Common B2B Email Marketing Issues: How to Identify & Fix Them

At some points in our lives, things just don’t go our way. It’s really no different in B2B email marketing where a lot of things can and will go wrong; from the start of building an contact database to the actual qualification of the leads. But, be that as it may, the more important thing is that many of these setbacks can be identified, fixed, and minimized or even eliminated. This post looks at areas of email campaigns where problems commonly arise – from contact lists to content choices – and discusses how to diagnose and treat these anomalies.

In a blog entry from a few weeks ago, we’ve talked a little bit about the three T’s in email marketing (test, tweak, and track). This concept is worth revisiting for our purposes today as it helps in finding and fixing problems in our campaigns.

Your campaign metrics are the indicators that enable you to see where your email marketing project needs more work on. These vital signs are the variables you’ll be using to test and verify an educated guess about your campaign’s state. As you’re fully aware of, there’s plenty of email metrics to go around which makes it essential for you to isolate the ones that really describe what you’re trying to determine.

Here are three areas in your email marketing campaigns where issues tend to frequently show up:


The availability of virtually dozens of different email client platforms to individuals in our contact lists make compatibility a daunting challenge for any email marketer. This problem is compounded further by a plethora of devices on which our recipients open and read our emails.

Examples of compatibility issues include HTML template loading failure, incorrect layout displays, and lack of dimensional fit. Poor open rates and click-through rates along with high bounce and unsubscribe rates are common symptoms of compatibility problems. Treatment varies from sending text-only versions to layout and design overhaul.


We face countless sets of filtering and deliverability rules for each domain used by recipients in our contact lists, making compliance extremely difficult. In fact, about 11% of B2B emails end up as spam. In addition, poor quality of data in our contact lists can weigh down heavily on deliverability.

Low open rates and high bounce rates are the signs to look for in finding deliverability problems. To fix problems of this sort, you need to ensure compliance with spam filters standards as well as ensure the contact data quality. Consult with a reputable contact list vendor on this issue.


Content issues include relevance and readability and are among the hardest to diagnose. Content-audience mismatch is a common example of this type of problem. In addition, inadequate organization and development of ideas, lack of consistency, and failure to adopt a voice are content-related problems email marketers commonly face.

Low open rates and CTRs together with elevated unsubscribe and abuse reports are typical symptoms of content-related issues. However, you also need to look for poor conversion rates and/or longer cycles as further confirmation. Solutions include proper list segmentation with content mapping, improving email personalization, and practicing professionalism and courtesy in writing content. Again, check with your contact lists company to make sure you’re using updated contact lists in your campaign.

After you’ve determined what’s going on with your campaign and tested some possible solutions, it’s good practice to tweak some parameters and track the impact of such changes on a regular basis, thus completing the 3 T’s. However, it doesn’t end there. The evaluation process is ongoing throughout the life of your project.