Email is an incredible and still-undervalued marketing tool—one that allows you to reach out to both past and potential clients directly with a personalized message and a tailored value proposition. It’s something we use for our own marketing here at Grammar Chic, Inc., and it’s something we recommend for our clients.

Sometimes, though, the best intentions for an email marketing campaign fall short, and emails are sent out without any kind of response coming back. Sometimes, email marketing just plain doesn’t work—and when that happens, it’s important to ask yourself why.

There are a number of possible reasons, but really three main ones—and today we want to look closer at each of them.

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You Haven’t Segmented Your List

Email is best used in a highly targeted way, with messages being tailored to segments of your subscription list. For example, here at Grammar Chic, we have some clients for our resume writing division and other clients within our marketing wing. If we’re sending out a promotion for content marketing services, it doesn’t make as much sense to send it to the resume crew. Instead, we’d tailor it to the part of our email list that comes to us for marketing expertise.

Make sure you work with your email list to divide it and segment it into different audiences—and that your message always mirrors the people you’re sending it to.

Your Headline Doesn’t Grab Attention

This is always the struggle with email marketing: How do you grab attention and make your email stand out within busy inboxes? The headline is everything—your best and only chance at a strong first impression.

Some basic tips for writing good email headlines:

  • Keep it brief—seven words or less!
  • Avoid words that will run you afoul of spam filters—Sale, Free, 50% Off, etc.
  • Be clear about your value proposition; how will the reader benefit from reading your email?

You’re Not Clear in Your Value Proposition

And that brings us to the final point: Some emails don’t work because they just don’t have much to say. Everything from your headline to your body text to your call to action should spell out the value you’re offering to readers—the “what’s in it for me” of reading your message and responding to your CTA at the bottom. If your value offer is unclear, readers just won’t know what to do with your message.

These are all potentially fatal blows to your email marketing campaign, but the good news is that all of them can be corrected.