Why Your Email Marketing Campaigns are Missing the Mark (and How You Can Fix That)

Small businesses of all kinds have found that email marketing is one of the most effective ways to acquire a new customer and sell more services or products to current customers. According to a study done by ExactTarget, 77% of customers prefer to receive emails over any other form of marketing communication. And email marketing has an excellent profit rate: for every dollar spent on email marketing, companies on average make $44.25.

However, these numbers fluctuate based on the success of the email marketing campaign. Over 80% of emails coming through your target audience’s inboxes will be spam. If your email campaign doesn’t appeal to your potential customers, it will be ignored, sent to the trash, or marked as spam. So before you dive straight into email marketing, read these common mistakes that you need to avoid.

  1. Your subject line isn’t appealing. 33% of your email recipients will open your email based on only the subject line. Keep your subject line short while also being informative and attractive.
  2. Your email isn’t optimized for mobile viewing. 64% of email recipients will open your email through a mobile device, but 69% of that group will delete your email if it isn’t mobile-friendly. The best way to fix this problem is to make your emails responsive, particularly when it comes to images.
  3. You don’t send emails consistently. Sending out new emails on a weekly or biweekly basis increases customer retention and recognition. When customers recognize your brand, they are less likely to mark your email as spam. They are also more likely to buy from you.
  4. Your content is not interesting. Before sending out emails, think about your target audience. Only send content that is relevant to them. Some marketing experts suggest breaking up your email list and tailoring content to each section. You should also vary the types of campaigns sent out each time – if you always promote products in your emails, your content is going to get stale very quickly.
  5. Your content is too dense. Remember that most of your email recipients are reading your missives on their mobile devices. For that reason, your content should be easy for them to scan. Use numbered lists, bullet points, short sentences, and short paragraphs, just as you would in a blog post.
  6. You’re missing a call-to-action. Your email marketing campaigns should all have a goal in mind: you want the reader to visit your website and buy a product. Without a CTA, customers may read your email and then move on. CTAs help guide the reader to complete your objective. Use CTAs such as “read more,” “for more information, call …” and social media buttons.

For help on writing spectacular subject lines, read our blog post “6 Proven Strategies for Writing Enthralling Headlines.”


Nelson, Amanda. “25 Mind Blowing Email Marketing Stats.” http://blogs.salesforce.com/company/2013/07/email-marketing-stats.html. (18 March 2014).

Shah, Niti. “How to Optimize Your Emails for Mobile Devices.” http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/optimize-email-mobile-list, (18 March 2014).

Balinas, Travis. “5 Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2014.” http://www.outboundengine.com/blog/5-email-marketing-mistakes-to-avoid-in-2014/. (18 March 2014).

Klein, Craig. “10 Ways to Avoid Common Email Marketing Mistakes in 2014.” http://socialmediatoday.com/craigklein/2060066/10-ways-avoid-common-email-marketing-mistakes-2014. (18 March 2014).