Why Your Email Marketing Sucks (and What You Can Do to Fix It)

email marketingSometimes the truth can be a little hard to swallow – especially when it comes to your lackluster email marketing campaign. However, hiding from the reality of the situation only makes it harder for your brand to get back on the right side of readers once your messages end up in the inbox. To help you right the ship and make the most of this opportunity, here are some of the reasons why your email marketing operations stink – and what you need to do to get things back on track.

Subject Lines That Fall Flat

When covering the touchy subject of why your email marketing campaign might be coming up short, it makes sense to start with the first thing your customers see – the subject line. As Jenna Goudrea of Business Insider explains, this vital part of the message can cost you countless opens if it’s anything less than stellar. To ensure you maximize this first impression, Goudrea suggests keeping the subject line short, as well as avoiding fluff words. By focusing primarily on the contents of your marketed email, as well as why this message matters to the reader, you can generate an impactful and relevant subject line that stands out in a crowd of generic competitors.

Incorporating Lackluster CTAs

The call-to-action (CTA) is the centerpiece of your marketed emails. Without a powerful push on this front, it’s hard to convince the audience to hit your landing pages and seal the deal, even if you offer the best products in the world. For brands that need a CTA boost, which in turn can pump up clicks and conversions, Chris Hexton of Marketing Land suggests that you spend some time thinking about the value and direction of this portion of your message.

Instead of simply writing “click here” or “submit,” use this precious space to engage your targeted consumer. Even if it’s putting a personal touch in the CTA, like the viewer’s name or some other information pulled from your contact list, adding value and a clear, firm request for action can turn a passive, boring CTA into a bold, responsive offering. From here, Hexton also suggests repeating the CTA later in the email. While you don’t want to go overboard with this idea, making another push in the middle or toward the end of the message is an easy way to snag a few extra click-throughs.

The Unfriendly Mobile Message

It’s most definitely a mobile world, so having messages that aren’t optimized for smartphone and tablet email apps is a recipe for disaster. As DJ Waldow of Entrepreneur points out, over 145 million people in the U.S. own smartphones and check their email on these devices, so offering an alternative for this platform is a must. The best way to convert your tired old desktop variations is to cut the hard to load images out of the picture and adopt a vertical orientation that puts your CTA near the top. This way, these users on the go can jump straight to the action with a fast-loading, responsive design.

Sneaky Unsubscribe Tactics

One of the shadiest practices in the world of email marketing comes from brands and marketers that try to hide the unsubscribe button, according to Michael Linthorst of Econsultancy. At first glance, it might seem like a great idea to put this feature in the fine print or toward the far reaches of the page. After all, all this button does is lead to your brand losing subscribers, right? Unfortunately, this line of thinking can cost you a lot more than just a few subscribers.

With the rise of anti-spam regulation across the United States and Canada, giving users the right to say no isn’t just a simple courtesy, it’s the law. To stay away from the email marketing dark side, and avoid some hefty legal penalties, put the unsubscribe button in a clearly identifiable spot. Not only will this keep you on the right side of the law, it can also help you refine and properly optimize your contact list by reducing your performance metrics to only the consumers that are actually interested in your promotional material.

Don’t Write a Novel

Once you’ve developed a responsive, mobile friendly template and you’ve started playing by the rules, it’s time to focus on the actual content that makes up your emails. As Kate Kiefer Lee of Forbes Magazine explains, to have your content fire on all cylinders, it needs to be “scannable.” Whether you’re marketing to other businesses or retail shoppers that stop by your digital store on a daily basis, having the email equivalent of “War and Peace” clog up their inboxes isn’t doing your brand any favors. Instead, break up your message into short, easily digestible segments.

By doing this, your readers can hone in on the portions of the email that matter to them most, maximizing the impact of your message and keeping your audience’s attention. When paired with the rest of what you’ve learned about improving your email marketing operations, you’ll leave behind the less than flattering labels and really start to make some headway with the consumers that matter most to your organization.


4 Step Studio is an online marketing agency that specializes in website design and redesign, SEO, social media and more. Our team of experts focuses on helping small business get found online, while educating them on what will make them successful in the digital world. To learn more about what we can do for you, visit our website at www.4StepStudio.com

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Posted in Email Marketing, Marketing

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