Top Three Reasons Your Email Marketing Isn’t Working

Email marketing. It’s the less expensive alternative to direct mail, but does it work? That depends on who you ask.
Most small to mid-sized business owners will tell you it keeps their name in front of people, but that is about all it does for them. Some will even say they have more unsubscribes than opens, and click-through rates are pretty much non-existent. But some will tell you they have a great deal of success, with increases in subscription, as well as open, click through and share rates that keep improving.

Why such a discrepancy? It’s usually attributable the effectiveness of the strategy and implementation. I’ve seen some consistent themes among those who are successful and those who are not. Here are the top three reasons your email marketing is not working:

1) You’ve Been Blacklisted

If you have been reported as a spammer, you may show up on one or more of the email blacklist databases. When you are on one of these lists, your emails will be filtered by email servers and your subscribers will never see your email – not even in the spam folder of their own mailbox. You can be reported as a spammer by anyone – even by those who are subscribers on your list.

What’s the best way to avoid this? Don’t spam! But sometimes you end up on a blacklist even if you aren’t spamming. You can dispute the inclusion of your domain, but you have to know you’re there first. Here’s a tool you can use to check the main spam listing databases for your company for free: .

2) It’s All About You

A solid email marketing program is not all about you; it’s all about your reader. If you are constantly selling or pitching your services, expect people to unsubscribe – or, worse yet, add you to a spammer database. The best email lists provide real value to the recipients.

If you’re not providing value, you will see drops in your open rates and increases in your unsubscribe rates. If you are providing good value, you will see increases in your open rates, shares, and click through rates. Make your broadcasts specific to, and valuable for, your audience, and segment your list to help accomplish this.

3) No Follow Through

You can’t just send an email broadcast and assume it will work. You need to track results and follow up. You have to be responsive to your readers. Otherwise, they will see your email as unimportant and delete or ignore it – or report it as spam.

Make sure you segment your list. Send relevant content to each segment, and follow it up. One recent email campaign I sent for a client increased the click-through rate by 10% in less than one hour after the follow up was sent.

Email is not just a medium for amplifying your voice. You need to engage your readers as if you were having a conversation with them. Email marketing will work -- if you take the time to design it right.