5 Reasons Your Email Marketing Sucks (And How To Fix It)

October 17, 2016 Brendan Cournoyer

Email Marketing

B2B companies may have fallen in love with inbound marketing, but that doesn’t mean other marketing tactics have completely fallen by the wayside. Take email marketing for example, where nearly 87% of businesses looked to increase their budgets for 2016.

Of course, more doesn’t necessarily mean better. In fact, despite proof that strategies built around personalization result in better open rates, 70% of marketers still don't send personalized emails. In other words – there’s some room for improvement in the way B2Bs utilize email to connect with audiences.

A strong content strategy can go a long way toward fueling these efforts, but great content isn’t the only factor at play. The good news is that improving response rates for email campaigns doesn’t always have to be super complicated. Sometimes, simple tweaks or considerations can make all the difference.

With that in mind, here are five basic mistakes that could be hindering your email marketing that you can start fixing right now.

#1. “Delete-able” subject lines

I’ve said this for years, but whether you’re sending out a newsletter, promoting upcoming events or delivering general lead generation campaigns, the subject line is often the single most important factor to consider.

We’ve already established that email marketing is as popular as ever, but that also means people are inundated with more messages in their inbox — and they aren’t reading all of them. A strong subject line is often the difference between opens/click-throughs and a quick click of the delete button.

Quick Tip: Put the same care into your email subject lines as you would for the title of any piece of content. Keep it short and under 50 characters (messages that are too long risk being cut off or truncated), and focused on the value proposition for the recipient, not your product or brand.

#2. The “From” field is too generic

It’s not just about WHAT your email says, it’s WHO it’s from that matters as well. There are different schools of thought out there for deciding on an effective From field, but most agree that a person’s name works better than generic brand names, especially if the recipient is unfamiliar with your business. They might see the brand name in the From field, assume it’s some spam message and immediately ignore it.

Quick Tip: I personally like From fields that feature a person’s name and their company. For example, something like “John Smith, CompanyX” gives a personal touch to your email without sacrificing branding. 

#3. Weak calls-to-action

This one kills me. Every email you send should have a clear purpose, and that purpose should be to have the recipient DO something. Register for a webinar, download an eBook, click through to a webpage – whatever your goal might be, that message needs to be crystal clear and front-and-center in the body of your email.

Quick Tip: Too much text or over-design can sometimes have an adverse effect that draws attention away from your call-to-action. Keep your body text tight and separate your CTA as an isolated message so it stands out.

#4. You’re not thinking about mobile

Studies show that at least 55% of emails are now opened on mobile devices (and that number is only rising). That means if your email marketing isn’t optimized for mobile viewing, you’re less likely to make a connection with half your audience.

Quick Tip: Always test your emails on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) to ensure your design is mobile-friendly. This could involve things like writing shorter emails for smaller screens, creating larger CTAs, or using graphics more effectively (as many mobile users have images enabled by default).

Check out our infographic on cross-platform marketing here

#5. Your content and campaigns aren’t focused

This one here is a bit more strategic, but it can have a huge impact on the success of your campaigns. While some email campaigns are intended to reach a broad audience, others are segmented toward specific markets and personas. But if your content isn’t aligned with the needs or interests of those personas, your impact will be limited.

Quick Tip: For targeted campaigns, work with your content team first to develop resources that will speak to the unique challenges and interests of those specific audiences. This requires researching those personas to learn their pain points, and communicating with sales reps to better align your email and content messages with the conversations they have with prospects in those areas.

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