24 Reasons Why Your Email Campaign Is Failing

You may have generated the best-quality leads but still, the email open rate is low just as the conversions. Want to know why? 

You know that email marketing can help your business. Yet, your email campaign may be failing due to a few reasons. 

With dozens of analyzed email campaigns, I can say for sure that the best way to avoid low results is to know the issues ahead. There are four main metrics showing that your email campaign is failing. These are low:

  • Delivery, high spam & spam complaint rate
  • Open rate
  • Response rate
  • Conversion rate

Here are a few details on every problem and ways to avoid them.

Issue #1. Low delivery rate, high spam & spam complaint rate

Your email campaign fails. Low delivery, spam, and spam complaint rate. These three metrics depend on two factors, technical and human.

Technical issues

Email providers automatically examine the messages in detail. Here are the 6 most common mistakes marketers may face. 

Reason #1. A dynamic IP address

With a dynamic IP address (e.g., shared on Wi-Fi connection), you cannot be sure of its security and reputation. Low IP reputation results in low sender’s reputation and low email deliverability.

Solution: Send emails through a dedicated IP address only.

Reason #2. Low-quality email lists

Non-verified email addresses cause a high bounce rate. High bounce rate results in a low sender’s reputation. A low sender’s reputation leads to a block.

Solution: Always verify emails in your list and delete the invalid and catch-all ones.

Reason #3. Out-of-tune SPF, DKIM, DMARC

The three tech records make you immune to phishers, data capture, and spoofing. Without them, you and your emails are at high risk.

Solution: Always set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records.

Reason #4. Spam triggers

Spam words like free, now, discount, etc. trigger both the spam filters and people. Spam filters analyze emails and send spammy ones to the spam folder. Even if the email gets to the inbox, it can be marked spam by people. 

Solution: Avoid spam trigger words. Be less salesy and promotional.

Reason #5. Too heavy emails

Heavy attachments and HTML-messages influence the email deliverability. The delivery rate goes down, your reputation decreases, and you may get blocked soon.

Solution: Send plain-text emails or stick to the genuine text-to-pic ratio, 80-to-20.

Reason #6. Bulk emails

You have thousands of clients and leads to reach out to. Still, generalized bulk emails don’t work anymore. 

Solution: Create a buyer persona, split all your recipients into groups, and send scheduled personalized email campaigns.

The human factor

The email’s way doesn’t end with the spam filters passing. It still has chances to be marked spam by recipients. Here are a few reasons why they do this.

Reason #1. Unsolicited emails

An email from just someone carries little credibility. Most often, people mark unsolicited emails spam, and you are suffering because of a high spam-complaint rate.

Solution: Opt-in is a must-have.

Reason #2. Email frequency

Most often, people mark emails spam when they get too many emails. Too frequent emails drive even your subscribers mad to say nothing of cold leads.

Solution: Discover and stick to the frequency your audience is favorable to. Here are a few numbers for you to orient:


Reason #3. Too spammy emails

Heavy attachments, spam words, multiple colors, 3+ fonts, shortened links, and so on. A too bright email looks spammy.

Solution: One CTA link; two email fonts; three colors. 

Reason #4. No respect

When people receive an email they are not interested in, they can delete, unsubscribe, or mark spam (the worst thing ever). The best option is to lose one subscriber.

Solution: To reduce the spam complaint rate, add an unsubscribe link.

Issue #2. Low open rate

The sender’s name, the subject line, and the preheader are the three pillars the open rate leans on. They define whether your email is doomed to opening or not.

Reason #1. The sender’s name

If the sender’s name looks gibberish or unknown, your recipients may simply delete the email without opening it. This way, the email open rate goes down.

Solution: Keep the sender’s name short. Combine your name and the company name. Do not change the sender’s name often.

Reason #2. The subject line

Too long. Too short. Too many emojis. Too spammy set of words. An unfinished sentence. A gibberish subject line. 

Any of the mentioned issues calls your recipients to not open the email.

