The Real Reason Why Your Email Marketing Strategy Doesn’t Work (& How To Fix It)

You’re doing what all the experts tell you to. Email your customers frequently. Focus on value. Don’t sell too much. Despite this, your click rate is dismal. Your open rate isn’t much better. And hearing back from a prospect comes as frequently as a blue moon.

You can continue to do what you’ve always done and reap the same underwhelming and frustrating results.

Or you can identify the real reason why your email marketing isn’t working.

11 simples steps to improve your email marketing

You have no email strategy.

That’s right. Your email marketing isn’t working because you have no email strategy. Here’s what I mean by strategy.

  • What is the point of your email marketing?
  • What specific marketing goal are you trying to achieve with email?
  • What do you need to do to achieve that goal?

Without knowing this, you’re shooting arrows in the dark and hoping something hits the bullseye.

For your email campaigns to be successful, follow this 6-step process

STEP 1: YOU NEED TO HAVE A PLAN

You need to know:

  • How often you will mail your subscriber list.
  • What time you’ll send your marketing emails.
  • What type of emails you’ll send? For example, sales, direct response, free offers, consumer interest, educational, event-based, etc.
  • How you will determine the content of those emails?

Because guessing doesn’t get results.

Speak to any marketer; they’ll tell you they’ve played around with timings. They’ve sent emails towards the early evening or at lunchtime. They’ve tested weekdays versus weekends.

They know when their subscribers will most likely read their emails and how many they should send weekly.

Do you?

STEP 2: YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT MOTIVATES YOUR AUDIENCE

What do they care about? More importantly, what would motivate them to buy what you’re selling?

Your subscribers signed up to your email list for a reason.

For an e-commerce store, it’s to learn of the latest deals or hot new products. For a coaching business, it’s to solve a problem. For a social media consultancy, it’s to get the latest advice about marketing on social and maybe to get a calendar they can use to plan their content.

Your emails are an opportunity to build trust, establish your authority in your field, and demonstrate your ability to get them a result.

  • You want to tap into their desires. What do they want most? How can you help them achieve that?
  • Play on their emotions. What are they scared of? Have you experienced similar fears, and how did you overcome them?
  • Give them a vision to buy into. Show them what their life could look like if they choose your service or product.

Understanding what motivates your audience allows you to deliver a far more personalized experience, and that’s compelling.

STEP 3: YOU NEED A MARKETING AUTOMATION CRM

To build a relationship, you need to stay in touch with your prospects. You have to get them to like you, and that requires showing up in their life.

Once a month is probably not enough.

You need to show up frequently and provide value. Simply sending emails isn’t good enough.

STEP 4: YOU NEED TO BE AHEAD OF THE GAME

You need to plan things out a couple months in advance. You want to be thinking about what's happening in 3 months time.

If you’re not, you’re constantly playing catch up and you can’t be strategic. You also don’t have the space to analyse what worked and what didn’t. And you can’t reconfigure and test.

This means you won't make crucial changes that could impact sales. So plan your emails in advance.

STEP 5: YOU NEED TO BE A/B TESTING YOUR EMAILS

  • Do your email subscribers prefer sentence case or lowercase subject lines?
  • Do they respond well to emojis?
  • Do visuals help or hinder your message?
  • Do they prefer to receive emails on certain days of the week?
  • Is there a difference in the open rate of a direct response email versus a resource email?

Without A/B testing your emails, you can’t definitively answer these questions, and that’s a problem. Because what you don’t know will hurt the success of your marketing efforts.

We had a client who tripled their open rate by reducing the length of their subject lines to two or three words, changing them into lowercase, and adding emojis.

3x the value. They wouldn’t have known that if they hadn’t tested our theory.

Even after building an entirely new email welcome sequence and course upsell six months later, our copywriter was still A/B testing subject lines and CTAs six months later.

Marketing is never done. It’s iterative. To get the best results, you need to A/B test. Are you?

To create better messages check out this messaging template.

STEP 6: YOU NEED TO TRACK YOUR NUMBERS

Is your email marketing making you money?

The only way to know that is to track your email analytics, and you need a marketing automation CRM (customer relationship management tool) to do that.

But there are loads on the market. Knowing which to use can be confusing.

Personally, I like Ontraport. It’s more techie, but it has superior analytics. If you’d prefer something a little more user-friendly, I’d invest in ActiveCampaign or ConvertKit.

So every time you push send on a campaign, track and analyze that email’s performance. Take note of the topics your audience connects with. They’re actively telling you what they want to hear more of.

Then use this information to inform your content strategy.

And give your subscribers a chance to respond to you.

How to get more sales through email? 11 top tips.

For your email marketing to be a success, you need the right CRM software and strategy.

Follow these 11 tips for building an email campaign or sending marketing emails your subscribers can't wait to open.

1. DON'T BOMBARD YOUR SUBSCRIBERS WITH TOO MANY EMAILS

Remember, you are not the only business entering your subscribers’ mailbox. There needs to be a point to every email you send. Your goal could be to:

  • get to know your subscriber better
  • get crucial feedback on your product or service
  • invite them to a live training/webinar
  • share a company/product update
  • educate them
  • launch a new product or service
  • send a promotion

Whatever your reason, make it worth their while. Otherwise, you’ll start getting negative responses, like your emails feel spammy. And you don’t want that.

