11 Reasons Why Your Email Campaigns Fail

Reasons Why Your Email Campaigns Fail

What causes email marketing campaigns to fail?

To help you best identify the causes for email marketing campaign failures, we asked marketing experts and business leaders this question for their best insights. From focusing on open rates instead of click rates to using outdated subscriber lists, there are several reasons for email campaign failures that you may learn from to best address any problems with your email marketing strategies.

Here are 11 reasons why an email marketing campaign may fail:

  • Focusing on Open Rates Instead of Click Rates
  • Ineffective Subject Lines
  • Not Putting Enough Thought into Your Copy
  • Not Doing A/B Testing to Identify the Best Strategies
  • Incorrect Email-Targeting Strategy
  • Sending Emails Without Permissions
  • Emails Being of No Clear Value to Subscribers
  • Emails Rely too Heavily on Imagery
  • Your Emails Are Not Welcoming Enough
  • Inability to Personalize Emails in a Cookieless World
  • Using an Outdated Subscriber List

Focusing on Open Rates Instead of Click Rates

Sending an email that does not promote an actionable response does little good to provide something other than awareness, and this is why marketers should instead focus on optimizing emails for clicks. Open rates are growing more and more unreliable, especially in the wake of iOS 15 where all emails default to an open, often giving a business a false read on the effectiveness of their email campaigns. 

The goal should not be to increase open rates, but rather to encourage actual engagement. Therefore, your attention should be on sending the right content to the right audiences at the right time, making certain there is a prominent call to action, as well as visually engaging and interactive elements, and punchy headlines that creates a sense of urgency. By not incorporating click-boosting elements into your emails, you may get subscribers to open them, but the likely result will be a quick deletion or missed sales conversion.

Greg Gillman, MuteSix

Ineffective Subject Lines

The biggest reason email marketing strategies fail is because the offer is never read. This means that you must write short, enticing subject lines that urge the recipient to actually click to view the email’s contents. Think of your subject line as a sneak peek to what’s inside, so be sure to include any sales, discounts or important company information – as space allows.

Shaun Price, MitoQ

Not Putting Enough Thought into Your Copy

Copywriting isn’t the same as writing long-form content. The latter aims to inform while the former aims to sell. And if your advertising copy is boring, sub-par, and simply not eye-catching enough, even the best content will go missed by your customers. To really nail this element of your email marketing campaign, study some of the most effective campaigns to get better at creating impactful copy that will reel in your customers.

Harry Morton, Lower Street

Not Doing A/B Testing to Identify the Best Strategies

You need to do some A/B testing to better understand what email marketing strategies are more useful. Every business is different and has different email audiences, and this is why A/B testing is such an important method for identifying the best email marketing strategies for your particular business. Otherwise, you will feel lost in terms of how to increase your email engagement.

Nick Shackelford, Structured Agency

Incorrect Email-Targeting Strategy

It is incorrectly targeted. People are savvy about their email use and are already flooded with content and even spam mail, and they will ignore or delete emails that aren’t immediately relevant to their interests. It is essential to target your emails and the specifics of the campaign to people who have relevant interest in your brand. By being more specific, you can cut through the noise and get noticed by consumers who are willing to engage with your brand. Targeting the most relevant leads is key.

Brett Estep, Insured Nomads

Sending Emails Without Permissions 

You have probably already been the subject of an unauthorized email marketing campaign. Similarly, you can certainly understand why a consumer cleans out their inbox and starts clicking the “unsubscribe” buttons on emails. When customers feel like they’ve been tricked into receiving tons of emails from marketers, they typically feel like their privacy has been invaded. Most of the time, they will delete your emails, unsubscribe from your list, and in the worst-case scenario report you as spam. Avoid having your messages blocked and automatically redirected to the spam bin by obtaining permission from your target audience instead.

Ilija Sekulov, Mailbutler

Emails Being of No Clear Value to Subscribers

Your emails must convince a busy consumer or professional to provide you permission to send them periodical messages. A small “sign up for our newsletter” button is not enough in today’s digital age. You need to provide clear value to subscribers via compelling content, insightful information, special deals, or other tactics to command their attention and inspire action. If you can’t accomplish this, then your email marketing campaign will inevitably fail.

Datha Santomieri, Steadily

Emails Rely too Heavily on Imagery

We all know how fickle email service providers can be when it comes to serving images correctly, especially in a newsletter format where there may be multiple. If you’re already struggling with deliverability issues or you’re seeing a decline in open rates, the last thing you should do is add more images. Even campaigns from the outset can fail because they rely too heavily on images, and the end result is a spammy-looking email template that doesn’t resonate with audiences. Stick to plain text where possible, and use images sparingly.

James Taylor, Digital Tool Report

Your Emails Are Not Welcoming Enough 

Don’t forget the welcome email! Would you decide to skip the “Hi, how are you doing? I’ve missed you,” part of the phone call with an old friend because you were already friends with them? No! The same goes for marketing email campaigns.

Just because your email campaign is going out to your subscribers does not mean you can skip the welcome email – the welcome email is actually the most important part and has the highest open rate. The welcome email is your way to connect with your subscribers, deepen your relationship, let them know how special they are to you, and tell them what exciting things your campaign has in store for them. And because subscribers like knowing how special they are to you, welcome emails have the highest open – so take advantage of this guaranteed visibility. If you’re lazy and decide to skip the welcome email, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to connect with your audience and your campaign may fail.

