Subhakar Rao Surapaneni

Investor, Sales and Marketing Pioneer, Author, Technology Champion, Philanthropist, Leadership Mentor

Seven deadly sins of email marketing.

Email marketing still remains the bread and butter of digital marketers. But if someone isn’t exactly getting the desired results out of his/her email campaigns then something went wrong somewhere. Read on to find the reasons:

1) Not applying common sense: People say common sense is not so common. Especially in email marketing when marketers forget the basic fundamentals of email marketing. The primary goal of a campaign is to get the recipients to take the next step. It can be signing up a form, registering for an event or simply taking them to a landing page. But today many marketing managers just spend too much time on secondary things like how the template would look like, social media linkage, and so on. And miss out on the real purpose of the campaign. This is the most common mistake in any email campaigns.


2) Using one-for-all lists: Marketers get a hold of a contact database and boom! They shoot out mails to all the persons in the list without bothering much to find the relevancy of the contacts from a business point of view. It doesn’t work and they wonder why. In email marketing, segmentation and sieving out the contact lists is the first basic step to get started with it. That’s how marketers can get specific and target individual requirements and interests. Not working on the lists is simply a big criminal mistake.

3) Churning out ordinary content: Marketers go hoarse saying content is the king. Yet surprisingly, not many marketers work to make their content relevant and compelling. They still follow the Stone Age broadcasting matrix: print ad and plastered into an email. Even when they have access to content writers, they don’t coordinate and collaborate much with the writers to get the best content. Marketers simply designate content tasks to writes and hope for some magic without giving the writers a good briefing on the 3 key points of any email campaign:

  • Who is the target audience of the campaign?
  • What we want the target audience to do?
  • What are the expectations of client from the campaign?

Not being able to get a compelling content is as much failure of a marketer as that of a writer.


4) Poor subject lines: The importance of subject lines in email marketing is an established fact. In fact, subject lines are the moment of truth for a successful email campaign. Subject lines decide whether the readers are going to open a mail or not. Ask any marketer about the important aspects of a subject line; insta reply will come:

  • It must highlight the value/offer/ benefits
  • It must have urgency
  • It must be compelling

Still, subject lines continue to a primary reason for email campaigns failure. Which means many marketers are not working hard to get their subject lines right.

5) Lack of Personalization: Make no mistake. Email marketing is a very personal and individualized form of marketing. Until and unless the recipient connects with the mail on an individualized level; things will not click. Take an example:

1 .Five new vendors to help retail manager

2. John, there are five new vendors to help retail manager like you.

No marks for guessing. The second line will find more resonance with the recipient. Unfortunately, that level of personalization is missing from many of the email campaigns.

6) Wrong Timings: Timing is a very important aspect of email marketing. They have to drill it out what is the best time to get their users to open and read an email blast. Example: Horoscope email blast has to be sent out every day early in the morning. In the same way, marketers has  to figure it out what day of the week and at what time of the day is best for sending out a specific type of campaigns. Herculean tasks indeed! But if the timing is wrong then email campaigns is bound to suffer, despite having a great template, powerful subject line and right target audience.


7) Ignoring Analytics: In email marketing there is no good or bad campaigns. There are only successful campaigns or failures. And the best way to check out the reasons behind them (successful campaigns or failures) is through analytics.  Analytics enlighten marketers which and what types of campaigns did well, which subject lines worked and other all the important metrics of email campaigns like, open rates, clicks rate and click-to-open rate. How many leads were captured and how many conversions took place. In simple words, marketers can understand what is working and what is not. All these data contains valuable insights for actionable marketing campaigns. Not following analytics is one of the leading reasons for email marketing duds.

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