5 reasons small businesses fail at email marketing

We all know that email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach out to your audience, improve visibility, engage and convert leads. Its relatively low cost especially appeals to small businesses which are working with smaller budgets and want to get the most for their money.

Email marketing may offer you benefits like no other digital marketing tactics. Not only does it allow you to personalize and tailor your emails according to your customer’s actions, but also to provide the segmented audience with the most impactful information they need. So you may be wondering, why with all these opportunities at hand do small businesses still fail at email marketing? We’ve come up here with a list of reasons which may help you understand what you’ve been doing wrong and how to fix it.

Your emails lack personalization

Let’s get personal! If you look at the stats in 2016, you’ll notice that personalized messages had an 18.8 percent open rate, compared to a 13.1 percent open rate for non-personalized email. You don’t have to be a genius to see that personalization pays off. What you have to understand is that it goes far beyond just including your recipient’s name at the beginning of the email. It ranges from personalized subject lines, which increase clicks and opens to customizing email content to meet individual customer’s needs and interests.

The key to personalizing your emails is knowing your target audience and understanding how to segment it properly. In other words, you need to have a clear image of your marketing persona or personas (the more the better). You can achieve it through improving your sign up forms and asking the right questions. The information you’ll get will come in handy when you want to create relevant content and drive the right traffic to your site. Personalization of your emails ultimately results in a deeper and more meaningful relationship with your subscribers.

If you want to find out more about this topic, make sure you read “What Is Personalized Marketing And How It Helps To Boost Sales”.

You communicate infrequently or send too many marketing messages

You might have been in the situation when you texted someone and they never got back to you or it took them ages to do so. You eventually moved on. The same happens to your email marketing, if your email communications happen not often enough, recipients tend to lose interest in your company or product. On the other hand if you bombard the subscribers with tons of marketing messages, the unsubscribe rate will rise. It’s like that needy boyfriend/girlfriend you had to eventually dump cause you couldn’t handle the constant flood of messages any more. Dating analogies aside, the bottom line is that you always have to keep in mind that email frequency influences read and unsubscribe rates, so find your sweet spot by testing different options. 

You don’t provide value

Being a small business owner you’re obviously eager to grow it. In order to achieve that, you need to boost sales, gain more money, and allocate more budget to marketing purposes. No doubt, it’s difficult and the pressure can sometimes be overwhelming, but don’t get tempted to turn each and every of your emails into a sales pitch, thus becoming too pushy and annoying. You shouldn’t forget that you’re not supposed to sell to your customers, you should educate them. Your job is to provide them with relative, valuable information they are interested in, explain the reason why they should choose your brand over the others, not just tell them to do so. Remember that it’s crucial to build a relationship with your customer which will later evolve into long-lasting loyalty.

Your newsletters do not reflect your brand identity and values

Email marketing is a powerful instrument to effectively establish brand awareness. That’s why your brand has to be an integral part of the emails you send. While writing a newsletter make sure that you add your logo, that’s how your business will become easily identifiable to your users. If you want to significantly improve your brand recall, you can strategically place the logo in your email signature.

You may use different email signature generators, like Newoldstamp, to create interactive email signatures which would contain logo and any other additional information. This way the client will see it every time you contact them. To make your email synonymous with your brand, use the same font, colour and style. We, humans, like consistency, so your emails and newsletters should not dissonate with the company’s website and social media accounts. Your customer should easily associate your email with your brand, otherwise there’s a risk of it ending up in the spam.

Your email lack call-to-action

It is imperative to include a call-to-action button in your emails if you want your subscribers to make the next step in conversion. Needless to say, the call-to-action button should catch the recipient’s eye by a thoughtful placement, legible large font and compelling wording. It would be a great idea to include this call-to-action button in your interactive email signature, so to say prompting the subscriber to take action every time you communicate with them. At the same time, it will be less intrusive rather than huge shouting letters in the middle of the page, like ‘Click here!’, which some people may subconsciously find threatening. So don’t go overboard with that but remember to give a little push in the right direction.


Email marketing is all about building strong connection with your customers. Now that you have found out why small businesses fail at email marketing, you can improve the way you communicate with your audience by creating personalized, relevant messages which are synonymous with your brand, inspire taking action and come at the right intervals of time. Try out the above-mentioned tips and see how your customers respond.

Helga Zabalkanskaya is CMO at NEWOLDSTAMP