The Most Common Email Marketing Issues

Avatar for Kat Garcia Kat Garcia
Avatar for Kat Garcia Kat Garcia

April 5, 2022

7 min read

The Most Common Email Marketing Issues

Although you may be the most seasoned email marketer, there are still email marketing issues that happen despite your best efforts. If you’ve been keeping up with our blog post, it comes as no surprise that email marketing is one of the most important elements of your success. Despite social media, chatbots, apps, and other forms of communication with your audience - email remains number one.

However, when you work in email marketing you start to become familiar with the ‘buts’. For example, “This is a great campaign, but the open rate is slow” … “But click rate is low”… “But conversion rates aren’t consistent”. This comes with the territory. Regardless of your best efforts there typically is always a “but”. But, that’s where we come in. In this article we will walk you through the most common email marketing issues and your best plan of action to combat them.

It is important to keep in mind that inboxes are a pretty big hot spot. They are usually overflowing and saturated with information and new messages. It is not always a walk in the park to make sure your email campaigns stand out.

Your Key Performance Indicators

Let’s talk about what you should be paying attention to. Your key performance indicators. A quick rundown on the metrics that you should be studying and should be part of every email marketer’s vocabulary:

  • Delivery Rate: How many successful deliveries as a percentage of list size.
  • Open Rate: How many subscribers open as a percentage of emails delivered.
  • Click Rate: The number of clicks within an email as a percentage of opens.
  • SPAM Complaints: The complete number of recipients who mark the email as “SPAM” or junk for each email sent.
  • Active Ratio: Number of email recipients who consistently open and interact with emails as a percentage of list size.
  • Unsubscribe Rate: Number of recipients who unsubscribe as a percentage of emails delivered.
  • Post-Click Activity: The volume of leads generated, products sold, or other brand-specific objectives completed as a result of email marketing to a targeted audience. Note: Metrics for post-click activity are usually available within a website analytics (e.g. Google Analytics) or e-commerce analytics (e.g. Shopify) platform.

You’ve crafted a beautiful email marketing campaign, but something’s just not right. How do you figure out what is the cause of your poor ROI? When you take a look at some of the KPIs we mentioned above, this should help you figure out what is the root of the issue.

Bonus tip: when you are analyzing your KPIs and trying to determine the best course of action for your email campaigns, many email marketers jump the gun. Give yourself enough time and enough ‘sends’ to uncover a true pattern before making any radical changes.

Evaluating your KPIs

Your delivery rates are not where they should be. When you send out your emails, there is no guarantee that they will land in a recipient's inbox. Sometimes your promotional emails will be directed to ‘spam’, the reason for this lies with recipients' email service providers (ESPs). ESPs have grown more advanced and sensitive to marketing emails and will do their best to keep a clean inbox for their users. But, there is a way around this, take a look at your email marketing list and your subscribers. Has your list grown old? Are your emails still active? Consider using a tool to clean your lists and make sure that you’re sending to valid and real addresses. We’ll talk more about email list cleaning later in this article too!

You have a low open rate. As we discussed, a low open rate means the number of subscribers and recipients that receive your emails are not opening them, regardless if they made it to the right inbox or not. When you are addressing a low open rate issue, try thinking outside the box in terms of the subject line or how you are going to hook your reader. The better the subject line the better chances of a user opening your email.

If you have a low active ratio, try reigniting the spark between you and your users. Consider testing out a re-engagement campaign to get people to love your emails again. A great way to do this is by providing a valuable element within every email. This can come in the form of an informative blog post that talks about the industry’s pain points or a promo code for 10% off their next purchase. This also helps weed out any recipients that no longer want to receive communication from you anymore. Although it sounds backward to want people to unsubscribe it will help you in the long run because when you’re sending to people that are interested and want to hear from you, your sender reputation goes up! This is great because once you start a pattern of a better sender reputation score, ESPs will be more likely to deliver you to the inbox rather than ‘spam’.

The Big Issues

Have You Been Growing Your Email List?

