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Why Did My Email Campaign Fail?

With the digital world rapidly moving, it’s no surprise that the quantity of emails being distributed has continued to skyrocket. Although email isn’t a new means of communication, the ease of reading and responding to them has drastically simplified so much that it is not much more effort than sending a text message.

This doesn’t take away from the inevitable morning ritual of grabbing your coffee (or tea – although I still don’t understand the fulfillment) and sitting down to “check your email.”

Now keep in mind your morning process, and then apply it to your customer. They are just as busy and underwater in a constant barrage of emails that for you to make your message heard – you have to stand out and adjust expectations.

It’s typical that we hear the question: Why did my email campaign fail? To that, here are a few simple thoughts…

1. Does your content match your audience?

Knowing that your content is good, engaging information with a clear message and call-to-action is important. However, making sure that you’re sending this campaign to the correct contacts is even more important. Do an audit of your database. Are you sending out emails to the entire list? Work on segmenting your lists by levels of engagement, areas of interest, those that are prospects vs those that need to be nurtured.

Pull your last three campaign statistics and take the top 10% engaged. Change your messaging for these individuals, do some a/b testing. You’ve got to know what makes them take action and stay engaged. Most of the time it is different methods and messages for different users. Even if you start on a small scale – understand your audience.

For more on list segmentation, check out our previous blog One Size Does NOT Fit All: The Vital Importance of Email List Segmentation.

2. Your customers are receiving a lot of emails

This is a simple fact. Mashable released an article with some interesting email stats. The most shocking, “144.8 billion emails are sent worldwide every day.” Now take into account these stats were released a few years ago meaning the numbers have only increased since then. The average worker spends about 28% of their week reading/responding to emails. This means that there is a high chance that your email got lost in translation. Whether it was the time of day, workload, any other outside reasoning, it just may be that your customer overlooked your email this time. Don’t take it personally.

3. Your customers are receiving a lot of emails…part 2.

Please, please, please…keep your emails short and sweet. This is one of those “marketing best practices” that cannot get said enough and people still don’t listen. If your email should come with a kindle version, it’s too long. If your email should have a table of contents, it’s too long. I’m joking but in all reality – you have seconds to keep your customers attention. There is no need for a huge fluffy introduction. Give them the information – short and sweet. If it’s on your iPhone, it shouldn’t be more than a scroll or two in length.

As brilliantly stated in this Forbes article, “If Lincoln was able to eloquently tell a divided nation about the importance of humanity and equality in 271 words (The Gettysburg Address), I think we should be able to send work-related emails that are even shorter.”

4. What was your measure of success?

So often it is easy to review opens/click rates/form submissions and decide whether or not a campaign failed based on the numbers. In all actuality, there are so many other ways to view the information. Your customer is seeing your name, gaining awareness about your organization; they are being nurtured.

Just because you didn’t get 30% of your contact list to open the email – maybe the 5% that did are your actual target audience. Nurture those individuals throughout the buying process. Tweak your messaging, and resend to the others. Try to view campaigns as a larger picture and not just by the percentages. Maybe, just maybe, your campaign didn’t “fail” after all.

Originally posted on Channel Chatter, Submitted by: James Williams

James is responsible for working with suppliers in the creation of digital campaigns for their partners. Always researching industry trends, he provides guidance and expertise in the components of a successful campaign while managing the suppliers' annual marketing projects with Zift.

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