2. SEGMENT YOUR EMAIL LIST FOR BETTER TARGETING

Specificity sells. People want relevant content. They don’t want generic information.

If you waste their time, you’ll lose them. If you send them content that doesn’t add value, help them solve a problem, or entertain them, you’ll lose them.

You solve this by segmenting your email list in your CRM. If you don’t have a CRM, you need to get one. If you have a CRM, find out how to segment your target audience here.

3. PERSONALIZE YOUR EMAILS

Your CRM gives you the ability to capture your subscribers’ details and personalize your emails. Take advantage of these features because they will ensure you get a better open rate, click-through rate, and response rate.

96% of businesses state that simply adding your customer’s name in an email subject line or body copy will improve your marketing success.

Learn more about marketing personalization here.

4. STICK TO ONE TOPIC PER EMAIL

One of the most common mistakes that newbie marketers/businesses make is cramming as much information as possible into a single email.

You will only confuse your readers. And if you confuse them, you lose them.

So if the point of your email is to tell your customers that you’ve added a new feature, that’s the focus of your email. Talk about why you added the feature and how it will deliver a superior customer experience. What can they expect from that feature?

Don’t talk about how many years you’ve been in business or everything else your product does.

One email. One topic.

5. WRITE BETTER EMAIL SUBJECT LINES

What’s your hook? The statement or idea that’s going to stand out in your email inbox and get your subscriber to open your email.

Most email campaigns live and die by their subject lines/hooks.

To write a good email hook, look to Twitter for inspiration. It seems like an unlikely place, but Twitter influencers are limited in the number of words they can use. So they have to write very compelling hooks to get your attention.

The formula for a good hook includes the following:

  • Keep it short (two or three words), e.g., hiding?, low-hanging fruit, unforgivable, hacking PR
  • Make an intriguing statement, e.g., raincheck, ignore the vanity metrics, you’re not famous enough, so disrespectful
  • Promise something, e.g., hang with me in Miami, the best way to get loads of free email subscribers, 7 clients in 7 days
  • Be controversial, e.g., crying on social media, I won’t apologize for this, I hate IKEA
  • Pose a question, e.g., how to get attention, how to segment your audience in 3 minutes, is this your target market?

To write better copy, check out this masterclass.

Use emojis and text speak to connect with your subscribers

6. TELL STORIES

Facts tell. Stories sell. If you want to sell more with your email marketing, you need to tell good stories.

In my opinion, Laura Belgray is the queen of storytelling. She uses stories as a way to draw you in. They entertain and elicit an emotional response. Often it’s because we can see ourselves in those stories.

So don’t be afraid to share stories from your life with your subscribers.

You can learn more about using storytelling to market your business here.

7. ALWAYS USE A CALL TO ACTION

Tell your email subscribers what to do next. Is it to respond to you, book a call, trial your product, arrange a demo, fill in a form, or buy?

Highlight it in big and bold. Use all caps. Change the color of the text. Be clear about what you want your email subscriber to do next.

For example:

8. DEVELOP AN EMAIL SUPER SIGNATURE

While you don’t have to actively sell in every email, you should never waste a sales opportunity.

An email super signature is the little bit of text that goes below your name at the end of your email.

Use this space to market different services or products. For example, you could set up a free strategy session, or sell a book. Really, the choice is yours. Here’s what mine looks like:

Here's another example of a super signature.

Use your super signature to promote your products

9. SEND IT FROM YOU, NOT A NO-REPLY EMAIL

Don’t use a generic email like info@ when you can use your name. Especially if you’re the face of your brand, using your name is a powerful way to get people on your email list to open your emails.

10. AUTOMATE YOUR CAMPAIGNS & EMAIL MARKETING

I might be stating the obvious, but you’re human. To function optimally, you need food and rest. Technology doesn’t.

If you want to get more from your email marketing campaigns, you need to automate them. Push play on a welcome sequence in your CRM, and it doesn’t matter if Nicky on the other side of the world subscribes while you’re in dream world.

Your CRM will trigger an email that kicks off the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Now if you did this manually, Nicky would have to wait until you wake up 6 hours later before she gets her first email. And by that time, she may have forgotten about you ☹️

Technology augments your abilities. Use it.

11. PURGE INACTIVE SUBSCRIBERS ON YOUR EMAIL LIST

Get rid of the dead weight. The subscribers that never open your emails. They’re not interested in what you’re selling. But by keeping them on your list, you’re paying more money, and you risk impacting your spam rating.

Give them a chance to respond. Send a reactivation email to cold subscribers. If they don’t respond, delete them.

If you found this helpful you might also like to read our Dos and don'ts of email marketing.

Start refining your email marketing strategy.

Now that you know what makes a good email marketing strategy, it’s time to refine yours.

  • What does your email strategy look like?
  • How often will you email your subscriber database?
  • What CRM will you use?
  • What numbers will you track?
  • How will you use these marketing insights to inform your content strategy?
  • Will you create monthly email campaigns?
  • Will you use an email design or stick to plain text? Personally, I prefer the latter.

Don’t forget to A/B test your email marketing. It will help you to improve your email campaigns tenfold.

If you need help refining your email strategy, download our email guide. It’s free.

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