One of the most common email marketing issues is that your email list has grown old and stale. The most successful and effective email marketing campaigns are having a healthy and clean list of contacts that actually want to hear from you. But you have to consistently try to entice people to subscribe and hear about your product or service. The good news is that there are many ways and opportunities to grow your email list.

The biggest factor when growing your email list is consistency. Regardless of which method you pursue, you should remain consistent in your efforts.

  • Take the guesswork out of the equation. Make it easy for your visitors to subscribe to your communication. This process should not consist of many steps or forms to fill out. Make it as easy and simple as possible. Make sure to add your subscription link to every page of your website.
  • Use incentives with caution. When you offer a discount or prize for a user's subscription, this can take out the value of your product or service. You want to make sure that your information stands alone and that those on your email list are genuinely interested in what you have to say, not just offer.
  • When you use your social media, always include a link to your subscription! This could be in the form of a call to action (CTA) at the end of a Facebook post. This simple addition can help you grow your list substantially.

Have You Checked In On Your List Lately?

Now that we have gone over the best ways to grow your email marketing list, sometimes having a list that’s ‘too big’ can become overwhelming. A subscription that has many many emails has a higher probability of more unused emails in their database or those with syntax errors because of a typo when subscribing.

Take a look at frequently bounced emails, and start removing them as they continue to bounce. When you have too many bounces it can become a risk to your sender reputation score and put you in jeopardy of ending up on a spam blacklist, and then none of your emails will get delivered (EEK!).

Filter out, inactive users. If you notice subscribers are no longer opening or clicking on your content, take them off your list. This helps you focus on those who are genuinely interested in your product’s content.

Give your subscribers an opportunity to opt-out if they’d like. This is also mandatory for any email communication to comply with the CAN SPAM Act.

However, if you have a list of thousands and thousands of emails it becomes almost impossible to go through every single one to make sure that they are all delivered and not spelled incorrectly.

When you use an email checker, you are able to clean your lists with ease. You will then be able to see which emails are deliverable, risky, or just plain wrong. It takes out all the guesswork and allows you to focus on the content of your campaigns.

Have You Evaluated How Often You Send Emails?

Now that you have a beautiful large and squeaky-clean list, have you thought about your timing? How many times are you emailing your subscribers? This can be one of the biggest mistakes of email marketing when you send too many emails. Most people pay more attention to what you have to say when it doesn’t come so frequently. If you over-communicate you run the risk of many many unsubscribes.

It is so tempting to send out an email every time you have a great new idea or a new marketing idea to test out but make sure that you are sending these messages strategically. If you want to improve your results and avoid spamming, keep in mind what your users actually want to read and receive. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Would my mom want to receive this?”.

Try segmenting your lists. List segmentation is breaking down your list into different categories. For example, if you know a certain number of subscribers love your product X but not your Y, send them only email communications for product X. Or you could even filter by geography, only sending information that pertains to subscribers in a certain area.

Are Your Emails Too General?

As we mentioned above about sending emails to those who have proven to be interested in certain topics, make sure that you aren’t combating this by sending too generic emails. With list segmentation, when you personalize your emails it helps your overall KPIs.

First impressions are everything. So when you hook your readers with a catchy subject or if you use their first name in the subject line, their eye is automatically drawn to your message.

Avoid being too cheesy. You want a personalized message to actually feel like another person wrote it to them, not a generated message from a website.

You could even include images or gifs to help you stand out and make your point. Sometimes images are much easier to interpret than emails with long descriptions.

The Most Common Email Marketing Issues

We have covered your most common KPIs, and what they mean. Now you are able to take this information and run! Now that you have an understanding of what metrics you should keep an eye out for and the best practices to help avoid any mistakes in email marketing.

Remember to keep a lively and growing list but maintain its hygiene. This can be done through a software solution such as Emailable, where cleaned lists are downloaded right to your computer. Personalize your lists and make sure that you’re not sending too generic content.

Discover why the world’s largest companies choose us to improve email deliverability

Start Free Trial