You chose a trustworthy email service provider. Also, you work hard on your content and strive to make every email worthwhile. Still, your metrics refuse to rise: open rates are below industry standards and people don’t rush to click your links. What could be wrong? Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons your email marketing isn’t working – and how to fix it.

How can you tell your email marketing needs a boost?

I remember talking to a friend who had just started sending out emails to his list and was upset about his open rates. “My subscribers don’t care about what I send, look at my rates!” he told me. I did take a look: as it turns out, he was getting an average open rate of 45%, which is great!

Did you know that open rates, across all industries, are only 21.33%, according to MailChimp? So, before you declare your email marketing dead – or in a coma – take a look at the industry standards. You’ll find different stats depending on the source, but by comparison, you’ll get a good idea of how your emails are performing.

If you find your engagement to be way low, there may be aspects you’re ignoring. Email marketing is a fairly large puzzle and to make it work, you have to pay attention to every piece.

Here are three reasons why your metrics aren’t making you happy – and how to give them a boost.

People may not even see you

That’s right: people may never get a chance to see your beautiful template and that amazing piece of copy you wrote. Not if your list is stale.

Why? Because an outdated list has a dramatic impact on your sender reputation.

“Your behavior as an email sender is what makes or breaks your reputation,” says ZeroBounce COO Brian Minick. “Internet and email service providers consider your sender reputation when directing your messages to either inbox or spam. If you send emails to invalid and other bad addresses, you’re showing a lack of care for your list hygiene,” Minick explains.

So, apart from spending money to send emails to no one at all, chances are high you may be landing in spam. Even your legitimate subscribers, who want to hear from you, will have a hard time finding you there.

Furthermore, if you allow your list to continue to decline in quality, your emails may not be delivered at all – not even to spam. Worst case scenario: you end up on a blacklist and you can’t send any emails at all.

But let’s not dwell on scary scenarios when there’s such an easy way to prevent them! You can weed out risky contacts from your database quickly and maintain a good reputation. All you need is a reliable email verification tool that can detect and remove:

  • invalid addresses: why, oh, why would you keep them in your list? 
  • abuse emails: these are people who mark you as spam and make you look bad in the eyes of ISPs.
  • role-based emails, such as team@ or office@: whoever checks them tends to delete messages en masse and even label them as spam.
  • disposable emails: they get on your list when people download something from you but don’t want to receive your emails. Disposable addresses self-destruct and bounce.
  • catchall domains: they’re likely to bounce as they get full quickly. Plus, a company can decide anytime to turn off its catch-all setting, and then you’ll get a hard bounce. 
  • spam traps: their only role is to attract spammers and block them. Every time your email hits a spam trap, your reputation hurts. 

Apart from cleaning your email list in bulk, you can also use an email verification API on your signup and registration forms, or in any app you use to gather email addresses. This way, you’ll make sure no risky contacts get on your list in the first place. The API checks – in real time – every new subscriber’s email address and rejects the poor-quality ones automatically. 

You’re inconsistent and people forget about you

When was the last time you succeeded in a long-term project without being consistent? There’s so much to say about sticking to your goals. Whether it’s your desire to get in better shape, your career, or your email marketing, consistency pays off.

Let’s say you got excited about sending emails to your list of subscribers. You kept a steady schedule for a couple of months, and then slowly started to lose your enthusiasm. So you emailed once a month or every other month while watching your metrics decline.

Here’s the thing: one email here and there isn’t going to take you too far. You probably know this intuitively, but here are some practical reasons why:

  • people do forget who you are. Some subscribe to many newsletters and it’s hard for them to keep up. When you show up in their mailbox inconsistently, they may wonder who you are, unsubscribe and label you as spam on their way out. Ouch.
  • an irregular sending pattern is a red flag for ISPs. The more predictable you are, the higher your inbox placement. So, send your emails on the same day of the week (or month). It maintains your IP warm and helps you build rapport with your list.

“When we first started sending marketing emails, we didn’t pay much attention to our schedule. Sometimes, two or three months would pass without us sending anything,” InvoiceBerry CEO Uwe Dreissigacker told me. “As a result, our engagement was unsatisfying. Once we optimized our frequency, we noticed that open rates started to grow,” Dreissigacker added.

You may need to adjust your approach

I get it: most brands send marketing emails because they want to sell. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, email is the highest revenue-generating channel out there, with an ROI of $38 for every $1 spent. However, bombarding your subscribers with offers all the time isn’t a winning strategy.

So, take a look at the emails you sent in the past six months. How many of them were aggressively selling something? What if you found way to sell your products and services by focusing on content instead?

To keep track of your approach, you can use the famous Pareto principle: make 80% of your content educational and entertaining, and let the other 20% be sales-oriented. “Many marketers have a sales-first mentality, and I understand that,” says Mehdi Hussen, Digital Marketing Manager at SalesHandy. “We all want to hit our targets and it’s so rewarding when you see your conversion rates go up. But when you fail to connect with your audience first,” Hussen adds, “you fail in your goal to sell, too.”

What he recommends is an inbound approach, which focuses mainly on attracting your ideal customers through relevant content. “From my experience, it’s not only less costly but also yields more solid results in the long run,” Hussen explained.

Corina Leslie is the PR Manager for email validation company ZeroBounce, an Inc. 5000 honoree. Most often, you’ll find her on the ZeroBounce blog, where she shares her tips and interviews experts on digital marketing and PR. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

ZeroBounce is a leading data provider featured on The DataExchange, RingLead’s open marketplace for transparent and flexible data buying. This strategic partnership empowers marketplace users to easily discover, connect, and structure ZeroBounce data into their business systems through a direct integration with RingLead’s Data Quality Platform.

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