6 Reasons Why Your Email Marketing Is Underperforming

Depending on how you manage your email marketing, it can be either very rewarding, or it can end in failure. Special attention needs to be paid to your open rate, CTR rate, the number of people who unsubscribed from your newsletters, and, of course, ROI.
You have to make sure all of these are being kept in check, and in this blog post, we will point out some things that might be the reasons your email marketing is underperforming.
1. Subject Line
It is extremely important how you phrase your subject lines. Subject lines are the first thing that the recipient sees. If they don’t draw their attention, your emails will stay unread.
It is important that they contain two key elements: what your emails are about and why they are worth opening. Therefore, subject lines that are not recommended are the ones that:
• Are too long – the recommended length is between 61 and 70 characters. The shorter, the better.
• Are misleading – if they make a promise that the content of your email doesn’t fulfill, or don’t provide anything beneficial to the reader.
• Contain spam words, or are with uppercase letters.
• Contain your company’s name.
• Start with a greeting, such as “Hi” or “Hey”.
• Have grammatical mistakes and misspellings.
• Have too many emojis.
• Do not awaken interest and create a sense of urgency – which works in cases when you want to emphasize expiring deals or products running out of stock.
So, if you are practicing any of the things above, now is the time to stop.
2. Irrelevant Email Preheader
The next thing a person sees is your email preheader. Preheaders are basically extensions to your subject lines. They serve as a preview of what your email is about. Perhaps they are not enticing enough and have no real connection to either what the subject line says or what the body of your email says. Also, be mindful of grammar at all times.
If your subject lines and preheaders had some or all of these flaws, please fix them so that they are enticing, grammatically correct, and make them in accordance with the rest of the email.
3. Bad Send Time and Frequency
Another drawback to your campaign could be the sending time and sending frequency of your emails.
It is important to know when exactly your target audience checks their emails. For example, if your target audience are office workers, send them emails when they have the time to check them, or on weekends.
Also, don’t send your emails too often or too rarely. Aim to find the compromise between the two. In order to do that, see which segment can sustain higher, and which one lower frequency. You don’t want your subscribers to be fed up with you or to completely forget about you.
Here is an article we wrote about how frequently you should email your subscribers.
4. Not Following Click-Through Rates
Do your subscribers open your emails, but your campaigns are still underperforming? It is now time to look at your click-through rate (CTR).
CTRs denote that the recipient not only opened your email, but clicked on any link that was within that email. If your audience does not relate to your content fully, that means your CTR is low. Here are the factors that might affect your CTR:
• Your email copy doesn’t communicate anything to the audience – it may altogether speak to the wrong audience.
• The design/imagery of your emails is not interesting or relevant enough.
• Your call-to-action isn’t enticing or important enough.
• In the age of vast usage of mobile phones, your campaigns are not mobile optimized.
All of these can discourage your subscribers from clicking on anything within your emails. They simply aren’t drawn to the content and they are not interested in discovering more about what you have to offer.
5. Not Segmenting Your List
One of the main reasons your audience isn’t connecting might be due to the bad segmentation. You should be able to make proper segmentation of your list and send only relevant messages to people in each segment. Tailor your emails according to the tastes and needs of your segments.
You can base your segmentation on almost anything – geographics (country, city, language, climate), demographics (age, gender, income), physiographics (lifestyle, values, attitudes), and behavior (intent, occasion, engagement).
You should create proper segments based on these and other criteria, and then tailor your content to suit each group.
For instance, an online fashion retailer can get great results by segmenting the list by gender – showing the men’s items to men and women’s items to women. If they go one step further and combine it with size and style preferences, they can get even better results. It gets even better if they offer the right sizes on the landing pages and exclude sizes, not in stock or offer casual, business, and other styles the recipient is most likely to buy, and more.
6. Underestimating Design and Content
As far as the design goes, you don’t want your campaigns to look plain or all over the place, but you want them neat, with fewer CTA buttons. Make sure they are meaningful and awaken a sense of urgency. Your emails should be easy to navigate. In this fast-paced world, people are looking for clarity and ease of access above all else. If you combine all of that, the only remaining thing is to optimize your campaigns for mobile users, so that everyone can enjoy and interact with your beautiful emails.
When it comes to the content, the best remedy for this is to get to know your target audience well and deliver content that interests them, in a way that is engaging and personal.
Bear in mind that some recipients will view your emails with images turned off. For that reason, it is very important that you add ‘alt text’ to your images. Alt-text is the text that can be seen if your readers’ ISP has the images turned off. If their images are turned off, they will be able to know what your email is all about by reading the alt text.

To Sum Up

The key to improving all of these parameters is connecting with your audience. By using proper segmentation, relevant, interesting content and design, proper grammar, and mobile optimization, you can go a long way. Check out our other blog posts that deal with these issues. Good luck with your next campaign!

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  • Heath Weaver

    Managing Director, Principal

    Heath Weaver has almost two decades of eCommerce digital marketing experience. He has run multiple agencies, headed up Search Engine Marketing for the consumer electronics division of Sony, and served as a Vice President at Trilogy Software. He enjoys working day-to-day with clients to level up their retention marketing game.

  • Xiaohui "X" Wang

    Founder, Principal

    Xiaohui "X" Wang is a veteran of the email marketing industry. In the last decade, he has led the strategic and tactic retention marketing efforts for over 300 ecommerce brands ranging from small mom & pops to IR500 retailers. He's passionate about all things eCommerce, email, and SMS.