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Six reasons why your email marketing campaign is failing

In the midst of the rise of social media and mobile marketing, email marketing still continues to rake-in an impressive ROI, but that doesn’t make it any easier to get right.

Eye catching, relevant content, SPAM filters, deliverability, design and rendering are just a few of the aspects that marketers need to give serious consideration to when compiling an email campaign. When it’s done right, the rewards speak for themselves.

When it goes wrong though, your campaign could land up looking more like a Picasso Cubism painting (in a junk folder) than an example of fine email design.

It’s a frustrating scenario and if you keep finding yourself in this position, then you need to take a step back and start looking at why your email campaigns aren’t delivering the results you’re aiming for.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of six of the most common reasons why your email campaign is failing.

You’ve bought your list
Don’t be fooled, the list of “targeted” email addresses that you bought are anything but, and they are often full of spam traps. Added to this, if the list isn’t targeted or segmented, most of the content you have lined up won’t be relevant, which means readers will simply ignore, delete or unsubscribe from your email newsletters. Worse still, there’s a good chance they’ll also report you for sending spam.

It may be time consuming (although when is developing and maintaining an online relationship not), but at the end of the day if you’re serious about what you want to achieve, then you’re going to have to build your list from scratch. It really is the only way to ensure that the people on it are 100% interested in your company and what you offer.

Your subject line isn’t compelling enough
I’m pretty sure entire books have been written on subject lines, but it’s not without reason, they cause serious grief for both marketers and subscribers alike. The bottom line is you need to keep it short (an absolute max of 50 characters, ideally 35), keep it clear of “spammy” words such as “free”, “win”, “offer”. More importantly it needs to convey exactly what is in the body of the email, otherwise it can be misleading. You can read more about creating winning subject lines here and have a look at some good and bad examples here.

Your landing page and call to action aren’t optimised
These need to tie in directly with the offer and link from your email campaign. It might seem obvious but I’ve seen one too many links that take you to the home page of a company, which means subscribers get distracted or they simply can’t be bothered to navigate the site to where they need to be to purchase the product (or perform whatever conversion it is you want them to). Similarly, your call-to-action is also really important here and you basically need to tell your readers exactly what it is you want them to do.

You’re not testing (or you’re not testing enough)
A/B split testing can be used on all elements of your campaign, including subject lines, body content, call-to-action, landing pages, background images and colours. It’s a hugely valuable and vital tool and all good email marketing systems should include this option. It’s really easy to perform an A/B split test and once a ‘winning’ combination has been determined, anything tested against this becomes known as champion/challenger, so you always know which option performs the best.

Your content isn’t relevant
This goes back to having a list that is targeted and segmented. Get that right and it will make delivering relevant, interesting content much easier. Long gone are the days when all your subscribers received the same email. Now, marketers are armed with subscriber data that tells them you are a 30 year old professional female who lives in Cape Town and loves travelling, fast cars, cooking and cocktail bars. Knowing all that, how can you not offer them what they want?

Your campaigns aren’t reaching your subscribers inbox
Sometimes, even your best intended email campaigns get blocked by spam filters and ISP’s. First up, if you don’t have your subscriber’s explicit permission then the chances of your email reaching their inbox isn’t that high. You can better your chances by using a double opt-in process and asking your subscribers to ‘add this email address to your contacts’. You also need to make sure that you’re consistent with the days you send your emails as well as making sure you always use the same ‘from’ name and address. Here, consistency is key.

While these aren’t the only obstacles that might be blocking your path to email marketing domination, they are some of the most important factors that you need to keep on top of. Navigate your way through these and you should start seeing better overall results in your metrics.

Author | Georgia Christian

Georgia Christian
Georgia Christian is a digital marketing specialist at web development, design and digital marketing company Lima Bean. You can follow them on Twitter @limabeansa. More
  • Anonymous

    One of the curses of email marketing is getting consistent rendering across the many mail clients. Also, it’s important to note that MANY people access their emails from their phones first before even checking it on their PC. If it doesn’t render well on a mobile device, then chances are they’re not gonna bother reading it on PC.

    Thanks for this article though, much appreciated.

  • Hi,  

    For sure deliverability and rendering correctly across all email clients is a daily frustration. Inevitably, there will be a subscriber who gets the dud version of your campaign, despite all your testing. As for mobile email marketing, it’s exciting times and stats confirm what we already know, that more and more subscribers are accessing their email via a mobile device. Email design in terms of this is also churning ahead and marketers are dedicating a lot of time and resource to ensure that rendering on mobile devices is a priority. Thanks for the feedback.  

  • Knowing your email analytics will give you idea if your email campaigns are progressing or not. The data it produces will give you a better understanding of what is happening in your campaign.

  • Knowing your email analytics will give you idea if your email campaigns are progressing or not. The data it produces will give you a better understanding of what is happening in your campaign. 

  • These are several important issues to aware about.  Another email marketing tip is to specify your customers who might be interested in a product depending on where they live, by segmenting your list.

  • jezebel

    “You can read more about creating winning subject lines here ” – “here” goes nowhere. 

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