Reasons Your Email Campaign Sucks

Email Campaigns

Your email campaign sucks.

You know it when you saw those pathetic email campaign tracking statistics on your dashboard. Looking at the non-existent graphs, you’re now scratching your head and wondering, what’s went wrong?

You know email marketing is important for every business, as according to the Content Marketing Institute (2017), 93% of B2B marketers use email as their main channel to distribute content.

Email marketing helps you to turn all those potential audiences into loyal customers. It is a popular lead generation method used by bloggers and business owners to promote new content and products, and turn those content into those sweet, sweet profit (or ad revenue ;))!

However, you won’t get to generate those sweet sales with those poorly performed email campaigns. So, what’s exactly is the secret formula behind a successful email campaign?

Send Email to Those Who Never Subscribe to You

Buying email addresses from shady third-party to populate your subscriber list is ultimate a death penalty in email marketing. That’s one way to get yourself blacklist or reported as spam by email users.

Subscribers who receive promotional email from a complete stranger or business they never heard of will instantly regard you as spam, thinking where the freaking world you get their email address. This, without a doubt, will DEFINITELY kill your business’s reputation instantly.

Bad CTA Form for Email Campaign

How are you going to expect a successful email campaign with limited subscribers? You are going to build a list of subscribers who willingly receive your email. And what’s a better way to get subscribers other than having CTA forms on your website?

You know your CTA form is bad when your lead conversion rate is low. To boost the number of subscribers, look for elements below before you embed it on your website.

  • Compatible – Is it compatible with major browsers? Is it responsive? How does it look on tablets and smartphones?
  • Visible on the webpage – Your users need to spot your form before they get any chance to sign up for your newsletter. Use a pop-up form to grab your viewers’ attention!
  • Tempting words / Lead magnets – Maybe something like a 20% discount off sitewide? Or a free sample kit for those who sign up?
  • Contrast color – What color do the people associate a great discount with? The color red! Use a background color (maybe black or white?) to get the color red stand out.
  • Privacy Policy – Your subscribers want their information to be handled nicely. Try linking a Privacy Policy page or put a little disclaimer underneath the form to declare how you are going to use their data.

To achieve the best possible result, try A/B testing with different wordings, color or even layout to see which version generate the most leads. Some WordPress plugins such as OptinMonster allows easy A/B Testing for lead generating form in WordPress sites.

Your Email End Up In Spam Box

How did you know your subscribers get notified when you send out your emails? Email providers have their own way to identify spam, and you don’t want your emails to stuck in the spam box.

So how do you avoid getting your email to send to these unwanted places?

  • Your IP address’s reputation
  • Tell your subscribers to add you to their address book
  • Never send email to those who never subscribe to your email list
  • Use a reliable Email Service Provider
  • Have a From address in your message
  • Try to keep email as clean as possible with minimum HTML and CSS
  • Do not overuse promotional word and UPPERCASE words
  • Make sure to have contact information and unsubscribe link underneath the email
  • There’s no broken link in the email
  • And links in your email are safe. And does not link to sites that are flag by browsers as unsafe or spammy.
  • Keep yourself updated with anti-spam laws and email providers’ guideline

For reference, you can view Prevent mail to Gmail users from being blocked or sent to spam from Google for more information on how your email could be classified as spam.

Unattractive Email Subject Lines

You have subscribers and your emails are sent to heir inbox. Your subscribers are notified immediately after you send your email.

Now all you need to do is wait for your future customers/returning audiences to open the email.

But sadly, they don’t.

Your subscribers are receiving emails every day, you want to make sure your email subject grabs their attention instantly once they saw it in their notification. Below are tips to write awesome email subject lines.

  • Short and Simple
  • Interesting and unique
  • Do not overuse emoji, UPPERCASE, and promotional words
  • A/B testing (which offered by MailChimp)

Unresponsive Email Template

Do you know that there’s 41.9% of email being opened on smartphones or tablets in the first quarter of 2019 according to Litmus (2019)? This means delivering an email that requires your subscribers to pinch and zoom in their smartphone view is a huge NO-NO.

