Email Marketing Failure Reasons

8 common reasons why email marketing fails


The other day I accepted a LinkedIn request from a young lady to connect. A short while later I got a prospecting email in my inbox from her. Apart from the bad English grammar, what struck me was the fact that the young lady had ignored all fundamentals of effective email marketing in reaching out to me.

While email marketing is today the best way to reach out and prospect, most times people get it wrong and as a result their email marketing deliver very low conversions. Here are some classic common mistakes to avoid when using email marketing as your marketing tool

  1. Do you know who I am?

We are daily inundated with a dozen or more spam mails offering everything from Viagra to a home in the sun. The ones that make it past my spam filter I simply delete without opening. Knowing who your prospect customer is and sending email to your prospect rather than to everyone is fundamentally the backbone of good email marketing. A good list vendor should be able to provide you with carefully selected email lists.

In this particular case, although the lady was connected to me, there was no attempt to check out my company page or my profile to see if I was really a prospect for an ERP or CRM solution. I am not. I am a startup.

  1. Tell me who you are quickly.

I get over a hundred email’s every day. I can’t possibly do justice in reading every one of them. So tell me quickly who you are in one single sentence. Nobody has the time to read through the entire mail to figure out who you are.

  1. Tell me what you want quickly.

Want me to go through your entire mail to figure out what you want? Think again. Nobody has the time to do that either. Your key message has to come within the first 5 lines of your mail if you hope to catch his attention. The rest of your mail is simply an explanation of the why rather than the what. Surprisingly most people don’t follow this rule.

  1. Don’t keep hitting me with mails and hope you will tire me out.

Sometimes system developers forget that there are actually human beings who read mails. They develop system driven auto-responders that are flagged to be triggered off on certain conditions being met. Am all for automation, but at times it does get to be a bit too much. Set up an additional rule that prevents the system from sending more than x number of emails to a subscriber.

  1. You really don’t expect me to download pictures do you?

My email filter blocks all images as does most email clients. The result? Your lovely HTML emailer reaches me looking like this! Optimize your images or create your email template in a way that your basic core messaging gets through the email clients of prospects.

  1. Win. Profit. Gift.

As a kid I used to love receiving those Readers Digest mailers that screamed “You have won” in big and bold. Thanks to plenty of Nigerian scams and phishing mails, my email client usually junks all such mails that carry these words. And those that make it past my junk email filter, I delete. But I guess that there are still enough naïve people out there who still eagerly open an email with the above words because am continuously surprised to see how many such mails still come.

  1. Did I open or click on your email?

Because of its frightfully low cost and ease, many people tend to treat email marketing in a casual manner. They do not track the response and fine tune their email marketing campaign. Tracking lets you play around with subject lines, content, layout so that you can improve your response rates.

  1. What do you want me to do now?

Another common mistake I keep seeing is how email marketing managers forget to put a specific call for action in the email. Your specific call for action could be as simple as asking your prospect to call you at a number or visit your website (remember to give a specific actionable link) or simply download something of interest.

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