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  • Writer's pictureTom Kothman

Barriers to Email Marketing Success for Small Business: #1 of 7

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

#1: Your Subject Lines Don't Work

For small business entrepreneurs, email marketing is a no-brainer. It’s well known that the B2B Email ROI is HUGE – about $40 for every $1 spent. The industry also has a pretty good handle on B2B email KPI’s (key performance indicators). For instance, the average open rate for Business and Finance is 21.56% according to Intuit MailChimp's analysis of billions of emails. You can also take a deeper dive into more industries at

So, tracking and evaluating your email marketing performance should be simple, right? But if your email marketing results fall short it could be that one, some or all seven barriers are suppressing performance. This post deals with the first and most obvious barrier to email success.

Subject Lines that Lack Teeth, Don't Grab the Recipient and Don't Get the Email Opened in the First Place.

Creating an email subject line takes more than good writing skills -- it requires a deep understanding of your target customer and the ability to take a larger message and distill it into a few effective words. The two biggest subject line mistakes are

  1. summarizing benefits in the subject line; hence curiosity never gets generated.

  2. the recipient makes a quick determination (within 1-3 seconds) that there is no need to open the email or that it is irrelevant to their interests.

Even the best writers get stymied and don’t always find the “juice” to write great subject lines. There’s no need to despair, however. There are numerous tricks and helpful tools to get the job done. If you find yourself stuck, use one of these freebies. Trust me, they work.

Next Up/Installment #2: Your Content Isn’t Connecting


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