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By Chris Christoff, co-founder of MonsterInsights, the leading WordPress plug-in for Google Analytics.

Are you having trouble keeping your email subscribers engaged? If so, you’re not alone. Most websites have a mailing list, which means it’s not uncommon for one person to have 20 to 30 active email subscriptions at any given time.

The widespread use of email is great for online businesses, but it comes with a price. You have to work hard and deliver a top-notch experience if you want subscribers to continue interacting with your brand.

Today, I’m going over four of the most common reasons marketing emails fail and what you should do instead. I believe that understanding these costly mistakes can help you anticipate and overcome many of the roadblocks that will inevitably appear during your journey.

Let’s begin!

1. You Didn’t Send A Welcome Email

Your audience expects to get an email from your business moments after hitting the subscribe button. Odds are, you can relate to this feeling, too. You want to continue the conversation when you’re invested in a company enough to hand over your email address.

Many marketing teams fail to send new subscribers welcome emails, and their numbers show it. The longer a company waits to reach out to a prospect, the less likely they are to respond to the message.

If you wait too long, users may forget they subscribed to your list. This situation can hurt your email deliverability rate and overall engagement. People are not interested in opening emails from addresses they don’t recognize. In fact, many subscribers will mark these messages as spam.

What to do instead: The best way to handle this situation is to create and schedule a welcome email for new subscribers. Your email copy should have the following:

• A genuine thank you

• Brief, conversational explanation of your company’s mission

• Clear expectations for the future

• Helpful resources

Welcome emails have the highest open rate out of all other marketing emails, so this is one mistake you should correct as soon as possible.

2. Personalization Is Not A Priority

Failing to personalize emails for your subscribers can seriously impact your conversion rate. Studies show that over 70% of shoppers expect brands to deliver personalized content and offers. It makes sense. We want businesses to understand our unique goals, pain points and roadblocks.


If your content isn’t relevant, most people will ignore your email. Now, this can happen once or twice. But if a considerable portion of your audience consistently avoids your emails, your emails may end up in spam.

What to do instead: I suggest segmenting your audience based on their interests. You can get started by sending out feedback forms, talking to your audience on social media and reviewing your on-site analytics.

Once you’ve divided your subscribers into groups, create email campaigns catered to their interests. For example, if a customer bought shoes from an online clothing store, the company would likely send updates to this customer when they get new shoes in stock.

Depending on your industry, you could have 10 or more segments. Carefully separate subscribers based on their needs, and you’ll avoid this common email marketing mistake.

3. There’s No Clear Call-To-Action

Your call-to-action (CTA) determines what a user does after reading your email. If you don’t have a clear CTA, many subscribers will close your email and move on with their day.

The CTA you choose will depend on your industry, marketing goals and buyer personas. Common actions include reading a blog post, checking out a product landing page or registering for an event. However, you’re free to experiment with different requests and formats.

Another mistake I see business leaders make in this department is adding multiple CTAs to the same email. The result is subscribers get choice paralysis and leave before committing to one action.

What to do instead: First, I’ve found that choosing one CTA per marketing email is far more effective than multiple options. Before you decide on your call-to-action, think about the goal of your email. What would you like readers to do when they get to the end of your message?

If you approach every email with this question, you’ll have a much easier time sticking to one CTA. It’s also worth mentioning that if you avoided the last mistake I mentioned and segmented your audience, you can personalize CTAs for your subscribers based on how they’ve engaged with your brand,

4. Emails Are Not Optimized For Mobile

The last mistake I want to discuss today is failing to optimize emails for mobile devices. At this point, we know that it’s essential to have a mobile-responsive site. Customers who can’t interact with your online store will find a competitor with a working storefront.

You can carry this same principle to your email marketing campaign. A majority of people use their smartphones to read emails throughout the day. If your messages are disjointed, missing images and overall sloppy, you will see a lower engagement rate, and more people will choose to unsubscribe.

What to do instead: Most email service providers (ESPs) have mobile-friendly templates available with their plans. I suggest using a simple, single-column design. You want to make it as easy as possible for subscribers to get the full context of your message.

It’s also essential to keep your email headline short and sweet. Email subject lines get cut off sooner on mobile devices, so you have to put your message front and center if you want visitors to click through.

You should also test your emails in a live environment. We ask employees with different phones to register for our email list so we can make adjustments for specific devices. You’ll want to frequently test emails so you can avoid sending poorly optimized messages.

Final Thoughts

Email marketing is still one of the best ways to grow your business in 2022. Competition is fierce, though, so you have to take the extra steps to stand out from the crowd. Hopefully, the tips I presented will help with your long-term planning and make future interactions with subscribers more meaningful.


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