Insights and Resources

Three Ways To Kill Your Email Marketing

By Mel Stewart

Email marketing killers

Three Ways To Kill Your Email Marketing

As a massive advocate for social media marketing, many of our clients are surprised when I say to them, “If you offered me ten Facebook page likes or one email address… I would always choose the email address.”

“Offer me, one hundred Facebook page likes or one email address… and I would still choose the one email address.”

Surprised? It’s a big call right? Email marketing is one of today’s most powerful platforms to nurture your audience. When someone opts in and subscribes to your email, they are giving you permission to market to them; to stay in regular contact with them; to keep showing up in their inbox. Now, that’s pretty cool.

With email marketing, you’re not relying on complex social media algorithms (thanks Facebook) to determine whether your message will actually reach your audience. You own that precious email address. You need to respect that and ensure the content that you deliver is attention grabbing, compelling and valuable to your audience. Your email needs to maintain a relationship with your audience and move them through your “funnel” to some point of conversion.

So why do businesses still get email marketing oh so wrong? Here are my top three killers of email marketing…


You bore your audience.

You know those emails that arrive in your inbox and you NEVER open them? The ones you always hit “delete” on, without ever looking at the content. Yes, that’s what you don’t want to be. You do not want to be the email that never gets opened and instead finds its way to the trash folder faster than you can say “What the…”

Reality is, you probably opened the first one or two of those initial emails and then they lost you. They lost your trust, didn’t deliver on your expectations or didn’t serve any value to you. They let you down. They bored you.
When you’re preparing your next email, for your audience, don’t let them down. Don’t lose their trust. Don’t bore them. Your email content needs to be sharp, valuable and attention grabbing.

Firstly, your subject line is critical for your audience to decide whether or not to open your email. If they open it (yes!), you then have 8 seconds to show them why they should read it (or not).

Secondly, your content needs to be valuable. If you’re thinking, “I should be charging them to give them this information” before hitting send, then you’re probably on the right track. Valuable information will win-over your audience.

Thirdly, your words matter, so use them wisely. Be concise. Get to the point. Edit your writing. The first version of your email will never be as strong as your second edited version, which will never be as strong as your third edited version. Take the time to edit your work so you are not boring your audience.


You don’t personalise your marketing.

It is simple to do and one of the most-proven tactics to improve your email marketing, yet many organisations fail to do personalise their emails. To keep your email out of the trash box, personalisation is critical.
So how do you do it?

Use your audience’s name in the subject line. Which one of the subject lines below is more relevant to me?

Hey Mel, here’s how not to suck at email marketing.

Here’s how not to suck at email marketing

We have found 18% higher open rates, just by using our audience’s first name in the subject line. Why aren’t you doing this?
But personalisation is more than just using a name. It is also carefully selecting the content that is personalised enough to address your audience’s concern, problem or need.  For example, an accountant may have both small business clients and personal tax clients. Do those clients want to see the same information? Would personal tax clients be interested in small business efficiency tips, or critical changes in GST legislation?  Probably not. Learn what your audience is interested in, and start using groups and segmentation to deliver more personalised content.


You’re not looking at your data.

Are you guilty of sending regular emails and not looking at your performance data? Isn’t Einstein’s definition of insanity “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”?  So, if we are not looking at our email marketing data and we just continue to do the same old-same old, are we insane?

Of course open rates and click throughs are the place to start. They are good indicators of how effective your subject line is, how relevant your content is, how clear your call to action may be – and how easy your email may or may not be to click from a mobile phone.

Both metrics are good to set internal benchmarks.  But be mindful of your unsubscribe rate. This is a sure sign your audience may be telling you that your email marketing sucks… and your content is not relevant or not.
Most importantly take note of what your audience is clicking on (track your links). These metrics by far will tell you what type of content your audience is finding valuable, and give you a massive heads-up on personalising your content.

Yes, there is a science behind email marketing that is learned through a lot of experimentation – and no two audiences are ever the same. But, none of this matters if you are not continually focussed on growing your email database and generating highly qualified leads for your business.

How are you doing that?

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