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5 Signs it’s Time for an Email Marketing Makeover

These days, just about anyone can create and send out email campaigns to their list of prospects. But just because it’s nearly push-button simple to do, doesn’t mean it always gets the results you want.

And if your beautifully-designed, precisely-formatted and succinctly-written email went over like a lead balloon, it doesn’t mean the end of the world. It just means that you should take a step back and consider making some changes to your approach.

The thing is, you know your email marketing isn’t working as well as it could. The results you’re getting are tepid at best and engagement levels are plateauing, or worse, falling. You’re just not sure what to do to fix it.

The good news is, you’re about to learn. And even better, it’s easy to implement these changes and start seeing a measurable increase in all the email engagement metrics that matter — opens, clicks and conversions.

1. The Sign: Your Email List Isn’t Growing as Fast as it Once Did

Much like a doctor diagnoses your symptoms to determine the best course of action to make you better, you’ve got a sick email campaign (and I don’t mean that in a good way!) and you’ve got to find a remedy.

One of the key signs of a floundering email campaign is that the list just isn’t growing. People may subscribe, but they also leave just as quickly — if they even subscribe at all. The rate of growth for your list has slowed, plateaued, or worse, reversed.

The Fix: Create a New Offer

Take a look at what you’re offering your prospects in order to get them to join your list in the first place. Oftentimes this is an eBook or a video. But how old is it? Is the information you’re sharing outdated or no longer applicable?

Try creating a new offer — a new ebook, a new video, or something completely different. Things like templates that your prospects can just “fill in the blanks” with or roadmaps that outline different strategies in a step-by-step way are always popular no matter what industry you’re in.

2. The Sign: Prospects Simply Don’t Engage With Your Message

Maybe you’ve got a sizeable email list, but the open rate barely registers as a blip on the email marketing radar. And the click-through rate is even more abysmal.

If you only send emails out when you want to sell something, and you don’t take the time to get to know your prospects and their goals as they relate to what you’re selling, no matter how great your sale is, it will find itself squarely in the recipient’s trashcan.

The Fix: Start an Email Marketing Calendar

The best email newsletters don’t just sell — they go much further. They share stories of the people behind the company. They ask subscribers to share their own stories. They go behind the scenes and share insights about their product — where it comes from, who makes it, why people love it.

And they don’t do this once or twice, but consistently. They establish rapport with their subscribers so that the subscribers actively look forward to receiving the company’s messages.

One of the easiest ways to start building an email strategy like this is through the use of an email marketing calendar. Just as you schedule out sales emails now, look for ways to fit in emails about other things your customers value.

Are there any new laws that are going to change your industry? Any big developments on the horizon that customers should know about? Any interesting stories about where their product comes from or how it got started? Schedule these into the calendar as well. It’s a different type of marketing — one that fosters open communication and mutual respect between subscriber and sender.

3. The Sign: You’re Sending Out a Blanket Message to All Your Subscribers – And Getting Little in Terms of Interaction

If you’re sending out the same message to everyone, don’t be surprised if your open and click-through rates are low. This happens because not everyone is at the same stage in the customer journey or the sales cycle.

Some users are simply looking for more information, while others are ready to buy. Still others may be somewhere in between. By sending the same message to all of them, you’re mistakenly assuming that they’re all starting at the same place. As a result, readers will find that your sales announcement or any other message you send them isn’t really tailored to their needs — and that your product may not be, either.

The Fix: Start Segmenting Your List

Most modern email marketing platforms allow you to segment your list, and it doesn’t cost you anything except a little time to make it happen. The great thing about segmentation is that you can segment by nearly any criteria. Want to segment your users by demographic? By product purchased? By whether or not they even bought in the first place? Provided you have that information, you can do that.

And if you’re looking to convert people from prospect to customer, you can put together a drip campaign that overtime builds prospects interest to eventually getting them to convert.

And if you don’t have that information, it may be time to upgrade to a platform that collects it for you, like Kissmetrics.


4. The Sign: Everyone’s Getting the Same Message So You’re Not Sure What’s Causing Opens and Clicks to Rise or Fall

If you haven’t segmented your list yet, but you’ve just sent out a campaign and are seeing a surprisingly high response — that’s great!

What caused it?

Was it the subject line? The design? The offer?

Not sure?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find out? You can.

The Fix: Start A/B Testing Your Emails

Just like with ab/b testing your landing pages and other areas of your site, so too should you be a/b testing your emails. This works even better when paired with list segmentation since you can determine what, precisely, encouraged customers to click or convert.

What resonates with one group of people (for example, customers just looking for information) may not necessarily “click” with people who are ready to buy. By segmenting and a/b testing your emails, you’ll see exactly what energizes each segment of your list and propels them to convert.

5. The Sign: People Open Your Message or Click, But Don’t Purchase

It could be that your open rate or click-through rate is good, but you’re not getting that all-important conversion. People just aren’t buying. And while the reason could lie in your site itself — that’s a topic for another post.

For the purpose of this article, we’ll assume that your site is also converting at a steady clip, but conversions from emails directly aren’t getting the results you’d hoped for.

The Fix: Start Retargeting Campaigns

Most prospects come to a site, look around, and leave. You’ve worked hard and spent money getting them this far. Are you just going to let them go so easily?

No! Which is why it’s a good idea to get started with retargeting campaigns. Retargeting can show your customer a relevant ad for your site across a wide range of other web properties — even those you don’t own. What if they could be reminded of a product they looked at yesterday while browsing the morning’s news or weather?

This is just one example of what a retargeting campaign can do. Done correctly, it serves to not only remind customers of your product or service, but also capture their attention again — essentially giving you a second chance to make that connection.

A Makeover Doesn’t Just Mean a Fresh, New Design

As you can see, an email marketing makeover doesn’t mean slapping up a fresh coat of paint on your existing email design. It means digging below the surface to find out why users aren’t acting when they receive your message.

You want every email you send to be something a user looks forward to receiving – and when that happens, you’ll discover that it wasn’t so much a makeover, but a rebirth — of email that’s more relevant, more social, and more compelling than before.

About the Authors: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!