Why Your Email Marketing Doesn't Work (and How to Fix it)

Why Your Email Marketing Doesn't Work (and How to Fix it)
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If your email marketing strategy isn't working, you're losing money. People who buy products promoted via email marketing spend 138% more than those who don't get offers by email. And the latest statistics from the DMA show that on average, companies that use email marketing get back 30 times what they spend. If you're not getting those results, then you could be making one of these 6 mistakes.

1. Sending too many emails -- or too few

Ever subscribed to an email newsletter, only to get a half-dozen emails within the first week? We have too, and it wasn't fun.

But sending too many emails isn't the only reason your email marketing campaign isn't working. Sending too few emails is an issue, too. When people sign up for your emails, it's because they want to hear from you. If they don't, then it's not worth their while, and they might unsubscribe.

To fix this, send the right number of emails. Campaign Monitor reckons that every two weeks is the sweet spot for sending email marketing campaigns. And the Digital Marketing Association's research shows that most marketers send emails 2-3 times a week.

2. Failed audience targeting

Sometimes email marketing doesn't work because you don't fully understand your audience. It's important to know who your subscribers are and what they need at each stage of their interaction with you.

There are a few things you can do to fix this.

  • Create buyer personas so you know who you're sending emails to. Make them detailed, including their goals, values, challenges and pain points so you know how the emails you send help them.
  • Segment your email list. After the first email or couple of emails, some marketers send a survey asking subscribers to pick the kind of information they want to receive. This puts subscribers in control of the emails they get, which builds trust, and helps you understand what your audience needs.
  • Personalize. You've got data, so use it to go beyond using people's names. Litmus says this will be a big email marketing trend this year and in the future. For best results, use "progressive profiling", gathering subscriber information over time, so you can make subscribers' experience with you more relevant and personal the longer they stay with you.

3. Poor email marketing copy

Another issue that undermines your email marketing strategy is poor copy. That starts with the email subject line, because some people may not even open your email if they don't like it.

Use these high-converting email subject lines as inspiration and create a great subject line that wows your subscribers.

People also want to know who's sending the email. A no-reply return address, a generic return address or an unsigned email all scream of spammy marketing. Identify yourself by making sure the email comes from a real person. You can even include a photo.

There’s also the call to action. Email marketing CTAs can fail because there are too many of them, which leaves subscribers confused about what to click on. Fix your call to action with these tips on writing the perfect CTA.

4. Email design errors

It's also crucial for your email to look right and work for recipients, so pay attention to email design. Did you know that 71.2 percent of people delete emails that don't display well?

One of the most important fixes is making your email mobile-friendly. The Litmus report we mentioned earlier shows that more than 90 percent of all email is read on mobile devices.

If your email doesn't look good on a smartphone, you've already lost the attention of most of your subscribers.

To fix this error, check out your emails on your own mobile device or use a mobile emulator like the one built into the Chrome web browser.

The balance of images and text is also important to email design. Recently, Mailchimp recommended to follow an 80:20 text to image ration. That’s 80% text, 20% image.

5. Missing trust factors

A cardinal email marketing mistake is to forget about building trust with email subscribers. We talked earlier about the importance of including company information and having the email come from a real person.

Those are important, but there are a couple more things you can do to build trust with your subscribers, like:

  • Use a real email address as the reply address rather than a "no-reply" or generic email address. An email address with a person's name in it inspires greater trust.
  • Include social media links, so recipients can see you've got a verifiable online presence.
  • Let people know you care about privacy on your optin forms.
  • Include an unsubscribe link. Leaving it out just looks shady.

6. Lack of planning and testing

One major reason your email marketing doesn't work is a lack of strategy. Here are a few ways to solve that:

  • Plan your content, both for your blog and your email campaigns. Understanding who your audience is and what kind of content they need will help with this.
  • Create a baseline for subscriber numbers, opens, clicks, leads and sales. Then track analytics for your email marketing campaigns and adjust them as needed. That will help you figure out whether your problem is getting people to sign up in the first place or to act on the emails you send.
  • If getting signups is the issue, try split testing your optins to see if you can find a format that works better or create a lead magnet that people will find hard to resist.

We believe that, as Clifford Jones says, email marketing "works when you do it right over a long period". With the tips in this guide, you can troubleshoot and fix the reasons why your email marketing doesn't work.

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