Karim Hachem, Sunshine79

Inability to Personalize Emails in a Cookieless World

Optimizing the user experience, delivering personalized messages, and maximizing consent rates — all while respecting users’ privacy is crucial to any email marketing campaign’s success. In a future without third-party cookies, successful email marketers will be those that prioritize gathering first-party data; user data from their own websites, app, social channels, etc. Then they’ll need to use it responsibly by emphasizing consent-based approaches.

Jon Torres, SEO Marketing Guy

Using an Outdated Subscriber List

One reason an email marketing campaign might fail is outdated data. You can have the most attractive deal ever, but still fall short because of inactive subscribers. Always maintain the most up to date information on your email subscriber list and remove unengaged users regularly. Another good tip for this is to run email verification on subscribers that have not been emailed in thirty-plus days.

Kevin Callahan, Flatline Van Co.

8 Back-to-School Email Campaign Strategies

Back-to-School Email Campaign Strategies

What are the best back-to-school email marketing campaign strategies?

To help you best target your back-to-school email marketing campaigns, we asked marketing professionals and business leaders this question for their best strategies. From making the campaign relevant for all ages to appealing to college students with contests, there are several strategies that may help your email campaigns win over customers to patronize your back-to-school offerings.

Here are eight back-to-school email campaign strategies:

  • Make The Campaign Relevant for All Ages
  • Entice With a Buy-One-Donate-One Offer
  • Highlight Relevant Self-Care Routines
  • Launch a Back-to-School Loyalty Program
  • Offer Exclusive Discounts and Coupons
  • Structure The Email Like a Class Schedule
  • Personalize Your Emails
  • Appeal to College Students With Contests

Make The Campaign Relevant for All Ages

Incorporate the back-to-school theme for everyone! Make the idea seem relevant for those no longer in school to avoid unwanted messages. For example, play with the wording by using the theme as a time for everyone to learn something new or take a refresher course. Try something like, “When the kids head back to school, choose a new hobby like yoga. Use this 20% off coupon to start learning today!”

Jeff Goodwin, Orgain

Entice With a Buy-One-Donate-One Offer

One of the best back-to-school marketing email campaigns is buy one, donate one. For every purchase a customer makes, donate one of the same items, or the monetary equivalent, to a charity that helps students in need. Those who want to make a difference will prefer to buy your product over another business. Additionally, the charitable donation and associated marketing will hugely boost brand awareness.

Kevin Callahan, Flatline Van Co.

Highlight Relevant Self-Care Routines

Self-care during the school year is so important. How are students supporting their mental and physical well-being after class, homework, and extracurricular activities? Brands can highlight self-care routines such as product recommendations or tactics that lower stress levels. This is a relevant and timely marketing campaign that puts the consumer first.

Natália Sadowski, Nourishing Biologicals

Launch a Back-to-School Loyalty Program

One solid back-to-school email marketing campaign strategy is launching a loyalty program. Alongside back-to-school sales, have your email newsletter offer students, parents, or teachers the chance to enroll in your customer loyalty program. Tell them all the reasons to keep coming back and why your program is the best. Go a step further and incorporate how it can help them achieve in the classroom too.

Sasha Ramani, MPOWER Financing

Offer Exclusive Discounts and Coupons

Many companies ramp up their marketing efforts during the back-to-school season, as parents and students alike are looking for great deals on everything from clothes to school supplies. However, with so many businesses vying for attention, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd.

One way to make your company’s email marketing campaign stand out is to offer exclusive discounts and coupons to subscribers. This will not only entice recipients to open your emails, but it will also encourage them to take advantage of your special offers. You can also segment your email list by school district or type of student (e.g., elementary, middle, or high school), which will allow you to customize your message and ensure that it is relevant to each recipient. By taking the time to craft a well-targeted and engaging email campaign, you can make sure that your business gets noticed by the right people during the busy back-to-school season.

Jim Campbell, Wizve – Digital & Affiliate Marketing Agency

Structure The Email Like a Class Schedule

We’re firm believers in the equation that if you make emails fun, people will read them and scroll further. A great back-to-school example would be to structure your email in a way that reads like a class schedule. Start with “Period 1: Math”, then offer your tips or product recommendations such as a calculator. Next, “Period 2: English”, then offer the same such as a dictionary or writing utensils. You can even break out funny things like “lunch” or “recess” and feature a lunchbox or sport supplies. A big part of email marketing is being able to put your reader in the environment of what you’re discussing and this is a clever way to do that.

Kelly Skelton, Fat Kid Deals

Personalize Your Emails

One tip is to personalize your emails. By including students’ names in the subject lines of your emails, you can make them more likely to open the messages. Additionally, including students’ names in the content of your emails can help create a more personal connection with your readers. This will result in more engaged readers, who are more likely to take action on the content you provide.

Karen Ebanks, Karan Real Estate

Appeal to College Students With Contests 

Marketing to college students is a bit different from marketing to the parents of K-12 school children. In college, many students begin to become responsible for their own finances so they have a desire to save money as much as possible.

One way to appeal to this demographic is to include a contest in the newsletter. The contest could have a prize that would be highly desirable for college students such as a laptop or an Amazon gift card. The email can include a CTA asking people to share it on social media in order to generate more buzz around the contest, and therefore, more sales. It could be an essay contest or a drawing contest to give students the chance to showcase their creativity. Of course, the overall theme of the newsletter would be back-to-school, so it can also include fun trivia facts and reviews or insights from other college students. Ideally, the contest winner should be announced at least two weeks prior to when students return to the classroom.

Jibran Qazi, MCPD