Low Email Campaign Response? Here’s What to Do

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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2016-09-07

On the blog last week we covered how to follow up with those who responded immediately to your latest email campaign. Hopefully, if all falls into place, they will soon be converted into customers.


Now we turn our attention to those who did not respond to your campaign. As experienced B2B marketers know, a big percentage of your email recipients will not have clicked through, or even opened your email. What should you do next?


  1. Check your stats: With your campaign out the door, you’ll want to measure its performance metrics relatively soon; perhaps just a day or two after hitting “send.” How was the open rate, and how did it compare to other campaigns you’ve run? If better, did the subject line, design, content or call-to-action (CTA) change from previous campaigns? (See my blog on A/B testing to help determine this.) Compare and contrast your click-through rate (CTR) to previous campaigns to determine whether the CTA was clear, or perhaps this was a new or more (or less) compelling message. By testing, measuring and comparing the aspects of your most successful email campaigns, you can determine the elements that are of greatest interest to your audience, and then follow up with them with your best pitch to achieve optimal results.


  1. Benchmark to your industry and campaign type: Open and click-through rates will vary significantly between customer campaigns and acquisition email campaigns. With acquisition emails, the relationship with the recipient or prospect is not yet established. As a result, comparatively lower opens and click-throughs will be realized. At OMI we focus on acquisition email campaigns for our B2B clients, and our open rates run in the 4-15 percent range, while CTRs typically vary between .05 – 2.99%. This is very good for acquisition email, and is made possible by the quality and accuracy of our email data. For customer campaigns, Econsultancy offers a very good breakdown of the numbers by industry. The bottom line is, set your expectations, starting by observing how you compare with others in your industry and with others in your campaign type (acquisition vs. customer emails).


  1. Time your resends right: Resist the urge to simply resend the same email again too soon after the initial one, as you’ll likely reduce opens and clicks, and risk unsubscribes or even complaints. There is a time and place for the resend, however. At OMI, we recommend that our clients send three times over a 2-to-3 week period per campaign to the same target audience. But there are best practices to follow. For more insight, check out our recent blog post on “The Art of the Resend.”


  1. Change up the message: Don’t be offended or discouraged that your emails aren’t being opened. Be prepared – with your follow-up email. While it’s OK to, say, have the same CTA, change up the message or graphic, and definitely use a new subject line. Try one that drives interest (“top three proven secrets…”), or increases the sense of urgency (“only three days left….”). See my blog on subject lines for more suggestions here.


  1. Switch the time and day: Consider sending your next message at a different time and/or day of the week to reach those who may read email at the end of the day or week vs. the beginning. And avoid sending on Mondays (people are just getting back in the swing of things) or Fridays (people are trying to get work done before the weekend – or checking out as it arrives).


  1. Avoid the routine: Space out your campaigns by a few weeks, and keep the messaging fresh and original for each one. Resist getting into a rut. Perhaps try something a bit different, clever, timely to an event or otherwise “out of the box” to stand out next time.


  1. Ask the hard questions: If you continue to get disappointing results, it’s time to take stock of your approach. Is your email targeted to your desired audience; i.e. those similar to your existing customer base? (Or, by contrast, are you “shooting in the dark” or “spraying and praying”?) Does your message offer valuable yet innocuous content (e.g. an article, video or webinar) that will help your recipients address a problem in their daily work lives (as opposed to merely hard selling your product)? Is your email crafted, written and designed in an appealing, intriguing fashion that will spur action (and not create boredom or confusion as to what it’s asking the recipient to do)?


Sending out your email is just a single step in the B2B email marketers’ journey. To be successful, you should have a good follow-up plan in place – not only to take care of those who express immediate interest, but also for the rest who will need more follow-up to turn them into paying customers.




Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.


Image copyright: Copyright: llesia / 123RF Stock Photo


At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.

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