A responsive email template makes a better user experience. All the info in the email needs to be presented clearly in various screen width without the additional hustle.

Although there are a ton of “responsive” email templates in the market, it is important to send a test email before sending it to your subscribers. And view it in devices with different width. This is to make sure there’s no awkward margin or bad compatibility.

The Color

Bad design in email often will lead to a bad impression of the brand. Other than being unresponsive, the bad color scheme comes in as being a nuisance to readability and can be mistaken as spam.

Overuse of color can result in subscribers are unable to identify the important part of the email. Low contrast between text and backgrounds also decreases readability.

In the other hand, cutting back color gives your audiences a more professional look, and also putting more emphasis on the main element with color, for example, a CTA button.


Images are pretty when decorating your email, however, it is best for images to stay minimal in the email templates. Rely too much on images such as using the image as the CTA button or showing important information, for instance, is very, VERY risky.

Images can slow down the rendering time of your email. In situations when the internet connections aren’t at its best, your images might be unable to load.

When your email mainly consists of images, those who unable to view it don’t know the context of your email, which, is a clear sign of a fail email campaign. It is best to have one or two decorative images in your email instead of a full-blown gallery of text-in-images.

Too Much Going On in Your Email

You want your email to look as pretty as it possibly could, so you decided to use HTML/CSS, images, audio or even videos to send out to your subscribers.

This, however, is not a wise move.

The first downside is the loading time, imagine the time that the email provider took to render this fiasco of content. Your subscribers might not have the time for that.

The second would be not able to get your point across, of course, a ton load of beautiful animations, images, and colorful text is pretty. But your audiences are unable to focus on what’s important for them.

This means your subscribers can miss the sale pitch because of the distracting background color and decorative image!

Not Having a Plain Text version of your Email

The plain text version of your email is a must. In some environments where internet connection is limited, the plain text version is what your subscribers will see.

In the plain text version, color are most likely to be not available, so make sure to use heading to get your voice across your email. Most email service providers include a plain text version of the email aside from the HTML version so make sure to check with your email service provider with that!

Being too Formal

Present yourself as professional and formal isn’t a bad thing. But a successful salesperson never starts a conversation with their products alongside monotone dialog. That’s boring and too business-like.

Try to greet your subscribers first, when a subscriber signs up for your newsletter, make the First Name and Last Name compulsory for all your subscribers.

Greet your subscribers with their first name, make them feel like they are talking to a person, you need to make the impression that every email they received is personalized just for them. Sending an email to your potential customers as if you are sending it to your all-time besties.

Being too Promotional

Remember those spammy emails with UPPERCASE word and emoji with the words “free”, “dollar” in it? Yup, avoid those, you don’t want to look like one of them.

Being too promotional can result in mistaken as spam. It includes overuse the UPPERCASE words, spamming the content with persuasive keywords (free, dollar, hot, sexy, etc.) and making false claims.

These aggressive tactics will deem to be scammy and unreliable.

There’s a lot of boring content also using superlative, UPPERCASE, pushy persuasive words. Your audiences might subconsciously categorize them as those other boring content, just like those YouTube videos with the words “unbelievable” or “you won’t believe” in them.

Not-So-Obvious CTA Button/Link In the Email

You have an attractive headline and your subscribers show great interest in your content. They want to see more of it, but they couldn’t find the link to the content they are interested in.

Use color, font size, font weight to highlight your CTA link, use HTML and CSS to create a compelling button to get your subscribers’ attention. One thing to make sure is that your link is not broken and does not lead to a spammy website.

No Unsubscribe Button

This is a fairly important part of the email, it is also required in certain email marketing services. If your subscribers don’t like you anymore, let them unsubscribe.


Never look down on the power of email marketing. It is okay to spend some extra time on an email campaign. It is best to run A/B testing to see the maximum result.

  • Always sending test emails to various emails hosted in different email providers and view it in different screen widths and devices
  • A/B testing
  • User experience is important
  • Short and simple, and a CTA link/button
  • An option to unsubscribe
  • Do not spam

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