Email marketing – where it so often goes wrong.

Sales and new business – well we all want a bit of that, don’t we?

Let’s look at the challenge for a moment.

How can we get in front of our potential clients on a regular basis in the hope that at some point they will buy our product or service? We all know who our customers are – well we should know! So, it should be relatively easy.

There are any number of different approaches to this perennial conundrum, and any number of marketing channels too. And I’d hazard a guess that many of you reading this will have had a bad marketing experience with several of the traditional channels.

Have a look at the list below – anything sound familiar?

  • Telemarketing – got me some appointments, but with the wrong type of people.
  • PPC paid advertising – cost a fortune and we got no sales.
  • Marketing consultant – did a great proposal and report, but no sales.
  • Social media – lots of likes and some nice comments, but no sales.
  • Local advertising in business magazine – no sales or even enquiries.
  • SEO expert – never saw any evidence we got on ‘page one of Google’ – no sales.
  • Email marketing – had problems with our own email sending reputation and no sales.
  • Lead gen agency – cost a lot and we did get some appointments, but not with the right people.
  • Branding expert – nice proposal and we felt they understood us well, but no sales.
  • Digital marketing agency – talked the talk and did a new site for us – we are just £5000 poorer and no sales.

So where does email marketing go wrong?

Wrong email data

Some companies provide data along with an email marketing service. Well, that’s always bad news as the list gets hammered and targeting (that’s identifying YOUR target market, both in terms of business verticals but also in regard to company size, turnover and job title/function) is never going to be what you need. They can only provide you with what they have!

Good email data is hard to come by and getting the right kind of data is not for the faint hearted, especially if you wish to tele market the click-throughs! A note on GDPR – you can send to a business list of Ltd or corporate companies on the basis of ‘legitimate interest’ without a direct opt-in.

Sending platform/delivery

You can’t just use a standard email account to send bulk emails! Well, you can, but it’s bad practice and will generally get you into bother!

Using Mailchimp is an option, but there are any number of issues too, as you’ll struggle to upload any bought lists. There’s far more here than meets the eye!


If you do send emails via an email service provider, you’ll get stats, the challenge you may face is how to interpret them and how to filter out the wheat from the chaff.


Truly the make-or-break element here. It’s a bit like any form of marketing communication, it has to be very good if the email is going to gain some traction and interest. And it’s a harsh world out there. Email marketing is a ‘fleeting medium’, just like a poster sign you whizz past in the car. It needs to work in a fraction of a second. I always feel this is an advantage, as I’d say that 95% of B2B email marketing is way off the mark and almost to the detriment of the sender.

This section alone deserves far more depth and there isn’t the space here to delve as deep as I’d like. Consider this: a good text only email will outperform an HTML or picture email by more than 300% on every key metric from delivery to engagement!


People don’t buy when you want them too – we all know that! So how will you sustain a campaign to your database without being dull and repetitive? This isn’t so easy and many fall at this hurdle!

Is there any good news? Plenty.

  • Email marketing works well for many business sectors (I’m just talking B2B for the sake of this blog) and not so well for others.
  • Targeting is usually very effective, and content can be tailored precisely – most important.
  • Overall cost makes email marketing one of the cheapest routes to market on a cost per contact basis.
  • Email marketing is great for building a brand (only if you get it 100% right and don’t screw up on the simple data management aspects).
  • Easy measurement of engagement against other marketing channels.
  • Super reactive to the ever-changing business landscape.
  • Easy to try different approaches and monitor results.
  • Easy to test. If you get what you want from 1000 contacts, you’ll get 10x more from 10,000 contacts.
  • Very cost effective to try marketing to a new business vertical.
  • Great for promoting webinars.
  • Easy to integrate into your CRM and overall sales funnel.
  • Effective at segmenting your sales funnel to reflect where individuals are in the customer cycle.


Like many things in marketing, do it right and you’ll get results, do it wrong and you’ll regret you ever started.

And here’s our offer to you. If you’d like to understand, in more detail, some of the issues mentioned above, please do get in touch with us at Essentiamail. And if you’re doing some email marketing already, feel free to send a couple of example emails and we’ll give them our professional opinion.

You might also like a second opinion on how effectively email marketing could work for your business. Again, we’d be happy to offer our professional point of view.

Thanks for reading.