screwed up parts of small business marketing. Back in the heyday, when people actually looked forward to getting emails, it was easy to grab someone’s attention. But today, although still highly efficient in terms of ROI, emails are just not so glamorous for the people receiving them.

Today, there is science to be learned about how to send emails that get opened and build successful relationships. I am certain this guide will help you achieve just that!

Note to the business community: Next time you receive a spammy email, reply to it with this article so that the person who send you the email can learn to craft better emails. You are welcome!

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  1. Thats a great article! I often wonder why my emails don’t deliver the results I expect them to (maybe im being too optimistic and Ive set the bar too high for myself). Some great tips that I will be applying to my next campaign. Cheers a bunch for sharing!

    1. Thank you for the comment Parag! Glad to hear you like our latest blog post. Let us know how you get on implementing some of the recommendations we’ve outlined.

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