When you’re looking for reasons why email marketing is not working, you’ll likely come up with a bitter truth. It’s the good old reason: you’re either not doing the right things or not doing them the right way.

Yes, everybody knows email marketing has an ROI of 4400%. That means for every dollar you invest in email marketing, you stand to gain as much as $44.

But that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed. You need to put in a lot of hard work at every stage of your email marketing efforts: list building, writing, engagement, authenticating… there’s a lot to do.

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And even as you put in a lot of energy and resources into your email marketing, you might feel things are falling through the cracks. Poor open rates, a higher number of unsubscribes, low click-through rates…looks like nothing is working out.

Now is the right time to sit back and take a hard look at your email marketing efforts to figure out what’s wrong and how you can fix it.

Here are some of the top reasons why your email marketing is not working and tips on how to get things right:

1. Your mailing list is not segmented

Your subscribers have entered your mailing list at different stages. Some of them joined your list in the last trade show, some signed up online, while some have been with you for a long time.

Naturally, they are in different stages of your sales funnel. Some are just getting familiar with your product, while others are just a step short of making a purchase.

If you’ve put them all in a single mailing list, you can’t expect great results. That’s because your email copy can only address one segment and will ignore the rest.

How you can fix it:

You need to segment the addresses on your mailing list according to some criteria. For instance, you may segment your mailing list on the basis of their engagement. Or you could segment your mailing list on the basis of their website activities, by demographics, by job title and so on.

The biggest benefit of segmenting your mailing list is that you know the exact characteristics of each segment. Based on that you can craft your messages and offers which will be a great deal more acceptable to the target audience.

segmenting your mailing list

2. You didn’t do enough homework

Often marketers follow this pattern.

They begin with identifying the objective of the email (welcoming, updating, thanking, sharing the big news, announcing a sale, etc). Next, they identify whether they need an image in the email. After that, they craft a few alternative email copies.

From that, they select the one that reads best. Finally, that email is sent to everyone on the mailing list.

Unfortunately, this process misses out some of the most critical activities that you need to do before you hit Send.

How you can fix it:

Subject-line is the first thing recipients get to read when your email reaches their inbox. If the subject line isn’t compelling enough, no one’s going to open your email.

The first thing you should do is test a number of subject lines. You can use tools like Coschedule and SubjectLine to see if your subject-line is truly optimized.

Next, you’ll want to check how your email looks like across various devices and email clients. Tools like Email on Acid allow you to check emails in a number of different situations.

test subject lines

3. Your mailing list has poor hygiene

As your mailing list begins to grow, a number of unsafe email addresses creep into the list. Unsafe email addresses include incorrect or invalid email addresses, role-addresses, accept-all addresses, disposable email addresses and so on.

There are a number of reasons why such email addresses are not safe for your email marketing. Emails sent to such addresses will bounce back undelivered (or at least produce near-zero engagement). Consequently, email servers and ESPs (Email Service Providers) start thinking you are a spammer and lower your sender reputation.

As a result, your subsequent email campaigns will see a serious drop in deliverability. Some email servers may outright reject your incoming email, while others will choose to place your email in the spam folder of recipients. All the resources you poured into marketing go down the drain.

How you can fix it:

Make sure you periodically verify your mailing list. Using an online bulk email checker tool, you can clean your mailing list.

Cleaning your mailing list is fast, secure and accurate. You upload your mailing list on whatever tool you’re using to clean the list.

After the tool runs your mailing list through its system, it will divide your mailing list into various categories. One category will be safe-to-send email addresses. The remaining emails would be categorized under invalid addresses, disposable addresses, role-addresses and so on.

clean the mailing list

4. Your emails are not authenticated

For your emails to produce results, they must first be delivered in the mailbox. One of the major issues that marketers battle today is email deliverability.

With spam messages flooding mailboxes, email servers are becoming increasingly cautious. They look at every incoming email with suspicion. Unless there is clear evidence that the email isn’t spam, the incoming email will likely to be pushed into the spam folder or even rejected.

Spammers and phishing attackers are constantly trying to find ways to cheat the email server into accepting their email as genuine email. In all this, your email must be able to convince the email server that it is genuine.

How you can fix it:

One of the most effective ways of establishing the fact that your email is neither spam nor malicious is email authentication.

In case you haven’t already done so, it’s strongly recommended you use SFP, DKIM, and DMARC to authenticate your emails. While it’s not possible to discuss these three in detail in this post, here’s a quick explanation.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is a mechanism that assures email servers that the email has been sent from the domain it claims to come from.

DKIM (Domain Key Identified Mail) authenticates that the contents of the email have not changed since it left the sender.

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) provides policy about SPF and DKIM and helps set an email address where key email statistics can be reported.

use SFP, DKIM, and DMARC to authenticate your emails

5. You’re trying to sell rather than help

While writing an email copy, a lot of people forget that the objective of writing a sales email is to offer a best-fit solution, not just to sell any which way you can.

As a result, a lot of emails we read on a daily basis is far too salesy to really interest us. Without caring for what problem the subscriber is trying to solve, such emails keep on trying to sell.

As a result, a sizeable chunk of these emails fails to convert.

New age selling is no longer about pushing whatever product you have. It’s evolved into a conscious process of helping customers solve a particular problem.

How you can fix it:

Sell more by helping your customers sell more.

While that applies to B2B sales, the underlying principle is universal and applies equally well in B2C. Focus on how you can address the pain points of your customers. Listen to your customers and help your customers make the best decision.

In a single line, the new age sellers are professionals who solve buyers’ problems. Make sure your email aims at solving buyers’ problems. Email marketing requires you to nurture and educate your prospects.

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Mayank Batavia

Mayank Batavia

Partnership Manager

Mayank is Partnership Manager at QuickEmailVerification. In addition to the exciting world of email and email marketing, he enjoys solving math puzzles.