Why Your Email Marketing Campaign Isn’t Working

So you started an email marketing campaign and then…nothing. You’re not sure what you’re doing wrong, but it’s definitely not working. First, make sure none of the following apply to you:

You’re sending too many messages.

It’s not even noon, and I’ve already received about 20 emails – and that’s without taking my work account into consideration. For many people, that number may even seem low. The point is this: people send and receive a whole lot of email. Only a very small percentage of that constant wave of emails should be from you. Be helpful, not annoying.


This should go without saying but…seriously, don’t ever do this. Not only are you practicing poor Internet etiquette, but you’re probably also being filtered into everyone’s spam folders.

You’re not offering anything useful.

People handed over their email addresses to you with the idea that they would get something positive out of the transaction, too. Make sure your content is relevant, helpful, interesting, and even funny (if that’s your thing).

Your subject lines aren’t interesting enough.

You don’t even want to know how many emails I’ve gotten in the past two weeks with the subject line “New Year, New [blank]”. I have not opened any of them. The subject line of your email is your one chance to grab attention. You want to sound more like a newspaper headline and less like an advertisement.

You haven’t included a call to action.

What do you want people to do in response to your email? Do you want them to click on a link? Use the coupon you sent them? Download a whitepaper? Tell your audience what you’d like them to do – and make sure you don’t bury it at the very bottom of the message.

“But Zen Media!” you say, “None of that applies to me, especially because I would never market anything with caps lock. What now?”

Never fear, dear reader. We have some suggestions for you.

Ensure your email is readable, even with the images disabled.

Many email clients automatically block images unless the user has specifically allowed them. For this reason, you’re going to want to make sure your message is readable both with and without images. Make sure descriptive text is set up in a useful way, using keywords from your marketing copy, and don’t rely on images to deliver your most important information.

Ask for feedback.

An easy way to engage your readers is to ask an open-ended question in your email, then direct them to reply via your Facebook account or Twitter mention – even an email reply, if you’re up for it. To take it one step further, you could even specifically ask them for feedback about your email campaign.

Keep email client viewer sizes in mind.

Most popular computer email clients have a default message window size of about 400×600. To complicate matters further, the viewable space on an iPhone screen is about 320×350. If you want your messaging to easily fit inside these dimensions, you may have to reconsider your design.

Have you found success with your email marketing program? Let us know your tips!

Photo credit


She is the founder & CEO of Zen Media. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Forbes, Businessweek, and Inc have all recognized her as one of the Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs in the field of marketing. Shama has built a global audience and is known for helping brands succeed in the digital age. She is a bestselling author, an international keynote speaker, and has been named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Marketing for four years in a row.



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