Solution: Double-check for misspellings. Keep it short (up to 10 words or 32 characters), avoid emojis and spam triggers. Keep the subject line relevant to the email body.

Reason #3. The preheader

An email with a blank preheader, no preheader, or a preheader like Not displaying correctly? View this email in the browser… Is doomed to ignoring.

Solution: Keep the preheader of up to 55 characters. Make it the medium between the subject line and the email content. Engage people to open the email.

Issue #3. Low response rate

The low email response rate is another sign showing there’s something wrong with the email content. Here’s a shortlist of the most popular mistakes.

Reason #1. No personalization

Bulk emails do not work anymore. Generalized messages with no personalization is a safe choice to reduce the email response rate. 

Solution: Analyze the people you are going to reach out to and compose personalized messages. 

Reason #2. Ordinary templates

The same template but different content. People are tired of thousand-times-used email templates. There’s no desire to collaborate with a person who doesn’t even bother about the email template.

Solution: Avoid free email templates. Create your own unique emails to impress leads and clients. 

Reason #3. Too long email

Respect your clients and their time. No one would love to read a thousand-words email. Especially if that’s just a plain-text email without any media to water it.

Solution: Stick to the ratio 80-to-20 (text-to-pictures). Be brief in your email. Here’s the optimal email length for a high response rate:


Reason #4. You don’t know your recipients

The person’s name is not enough to reach out to their hearts. People want to get the offers they need. Thus, you need to do a great job. 

Solution: Find their pain points, what bothers them, and what influences their decision. 

Reason #5. You are too selfish

Who will trust a magician saying he can fly? 

People hardly ever believe what you say about yourself. They want to hear about what others say about you. 

Solution: Rely on your testimonials, prove your credibility with someone’s review. Take advantage of referral programs.

Issue #4. Low conversion rate

When the email conversion rate is low, professionals get frustrated and tear their hair out. No panic, calm down and analyze the reasons why your email campaign is failing. 

Reason #1. Language

Idioms, acronyms, specific language, and colloquialisms have a negative impact on people. When the message is too hard to read, it gets deleted. Also, a too cold email doesn’t evoke a desire to communicate. 

Solution: Write professional emails as if you are writing to a person you know. 

Reason #2. Not-appropriate content

Want a cold lead to make a purchase from the very first email? That’s unlikely. Want a web-designer interested in a cold email marketing automation tool? Doubtfully.

Solution: Get sure people need what you are offering. Be appropriate with the offer that matches the stage of the customer lifecycle.

Reason #3. Too much promotion

Would your recipients be glad to read another “Our instrument works great and you won’t have to do anything”? Would another 75% OFF have a negative or a positive impact on them? Hardly so.

Solution: Keep calm, avoid spam triggers and aggressive advertising.

Reason #4. Colors

Colors influence the conversion rate either. They trigger people to unsubscribe, delete or mark your email spam. This way, the conversion rate would hardly skyrocket.

Solution: Use brand colors. The optimal color number in an email is 3.

Reason #5. CTA

If there’s no CTA in your message, your email is useless. If it blends into the background, you won’t get any conversions.

Solution: Design only one contrasting CTA button for your email. The red color is the best for CTA (of course, if your email is not in red colors; in this case, green would work better).

Reason #6. Boring email

Too long email, a canvas of text, dull offer. These won’t work. 

Solution: Insert pics, use videos in emails, compose engaging content, make interaction messages. 

Forget about failing email campaigns

To create an email campaign that won’t fail and will bring high results, keep in mind four key metrics that equal the email campaign failure. They are low delivery, open, reply, and conversion rates. 

If you have any of the above-mentioned low rates, analyze your campaign performance. To see what you need to improve, conduct A/B tests.

May success and high rates follow you! Except for spam and spam complaints rates 🙂

Alex Thomas

I've been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years and have worked with global and local companies on large scale SEO and PR campaigns. In my current role at Breakline®, I'm responsible for winning new business, creating, implementing and overseeing SEO campaigns, social communications, online and offline media relations.
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