Why Your Email Marketing isn’t Working


Spam filters aside, it can be challenging to get customers to read, much less respond to or forward, even the best email content. In some ways, this is a reflection on the sheer volume of emails each of us receives on a daily basis. Still, great email campaigns will always break through the noise.

If you’re seeing a drop in readership or less activity when it comes to your email marketing efforts, perhaps it’s worth a quick refresher on how to effectively use this vehicle to engage customers and boost campaign response rates.

Let’s take this step-by-step.

Sender address: A lot of business owners question whether the email should be sent under their name or the name of their business. The email is more likely to be opened if you send it under the name they’re more familiar with.

Subject lines: There are lots of great devices you’ve probably used when it comes to catchy subject lines. Regardless of your business or campaign focus, consider the following best practices to avoid spam filters:

• Avoid using all caps or exclamation points.
• Limit the subject line to 45 characters or less.
• Refrain from including any of the following words: free, guaranteed, try now, prize, bonus, or order.
• Skip rhetorical questions.
• Resist the temptation to use “Re” or “Fwd” in an original email.

Content: Along with asking for objective opinions on your content, keep the following three points in mind:

• Strike a 2:1 balance between relevant content and promotional offers.
• Demonstrate your expertise through articles that are exclusive to your newsletter.
• Review response rates to gauge which topics garnered the most interest.

Visuals: Even the most compelling content will challenge its readers if it includes any of the following:

• White font.
• Video or flash files that take time to download.
• Large images that overshadow the content.

Sending email: Three simple, yet effective approaches that improve open rates:

• Always ask for permission to email customers and don’t overstay your welcome.
• Don’t purchase lists.
• Send your email at a consistent time such as day of week or date of month.

Responding: Make it easy for customers to respond by including the following:

• Visible subscribe and unsubscribe buttons.
• Social sharing buttons.
• A feedback mechanism to directly reach you.

Also, it never hurts to put a quarterly tickler in your calendar reminding you to review best practices and the results of your email marketing efforts.

Steve Robinson is Constant Contact’s small business expert in Illinois and Wisconsin. A knowledgeable marketing expert with 30 years of experience, Steve has helped thousands of small businesses, associations, and nonprofits develop and implement effective email marketing, social media and online survey strategies. A popular speaker and educator, Steve gives small businesses and nonprofits the tools, techniques, and strategies they need to grow and expand their business and to maximize the power of relationship marketing. Steve’s experience in small business ownership, business development, sales, and fundraising help associations, small businesses and nonprofits achieve success.

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