When Email Marketing Doesn’t Work: 4 Tips For Getting it Right

April 7, 2015

Maybe you are tired of hearing about the importance (and wonders) of email marketing, because frankly, it doesn’t appear to be all that when you, as a BtoB publisher, try to leverage it in your own strategy.

There are a lot of people in our industry who will tell you that email marketing should be the center of your strategy for leads and conversions. After all, your whole goal is to attract readers, get them to register on your site, keep them coming back to your site, and eventually convert them to customers (or frankly, revenue). It’s true email marketing can help you with all that (many have seen success with it). But, do you really need to send daily emails to your list? Is it really the core activity that helps you drive revenue?

That depends.

It’s that simple.

Maybe you’ve already heard this too: email marketing works, if you do it right. That’s the key. Well, that and your audience. Email marketing should be part of your strategy. How much a part depends on the direction of your business and who and where your audience is.

If you consider that your primary goal is to drive registrations to your site, you need high-quality interactions to do so. In many cases, a well-placed and landed email will have far greater value than a Facebook like or a reTweet. Does that mean you need to focus on email exclusively? No. It just means, (again) that you need to do it right.

So, how do I do it right?

  1. As we mentioned before: know your audience (and their needs). You need to send them contextual content. What would compel them to open an email (aside from you simply asking them do to so—which by the way, likely won’t work)? What do they want and need? What value are you giving them?
  2. Don’t skimp on your subject line. Again, what compels them to open one email out of 100s or even 1000s they receive in a day? What will make them say, “Wow!” or “Cool!” or “What?!!!”
  3. Communicate the value you are offering, right now. Are you over it yet? This is all about the same thing: knowing your audience and what they want. What are you giving them that they value enough to open up that email? Don’t promise your travel readers five ducklings on Easter, just because. What made you think they wanted ducklings? They may live in a studio apartment and not even celebrate Easter. How about a five-part series on five hidden gems for travel destinations in the off-season? The reader wants to know what’s in it for them. 
  4. Keep it clean, and simple. Yes, mobile responsive, enticing design is key. But, it doesn’t have to be elaborate either. The same goes for format and amount of content. Sure, you may have a 20-post series on best practices for customer service. But, that doesn’t mean it all has to fit in your newsletter. Choose three tips and one, maybe two, calls-to-action. Deliver on the value offered, but don’t overwhelm. Then, make sure you lead clearly to the calls-to-action. Apply strong design principles that guide the eye to the action of consequence: register, buy now, read more—whatever it is. Don’t hide it in plain sight (or text, in this case).

Of course, even after applying these tips, you may find that email marketing just isn’t working for you (or more to the point, your audience). But, more likely, it still holds a place of value in your strategy—you just need to figure out where.