6 Reasons Your Email Marketing Efforts Are Not Effective

Despite the effort you put into creating emails and updating your mailing lists, if you aren't getting clicks, you're wasting your time.

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By Dan Steiner

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

At one time, email seemed the best way to reach customers in an Internet-connected era. However, over time, customers have grown accustomed to filtering through dozens of email messages to find those that are interesting. When combined with spam filters and Gmail's Promotions folder, marketers face big challenges in reaching customers.

If you're still launching mass email campaigns without fine-tuning your strategy, you may have noticed your results are disappointing. Despite the effort you put into creating emails and updating your mailing lists, if you aren't getting clicks, you're wasting your time.

Related: You Don't Need Much Cash to Implement These 5 Essential Marketing Strategies

Here are a few reasons your old email marketing efforts aren't working in today's environment, along with suggestions on fixing them:

1. You don't know your customers.

Blind sales pitches are no longer enough to win customers. There are a variety of methods that can be used to learn more about your recipients. My favorite is GetResponse, a tool that lets you monitor how customers are interacting with your emails. By making note of behaviors such as email opens, clicks and unsubscribes, you can get to know your own customers better.

2. You aren't personalizing.

Today's successful marketers use segmentation and retargeting to gather information on customers to personalize email messages. One of your customers that has purchased a particular product in the past, for instance, may be interested in a similar product you're launching this month. To accomplish this, you'll need a tech tool that helps you measure results and deliver those results in the form of emails.

3. Your subject lines need work.

With so many email messages coming in each day, customers often scroll through their inboxes to find items of interest. This is especially true now that your customers are more likely to be reading your email on a smartphone or tablet than a PC. Personalized subject lines can be a big help, but merely inserting a customer's first name won't suffice. You'll need to grab attention with what your subject line says, whether through the use of humor and fun or including something that meets a customer's demands.

Related: 5 Steps to Building a Pop-Up Email Strategy That Won't Annoy Readers

4. You aren't monitoring results.

If you aren't paying attention to your campaigns, you're missing a great opportunity. With every new campaign, monitor email opens, click-through rates and conversions. Does an email sent at one time of day get better results than one sent later or earlier? Does one subject line make more of an impact than another? Conduct A/B testing with your campaigns to get the information you need to be more successful with your next try. Modern tools, such as Optimizely or VWO, make testing campaigns a breeze.

5. Your contact databases are outdated.

An email marketing campaign is only as good as the email addresses in the recipient section. Even the best marketing message will be a waste of time if it lands in the inbox of an employee who left a position months earlier. If you aren't revisiting your contact database on a regular basis, you may notice that you're failing to get a return on investment on each of your campaigns. Invest in lead generation software that will automatically check your lists for outdated information and recommend updates.

6. You're overdoing it.

One of the worst things a business can do is abuse the email address a customer has provided. If you're collecting addresses, use them to send customers information they're likely to be interested in receiving, such as coupons and special offers. If you're bombarding your contacts several times a week with blatant marketing messages, you'll likely find people scramble for the unsubscribe link.

Email marketing is still a relevant part of reaching customers, but as businesses become more savvy, the pressure is on to create email messages that customers want to read. With the right tech tools in place, your brand can remain competitive and increase conversions on each campaign. You'll also learn more about your customers and be able to put that information toward developing future campaigns.

Related: 4 Ways to Tailor Your Marketing to Each Customer

Dan Steiner

CEO of Elite Legal Marketing

Dan Steiner is an entrepreneur, Internet-marketing expert and author from San Luis Obispo, Calif. He currently serves as Co-Founder and CEO of Elite Legal Marketing, a company offering law firm web design and SEO for lawyers. He has been published in a number of media outlets, including HuffingtonPost, Inc and Yahoo, among many others.

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