7 Common Reasons Your Email Marketing Isn’t Working

What happens when your email marketing content’s metrics aren’t what you hoped for? If you’re like us, you’ll dig through the data to uncover where your email marketing content went off the rails.

Your email content directly influences how well your email marketing strategy performs. So, the first place to look when your email metrics go downhill is the email content itself.

It’s easier to identify what went wrong when you have a list of common problems to look for. Here are some of the most frequent reasons why your email marketing strategy isn’t up to par:

Sending Content to the Wrong Decision-Maker

A recent NetLine report revealed that in 2021, a shift occurred in enterprise content consumption. Company executives’ demand for high-value content rose by 19.41% over the previous year. Marketing departments, however, showed a 4.07% drop in their content consumption.

So, if your content analytics show a drop in consumption among your recipients, try changing the recipients to executive roles instead. Send your emails to the executives most likely responsible for buying decisions in their areas of expertise.

For instance, if you sell a software solution that helps identify unproductive processes that lose money, you would likely choose the chief financial officer and the chief operations officer as recipients.

On the other hand, if your company trains people on the Agile software development method, you’d probably put your prospects’ head of product development and the chief human resources officer.

Sending Emails at an Inconvenient Time

Keep track of your open and clickthrough rates for recipients in different time zones. If you see patterns that indicate that many of your recipients in specific time zones aren’t opening your emails or clicking through to your website, take a closer look at why.

If, for instance, you’re on the US East Coast and are sending out all your emails to arrive in the recipients’ inboxes at 9:00 a.m. your time, you might see lower open and clickthrough rates in your recipients on the West Coast.

Try segmenting your recipients by time zone and then set your content automation system to send them out to arrive at 9:00 a.m. in your recipients’ time zones.

Boring Subject Lines That Don’t Connect

One of the simplest content fixes is analyzing your subject lines. If your recipients are like the average American, they’re likely to check their email inboxes 30 times per hour, as Wyzowl’s Adam Hayes points out. However, with an average attention span of only 8.25 seconds, your subject line has only that much time to catch their eye.

Image via Wyzowl

HubSpot’s Braden Becker advises content marketers to include three critical ingredients in their subject lines:

  • Urgency
  • Curiosity
  • Personalization

We agree. But we’d add a fourth: keywords that pique your recipients’ interests. If you’ve already segmented your list by interest and pain points, your teams should be able to come up with subject lines that tick off all four boxes and drive your open rates upward.

If not, take the time to segment your list now. Sending irrelevant emails is one of the fastest ways to land in the spam filter. Additionally, avoid spamming attacks by following DMARC reports and taking necessary email security measures.

But don’t stop there. Use A/B testing or an AI tool to discover which subject lines should perform better with each email segment.

If you are using AI-generated subject lines, though, be sure to have a human read them before you press “Send.” If you’ve ever felt a twinge of cringe after reading a Grammarly suggestion, you know that those helpful robots often lack the nuance that characterizes human interactions.

Yawn-Worthy Opening Paragraphs

Once you’ve enticed your recipient to click on your subject line, you have about the same 8-ish seconds to grab their attention with your first paragraph. Take a tip from the journalism world and use your first few sentences to address the questions that your recipients need to answer to determine if your content is worth reading.

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How?

We always advise creatives to use active voice verbs wherever possible in all their content. That goes double for the first few sentences. It’s especially critical to use vivid language in your opening paragraph.

Using a Weak Call to Action (or None)

The whole point of sending emails is to drive a specific action: to learn more about your solution to your recipients’ problems, to download a long-form piece of content, or to purchase something.

All these actions have one thing in common – the need to click through to your website or landing page. Make sure your call to action makes your readers excited to read the rest of the story.

Not Personalizing More Than the Subject Line and Salutation

Content marketers have personalized subject lines for years now. That’s great – but to really connect with email recipients, you need to go beyond subject lines to personalize the body of your emails, too.

Inserting your recipients’ pain points and interests at strategic points within your emails shows that you care about them and want to help them conquer their challenges. After all, if your company cares enough to take the time to personalize their emails, it’s likely they take the same care with their products and customer service.

With today’s email automation systems, you can easily insert variables that can change according to information in your recipient database and actions that your recipients have taken. This dynamic content delivers the kinds of personalized experiences that research shows make recipients 80% more likely to become paying customers.

Not Making Your Content Shareworthy

It doesn’t take much time to put “Share with a Friend” buttons in your emails and the content it links to. Email shares are a cost-effective strategy to grow your email list, extend your brand’s reach, and attract new prospects.

But to make it shareworthy, you need more than a catchy button. Choose only your best pieces of content to send out to each segment. Limit your emails to only topics that interest that segment. Chances are, if your emails are relevant and valuable enough, your recipients will share them with like-minded friends and colleagues.

On the flip side, though, serving up emails that aren’t worth sharing will likely impact another metric – your unsubscribes.

So, keep a close eye on the number of shares each piece of content garners, your list growth rate, and your unsubscribes. Analyze what makes your best-performing emails perform well and evaluate your worst performers for ways to improve on future emails’ performance.

Focusing on making your content shareworthy will do more than just keeping your subscribers. Done right, your email list will grow – and along with it, your company.

With a content calendar designed for content planning and production across the enterprise, you can easily integrate your email marketing content with your analytics to keep a close eye on your email metrics. DivvyHQ is that and so much more.

It’s a content marketing platform that integrates with hundreds of other platforms, giving you a 360-degree view of your total content production and metrics. And, with its content strategy metadata management solution, you’ll be able to classify and easily find all the content assets that can elevate your email marketing metrics to a whole new level.

And, even better, you can try it free for 14 days. Start your free trial today!