Are you getting fewer responses than the unpopular kid during prom?

You could be sending email marketing emails that no one opens anymore!

Like most things in life, email marketing evolves and changes with the times – what worked for the baby-boomers in the early 90s isn’t going to work for you now. People are smarter, more cynical and ultimately more jaded than in the past because they’ve seen it all; from the Nigerian prince to the UK lotto!

Here are some examples of marketing emails that are no longer effective and what you can do to salvage this unfortunate situation.


The Problem

Dear Sir / Madam … and you’ve already lost us there! Personalization has gone from a great addition to an absolute requirement.

These days if your reader is not expecting a mail or can’t find their name in the email they’ll immediately assume that you obtained it through cloak and dagger methods.

The Fix

To fix this is so simple, it should be taught in kindergarten!

Include personalization tags in all of your sends. It takes a couple clicks and one or two tags to obtain a 17.36% higher click-through rate…. but that’s just the start!

You can further personalize your email with a little more effort dedicated into the direction of segmentation. 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates and 24% experienced greater revenue – according to eMarketer.

Split your contacts into their interests, age groups and genders and change your message to appeal to each with different graphics, text or even complete email sequences!

Hypernator Mail

The Problem

There seems to be a trend started in the early 2000s about “this one little weird fact; this plant that doctors don’t want you to find out about; this one pill that’ll put all gyms out of business or this one exercise that speeds up aging…

Or as I like to call it, “this one sales pitch that simply doesn’t work anymore.”

The only reason these ads still exist on the web is because, much like that guy who takes monopoly way too seriously, you’ll always have that “one guy.” This doesn’t mean that you should use it for email marketing though!

Email marketing’s strength lies in building a relationship with your customers. Blowing things out of proportion and under delivering may make you a quick buck, but it won’t give you a sustained income!  

The Fix

Stay relevant and state exactly what’s in your email.

An email marketing study on subject lines found that while ambiguous subject lines have a great open rate, they don’t lead to as many conversions as shorter, to-the-point subject lines.

Subject lines are your first impression – so don’t mess with them or your client base. State exactly what’s in your email, don’t rely on cheap tricks and you’ll build a client base rather than a scam base.

Pest Mail

The Problem

Brand communication  is no longer a top down affair. Continuously spamming people with email and hoping for the best simply doesn’t work anymore.

If your recipient does not want to buy your product after the first email, sending 50 in succession won’t change their mind, and sometimes even a couple a week could be too much.

The point is, email isn’t new or exciting anymore. The last time I saw someone get excited about getting an email was when Outlook still had some credibility. Email is more a tool than a novelty these days, so it has to be effective in order to be seen as valuable!

And the most effective email is sent at the right time.

The Fix

This doesn’t mean you should cut down your regular sends to one a month though!

It really comes down to consistency.

You should aim to send your newsletters and collateral communication such as SMS, social or blog posts on two different dates and keep them consistent throughout, but this can be tough when you’re running a business. Enter scheduled sending and email automation!

If you schedule or automate your sends, you don’t have to worry about timing your email and your recipients will be able to expect your mail on time, every time.

In addition to this, consider adding triggered sends to your email marketing campaign to react on hot leads immediately and with minimal effort on your part!


Identifying and fixing problematic email is vital to your email marketing success! Keeping up to date with the latest successes and failures will determine whether your business grows or wilts – luckily, any major Email Service Provider has the tools to solve any problem you come across.

The rest, is up to you!

  • Author: maryka.burger

  • Maryka has worked across multiple industries ranging from hard news journalism to digital tech companies and advertising. She is an expert at building online presence, and offers a wealth of knowledge on digital marketing, social media and automation trends to agencies and digital start-ups.