You apply the best practices for writing your email subject lines.
You have a great collection of compelling email headline templates.
You also master the power words the copywriters recommend… amazing, unheard, killer, colossal, proven, etc.
Your emails still don’t get the results you expect. That’s annoying, isn’t it?
Let’s discover the main possible reasons for such a failure…
1. The Spam Filters Flag Your Emails
If the email is rejected by the recipient’s server or it’s routed to the spam folder, does it matter how great your subject line is?
The first requirement for an email to be read is to be received. Not in the spam folder. In the Inbox.
Tip #1 – Don’t fool yourself… Using a reputable email marketing provider doesn’t guarantee that your email lands in the subscriber’s Inbox. Proof:
Recommended reading: Email Marketing Services: The Deliverability Myth
Tip #2 – Don’t use free autoresponders (example: Listwire). See this screen capture from my Gmail account:
Tip #3 – Don’t treat your subscribers as cows good for milk only. They may kick back. “This is Junk/Spam” is not the email marketer’s friend. Spam filters learn quickly and don’t ask you whether you agree or not with the reports they receive.
Tip #4 – Learn the language the spam filters don’t like. It’s a language I call money making or marketing language and usually it screams hype.
Tip #5 – Check the domain names from your links and be sure that they aren’t listed by a domain name blocklist. Don’t make assumptions. Just check.
Recommended reading: Email Marketer’s Silent Enemies
Tip #6 – Clean your list periodically and remove the subscribers who didn’t click your links in the last period of time. Reason: Some email addresses that aren’t used within a certain period of time are transformed into spam traps.
2. Your Killer Headlines Cannot Offset the Lack of Branding
I cannot stop laughing when I remember that some marketers consider President Obama’s subject line “Hey” as one of the best email subject lines ever.
Their reason: that email got a great result.
Their mistake: wrong assessment.
That was actually a lame subject line sent by the right person to the appropriate audience at the appropriate time.
The subject line isn’t the most important part of an email.
Let me ask you a simple question… If your wife or husband, as appropriate, sends you an email that has no subject line, won’t you open it?
Yeah, I can hear you… You’d like to argue saying that personal emails are different from marketing messages. Yep, they are. But the recipient’s psychology is not different. The recipient is still a human being.
I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. So I’ll quote Brian Clark (Copyblogger):
3. Not Segmenting Your List & Sending Inappropriate Content
Common Example: You build your list by giving away a solo ads ebook. Then you assume that your new subscriber is interested in any internet marketing topic.
That’s wrong… Send me an email related to PPC advertising and I will delete it in no time. Irrespective of how great the subject line is.
Tip: Send surveys and check your click reports in order to identify the topics some subscribers aren’t interested in. Then segment your list and move the subscribers to an appropriate sub-list.
Recommended reading: The Unexpected Side Effect of Your Email List Segmentation
4. Your Awesome Headline Doesn’t Match the Rest
A great headline is a double-edged sword. It creates great expectations. If your content doesn’t deliver what is promised, you’re fired. Your great headline didn’t work.
A particular case is the one of the misleading headlines. The subscribers will open the email indeed. But that’s not the final goal of an email marketing campaign. People don’t like when someone cheats on them. They’ll unsubscribe. That’s dumb marketing…
5. Your List Building Strategies Aren’t Perfect
There are more list building methods. Each of them has advantages and disadvantages.
One of these methods is giving away a free ebook or something similar, in exchange of the prospects subscribing to your mailing list. This is a very common method, but …
John wants your ebook… He gives you an email address and then he’ll get what he wants. But it doesn’t mean that John is interested in you and your emails.
Maybe John never heard of you – lack of branding again! John is a busy person. He doesn’t read the emails sent to that email address. He never planned to. It’s a throw away email address.
In such a case, your headlines don’t really matter.
And then… The kind of traffic you drive to your squeeze page also influences your future email marketing campaigns.
The list building giveaways, the ad swaps or the solo ads can get you many subscribers quickly.
Even if these subscribers won’t proceed like John from the previous example, sometimes they may be already subscribed to tens of other mailing lists. So…
Your stellar subject lines compete with other subject lines. And we come back to branding. If you compete with big names, you may fail. The subscriber John will not spend his whole life reading emails. Once John comes from his 9-5 job and sees how many emails he got, he may even delete all of them, in bulk. And so on and so forth…
Tip #1 – What can I say? Deal with these disadvantages or change totally or partially your list building strategies.
Tip #2 – I have to finish by emphasizing again one word: branding. Brand your name and/or newsletter.
To your email marketing success!
P.S. Do you want to add your own reasons or tips? Do you have any question? The comment area is waiting for you ;-)