12 Reasons Why Your Automated Email Campaigns Are Failing

Automated email campaigns are an essential marketing channel, helping you grow sales and revenue. Done right, email marketing can massively boost per-consumer spend for your business and earn back as much as 30 times what you’re spending. Email automation streamlines the process by letting you scale up, segment your customer list, and schedule trigger events.

So if you’re not seeing the results you expect, what are you doing wrong? We’ve listed some of the most common errors holding back automated email campaigns.

1. You’ve stopped filling the top of your funnel

Every contact list depreciates over time, and you’ll naturally have people opt out and lose interest. To counter the impact of list decay, you need to have a strategy for filling the top of your funnel and weeding out inactive subscribers. The former ensures you have a fresh supply of contacts for email-automation campaigns, while the latter will support more effective churn cycles to improve your reporting and analytics.

Keep creating new offers, content and other incentives to get people to opt-in on your website and social media. Think downloadable resources like an ebook, or a viral competition to gain subscribers quickly.

2. Poor content

Use relatable, personal (as well as personalised) content, and avoid impersonal, robotic copy in your emails by using a one-to-one tone, even if you’re not signing off as a person.

Be clear about the purpose of each email and what your message to the reader is; ensure every email is delivering real value. You can develop detailed workflows and trigger matrices, but if the content is unfocused, low quality, and irrelevant, you won’t engage and convert readers. Defining the purpose of each email will also help you measure outcomes more effectively.

Always end with a call-to-action, even if it’s only a link to useful content on your website or to encourage the reader to get in touch.

3. Bombarding your list with too many emails

Sending too many emails can annoy your subscribers and reduce conversion, or even encourage opt-outs.

Research shows as much as 43% of email subscribers want to be sent fewer emails. Use A/B testing to determine the right balance, and segment your subscribers so those who want more emails are contacted on a frequent-enough basis.

4. Not fixing design and display issues

Studies show 71.2% of readers delete emails that don’t display properly. Design and display issues can also affect your conversion rate. Use attractive templates that match your brand personality, and make sure elements like logo, colours, photos, and call-to-action buttons are harmonised. Design your emails to be mobile friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

5. Using clickbait-style subject lines

Subject lines can make or break your click-through rates, which in turn impact your conversion rate. You want to hook the reader and encourage curiosity, but clickbait-style subject lines that end up deceiving your readers won’t help you convert them. They could have the opposite effect by creating distrust and eventually motivating the subscriber to opt out. Creative, catchy subject lines are great, but always be honest.[

6. Not having a strategy to address click-through rate

Your email-automation campaign is designed to nudge subscribers to take action, whether it’s to deepen engagement by checking out a new video on your site, use a discount coupon, or to make a purchase. While it’s not an exact representation of the lead completing the action, the click-through rate reflects how successful you’ve been in getting them at least some of the way there.

The click-through rate is the percentage of readers who click on at least one of your call-to-actions (or links) once they’ve opened and read your email. As a marketer, you might be struggling with low-click-through rates, so it’s a major challenge if you don’t have a smart strategy to address it.


All kinds of factors can affect click-through rates. These include email design, timing, and content. Ensure your emails are responsive and optimised for mobile, desktop, and other devices. For example, Saturday and Sundays might be the best days to get a higher click-through rate, or perhaps the times before and after daytime working hours might see the highest level of click-throughs.

Relevant, targeted content is essential, so segment and personalise your messaging. Other tips for optimising your click-through rate include:

  • Incorporating social-media-sharing icons in your emails
  • Avoid too many CTAs or links in the one email
  • Add sufficient white space around the CTA
  • Make sure your CTA button/text is large enough (but not obnoxiously large)
  • Keep the copy punch and action-oriented
  • A/B test text links and buttons.

Focus on testing the above and keep measuring it so you can refine your email-automation campaigns to achieve the best possible click-through percentage.

Automated A/B testing with TractionNext

7. Failure to segment and personalise

Uniform messages won’t appeal to everyone on your list, and fully leveraging the power of email automation is the solution here. Segment and personalise with dynamic content by using the data you’ve captured about your prospects, whether it’s their location, gender, age group, expressed interests, acquisition source, or the type of ebook or content they’ve consumed. Simple touches, like using their first name in the email and in the subject line, are an easy way to personalise your message and make it memorable. 


Segmentation and personalised messaging are key to providing relevant content and catching leads when they’re likely to buy. Get to know your prospects through progressive profiling and buyer personas. Tailor by-segment messages to target these personas. If you’re segmenting at only a basic level, this could be why your email-automation campaigns aren’t as effective as you’d like. Go deeper with your segmenting, and use A/B testing to refine your emails.

8. Sending only sales messages

As with any marketing channel, treating your email-automation campaign as a sales-message-only channel means a lost opportunity to build trust. To convert readers, you need to deliver engaging content as well as sales offers. Build loyalty and deepen brand awareness with valuable content that’s relevant to the segment.

9. Not establishing trust

Readers might delete your email without opening it if the sender isn’t made clear. Highlight who you are in your emails and use a real email address. You can also build trust by linking to social media pages so your readers can see your online presence. Refer to your privacy terms and conditions in your emails and always include an opt-out link.


10. Not optimising schedule and timing

Timing and schedule are critical parts of email automation. For example, asking new subscribers to make a major purchase the day they sign up can turn off leads who are some stages away from being ready to buy. Plan your sales funnel and set up your schedule to time your messages right.

Is your prospect looking for information at an early stage, or are they ready to be nurtured and nudged to the next stage in the funnel? Is the customer a repeat buyer who can be targeted with content to encourage retention, or is the new subscriber a well-qualified lead who is ready to buy? Consider the prospect’s stage of customer awareness as you plan your messaging schedule.

11. Poor email-automation remarketing

Remarketing is related to your automation workflow design and decision/trigger matrix. If your trigger matrix is poorly designed, you could end up emailing customers with a message to do something they’ve already done. For example, you could be sending upsell messages when they’ve already bought the product or a discount coupon for a service they just bought.


12. Lack of integration with other channels

If your email automation isn’t integrated with your other channels, you might be losing out on an opportunity to convert more subscribers and followers. You can amplify the power of your email-automation campaigns by coordinating them with, for example, your website, social media, and live chat channels.

You can use automation to build a customer list, establish trust, and continue to nurture them with well-timed email messaging as well as text messaging, social media, and offers through targeted landing pages.

Consider the customer journey and how powerful your marketing efforts can be if you used all your channels to nurture your leads. These multiple points of contact, when used properly, can heighten engagement and meet customers where they are already.

Improve email automation with TractionNext

Email automation can fail for a wide range of reasons, with poor content along and lack of a clear strategy to address click-through rates among the top causes. Make sure your emails are designed for different devices and you’re not sending too many or too few emails. If you’re failing to personalise and segment your emails, this could be another reason you’re not getting the results you want. Scheduling, building trust through consistent messaging, and avoiding only sales messaging are other important considerations. As you refine your email automation, keep integrating it with your other marketing channels to amplify your multi-channel efforts.

TractionNext is the next-generation digital marketing tool you’ve been looking for. Our feature-rich technology allows marketers to easily and efficiently connect with customers using a multitude of digital campaign strategies. Why not request a demo and level-up your email automation with TractionNext, today.

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