30-Second Summary:

  • Strategy isn’t always the reason email marketing campaigns fall short.
  • There are several reasons why an email marketing campaign might not be working. The most common are email deliverability, lack of objectives, not using audience insights, poorly written content, unpleasant email design, and no personalization.
  • Ninety-one percent of consumers prefer relevant, personalized messages.
  • Ninety percent of people dislike un-personalized content.
  • Email remains the most affordable and effective method of engaging consumers. Read on to discover how you can boost your email marketing outcomes.

Is your email marketing campaign falling short of expectations? In many cases, the overall strategy is the problem, but that’s not always the case. There are several possible reasons why email marketing campaigns fail. However, it’s never because email marketing isn’t effective. Email is the most reliable and effective method brands use to communicate with consumers and drive sales.

Let’s look at several possible reasons why your email marketing campaign isn’t working and what you can do about it.

1. Your email isn’t reaching the inbox

Deliverability is the most likely reason your email campaigns aren’t working. While email has massive potential, a healthy ROI is only possible if enough people receive your emails. All efforts are wasted if the target audience never opens or sees your messages.

So how do you ensure deliverability?

Well, you need good email marketing software. Great solutions tend to have features or measures in place that promote email deliverability. For example, Constant Contact has strong measures to maintain a high deliverability rate – the platform averages at a 97 percent deliverability.

Every business should track email deliverability and maintain a reasonable rate. A straightforward way to boost your deliverability rate is by using double opt-in for subscriptions. That should ensure you’re getting real people on your contact list.

2. Lack of Objectives

What do you want to accomplish with email marketing? Email marketing success is heavily dependent on setting goals that align with business and consumer priorities – and following through with those objectives. Goals provide a roadmap that you can revisit to ensure your business remains on track.

To set goals, choose a goal-setting framework that works for you, such as SMART or BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals). However, one of the most successful to date is OKR (Objectives and Key Results).

  • Objectives: That’s the desired outcomes you want or where you intend to go.
  • Key results: The measurable things that’ll ensure you’re on track towards reaching your goals.

For example, your objective could be revenue growth, and your key results might be to generate an additional 10 million in revenue. Once the objective and key result are set, all that’s left is putting together the initiatives to help you archive the desired outcome.

You can probably see how the OKR framework offers a bit more clarity. Start with realistically attainable objectives and once those are met, modify objectives or key results, leveling up target milestones.

3. You’re not using audience insights

One way to increase your email marketing ROI is to lean on audience insights. Data can provide valuable information about your target audience that you can use to send more relevant and engaging communications. Non-targeted email campaigns won’t achieve desired outcomes, no matter how many messages you send daily.

So comb through your analytics. In other words, do your homework to understand who your target customers are – their needs, demographics, and psychographics.

Some beneficial insights to investigate include:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Education level
  • Purchase history
  • Browsing history
  • Gender
  • Relationship status
  • Unique interests
  • Purchasing power

You can also garner insights directly from consumers by asking the right questions. For example, a restaurant can email customers for feedback on a menu item it wants to remove. Consumers generally don’t mind giving opinions.

3. Poorly written content

Even the best-designed emails will fail if the content is poorly written. That’s why it’s crucial to skillfully write every email and content you share, including the content on your website and various places on the web.

Here are the main things to get right with email marketing content.

  • Ensure your subject lines are well-crafted. The subject line should grab the reader’s attention, so use the right words. Some words or word combinations work better than others at sparking interest, such as “get,” “go,” “upgrade,” “increase,” “back in stock,” “brand new,” “deals,” “available now,” “today only,” etc. The best subject lines have one of three things: the promise of value, an implied instant gratification, or curiosity.
  • Keep emails short. Nowadays, people generally don’t have the time or patience to read long messages.
  • Use bullet points and headings to break down the content. That will make it easier for users to digest, especially for texts over 150 words.
  • Write concisely, mind your tone, and ensure every email is relevant.
  • Craft an enticing preheader text or email preview text. That refers to the text that comes after the subject line in many email clients. If you’re using an email marketing platform like Benchmark, which has a preview text feature, you can set the text. Otherwise, the system will automatically use the first few sentences in your email as the preview text.
  • Highlight your call-to-action buttons so the next steps are clear.
  • Keep emojis and exclamations to a minimum. These things can be misconstrued.
  • Use a spell checker. While that sounds like common sense, it’s something many overlook.
  • Use quality imagery, but sparingly. Mobile users have limited bandwidths.

Consider hiring professional copywriters if you don’t have some on your team already.

4. Lacking good email design

Good design can provide the motivation users need to read your emails. So you should have a selection of attractive email templates, each appealing to the target audience. Everything from element placements, pictures, colors, CTA, and other elements should belong. Nothing should feel forced or out of place.

Additionally, more emails are read on mobile today, so your email templates must be responsive or compatible with mobile devices. Modern email marketing platforms usually have tons of easily customizable and responsive templates you can use. So you shouldn’t have to hire web developers to build custom templates.

For example, Sendinblue has 60+ responsive marketing templates, and all are customizable via a drag-and-drop editor. The software is one of the most remarkable in its class.

5. No personalization

Most marketers know that email personalization can boost engagement.

According to Accenture, people (91 percent) are more likely to shop with companies when recommendations and offers are personally relevant. Another report by Statista revealed that 90 percent of US consumers find un-personalized messages annoying.

While there are numerous ways to approach personalization, the easiest and most time-efficient is to divide contacts into segments. For instance, you can ask users about preferred content during the subscription. That way, you’ll know exactly the kinds of material to send each segment.

Further, referring to someone by name is simple but highly effective. When collecting email addresses, consider asking for the first name of the prospect.

“A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – From the Book, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Email is still the champ

Email remains the most effective way of engaging consumers. However, as discussed, there are many possible reasons why campaigns fall short of expectations. The most common ones are email deliverability, lack of objectives, personalization, audience insights, and sub-par email design.

Other notable reasons campaigns fail worth noting include email frequency and timing. People receive loads of unwanted emails, and life’s busy – your messages should arrive at the most suitable times. Consider all the potential reasons discussed here as you re-structure or adjust your email marketing campaigns for maximum results.