My Email Didn't Work. Now What?

My Email Didn't Work. Now What?

Table of Contents

    Today’s marketing landscape is largely dominated by sending emails.

    People are doing more research online before they make a purchase, ensuring they’re informed about the product and pricing. Companies who leverage marketing automation can send a lot of emails, but emails may not lead to the results you’re looking for.

    We’ll look at a few ways your emails may fall short, and explore some ways to better clarify, test, and express your messages with ActiveCampaign.

    Email Failure – What Happened?

    Low Open Rate

    You sent a communication to your list, and your open rate was way below normal. There are plenty of potential reasons, but it may be fairly straightforward.

    • Did you send your email at a different time than usual? Perhaps overnight, or too late in the day? If your audience is accustomed to hearing from you at a certain time, your open rate may suffer if you change it up.
    • Was your subject line compelling? If it was too long or didn’t offer an enticing reason to open, perhaps they skipped you over. Always consider how you handle promotional emails in your own inbox. You probably don’t sift through, opening each email. Never forget to give them a reason to click.
    • Who was your email from? Have you sent too many emails from the same person? Or, did you try someone new that your audience doesn’t know or trust?

    Low Conversion

    Your email didn’t get many conversions. People didn’t accomplish the goal you had hoped they would with your communication.

    • Did you have a clear and present call to action (CTA)? If you want them to click through to your website, you need to give them a reason to do so. You don’t want to let your button (or link, or anything you want them to click) get lost in the shuffle. In this first sample, a large image takes up most of the real estate on the top of the message, and the button following the text is fairly small.
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    In this second version, the image takes up less space, the button has been made larger, and the text is more dynamic (“Don’t Miss It!” instead of “Click Here”).

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    • Are you offering a coupon? A new product? A special pre-order? Lead with that information and make sure your CTA is high up enough in your communication that they don’t open and delete before seeing it.


    Did your unsubscribe percentage jump up? What changes might you have made to cause this spike?

    • Did you purchase a list of leads? There are a lot of companies out there who promise pre-vetted leads, but nothing can replace a list of organic leads that you’ve grown yourself.
    • Have you sent a lot of emails lately? You don’t want your contacts to regret signing up to hear from you. It may take some time and testing to see how often they want an email, but be cautious while you’re still figuring that out.
    • Are your emails relevant to your contacts? Are you emailing them the kind of information they signed up to get? If they signed up for product information, and you’re sending them every blog update, perhaps they feel their email address is being abused.

    Alternate Approaches For Messaging

    There are plenty of potential reasons your email didn’t perform as expected. So let’s look at some solutions to address the issues listed above.

    Split Testing

    If you aren’t sure about your messaging, our campaign Split Testing offers a host of options for you to try something new. Change your subject line, the from line, and the content.

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    Perhaps the problem is the number of emails you’re sending. In this case, utilizing our Split Test Automations may help. There are a number of creative ways you can see what your audience prefers. In the sample below, you could test sending a total of three welcome emails versus two. Over time, you should be able to determine which people prefer, and then create an automation using that information.

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    Direct Mail

    If you have worked to collect physical mailing addresses, you can reach your contacts through an old-fashioned snail mail campaign. Maybe your email would’ve been better shared as a brochure, or a relationship-building note. Using ActiveCampaign contact information and the Deals CRM in tandem can help you create a physical mail campaign that makes a bigger impact.


    Not all messages belong in a blasted email. Maybe you need more space to share links, images, and offer a place for contact feedback. In this case, leverage a blog. You can use an ActiveCampaign form to solicit opt-ins for your blog updates and shoot contacts a quick simple email when you’ve made a new post.

    Not only will this approach allow you to express yourself in a more robust format, but it will bring your contacts out of their email and onto your website, which is a powerful direction to head.


    Don’t forget that ActiveCampaign offers SMS tools to contact your audience via text message. This is an option you will want to utilize sparingly, allowing people to easily opt out if they are no longer interested in text updates. But if you want to let your contacts know that you’re having a flash sale, this might be the perfect time to shoot them a short message and inspire a quick purchase, before your limited-time offer expires.

    Site Messages

    You can use our site messages feature to send targeted messages to your contacts on your website.

    Closing Thoughts

    How have your emails underperformed in the past? What steps did you take to determine the cause? What did you do to address the situation in the future?

    Share your feedback below!

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