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What's Killing Your HubSpot Email Campaigns?

12 minute read

You have done your homework around the inbound methodology and are using HubSpot. You have created your buyer personas, outline your buyer's journey and have been running campaigns for awhile now.

So, why aren't you getting a better response from your email marketing campaigns inside HubSpot?better response from your email marketing campaigns inside HubSpot

There could be any number of reasons but let's look at some of the most common ones.

  • Email Deliverability
  • Open Rates
  • Click Through Rates

Email Deliverability

Why Is Email Deliverability Important?

First off email deliverability is a way to measure the success at which an email marketer gets a campaign into subscribers' inboxes. Poor delivery can take you down a spiraling whirlwind of problems. Before long, people who want to buy from you will never even see your emails ever again. 

How to Improve Email Deliverability

Most of us marketers spend our time thinking about open rates, A/B Testing and click through rates but have you checked to see how many people are getting the emails you send? If you have had a few people tell you that they aren't getting your emails, you might have a deliverability problem. 

Why Is Email Deliverability Important?

Here are a few things you need to check and a few ways to improve your email deliverability.

check-mark-2025986_640.pngList Health

Let's take a step back and think about how people subscribed to your list. Are they visiting your blog and then subscribing? Or maybe they downloaded an eBook, and you captured their email. Those are great inbound marketing ways to get on your list. However, if you have purchased a list, grabbed a conference list (of people who didn't visit your booth), rented a listed or acquired a list, you need to check yourself. Listen, I get it you're trying to get more business like all of the rest of us, but that is a horrible way to get new business. 

check-mark-2025986_640.pngIgnoring Email Permission

"I love getting unsolicited emails," said no one, ever.

Even so, some marketers think obtaining permission before sending emails is so 1990s.

Because CAN-SPAM (the law governing commercial email in the United States) doesn’t require permission to be granted before emailing someone, some marketers think getting permission is a waste of time.

Permission isn't a just common courtesy. It's required by major email services (like MailChimp, Constant Contact, and HubSpot, for example.) But that doesn't stop some marketers from ignoring it altogether or relying on sort of permission.


For example, sending a string of marketing or sales emails because someone signs up to download one thing. Major ISP’s like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft hate it when you don't get permission to send commercial emails to individuals. If you send too many emails without permission, and you'll feel the adverse effects of an increase in people unsubscribing, marketing you as spam and never buying from you. 

Better option:

Don't send any email that isn't expressly expected. We think transparency is the best policy. If somebody signs up to download one thing on your website, let them know they'll be getting periodic emails. Better yet, ask them to opt in for such emails. Even if somebody opts in, go the extra mile and send them a first email that says, "click here to confirm your submission."

Don't have enough email addresses?

Tempted to rely on bought lists or unsolicited sends?


Build your arsenal with a great content strategy. If you put in the legwork, people will want to hear from you. You'll have people opting in no time.

check-mark-2025986_640.pngSending Emails All. The. Time.

Unless you're emailing your over-involved grandma, don't send emails twice daily, once daily, or any other obscene amount.

Chadwick Martin Baily, an AMA top 50-research firm, says 70% of people unsubscribe from email lists because they receive too many emails from it.

It's called "graymail": emails that show up so often that they start to mean nothing, and slowly slide down to the bottom of the inbox.

graymail  emails

Some marketers would shun those statistics and claim that quantity is better than quality.

But frequency doesn't correlate to higher engagement: According to a study from MailChimp, click-through rates declined by 50% when customers received excessive emails from a retailer.

In email law, more is less.

Better option:

Send fewer, but higher-quality emails. And like all elements of email, test it! Try these split test ideas to see how different factors play with your audience, like frequency and time/date of send.

check-mark-2025986_640.pngSegmenting Emails... Badly

Even with something great like segmentation (sending custom email content to people based on their characteristics), there is the good, the bad... and the very ugly.

My colleague, for example, just got a sales email that said,

"So excited to tell you about how my product can work wonders for ABC company."

She doesn't work for ABC company and never has. What the heck? 

I got an email selling a product to help me learn "writing, design, and marketing..." aka, both of my college degrees and my current profession. I sent a not-so-nice email back about the importance of good lead intel and asked if they are using HubSpot. 

Moral of the story:

If you don't have a clean email list — that is, a list with squeaky fresh details you know are up-to-date — be very wary of personalization.

And if you don't know somebody's pain point or interest, don't spit out solutions you assume will be relevant.

You run the risk of sounding like a robot running on bad data.

Better option:

A good marketing automation platform like HubSpot will keep your lead data up-to-date, so you have less to worry about when it comes to segmentation. You can see what people downloaded and clicked to tailor relevant content to them. You can also use smart segmentation lists to identify lead segments in safe, smart ways.

Email Open Rate

Why Email Open Rate Is Important

Low open rates are a clear signal to ISPs that your recipients are not engaged with you, your brand or your content. That lack of engagement is a factor in the delivery of future emails and can even lead to your campaigns being blocked. So, you need to take this very seriously. There are only a few areas to focus on for this step. The sender, subject line and time.

How to Improve Open Rates

Aim For A 20% Open Rate

Aim For A 20% Open Rate


A few tips for pulling off that high number:

  • Use compelling subject lines with personalization tokens.
  • Consistently send your email marketing messages from a person, not a company.
  • Determine the best day of the week and time of day to send your emails through A/B testing.

 Improve Click Through Rates 

Why Email Click Through Rates  Is Important

Your email campaigns are most likely to help reach your marketing objectives if they bring people to your site — after all, that's where the real marketing happens. From there, you can measure exactly how many customers came to your website after receiving a marketing email.

How to Improve Click Through Rates

Just like open rate, you should shoot for a click-through-rate of about 2% to 5%.

How to Improve Click Through Rates

Not seeing that many clicks?

  • Make sure there's a clear action for the recipient. Try directive verbs to inspire action.
  • Adjust your calls-to-action to be more prominent, clear, and engaging.
  • Change how much teaser content you include in the email. Less content might entice readers to keep reading.
  • Use social proof to persuade readers to take action.

Email Bonus Section: 

What's Killing Your HubSpot Email Campaigns? What's Killing Your HubSpot Email Campaigns?What's Killing Your HubSpot Email Campaigns?

Keep your template simple

Your email campaigns should focus more on your message, not the look and feel of your email. Just like it is with your website, content will always be king.

Keep email width under 600 pixels

This ensures that users of email clients such as Outlook can view your email in their vertical preview pane. Within your HubSpot email settings, you can set a body width.

Optimize for mobile

It's crucial to consider your mobile audience when utilizing email marketing. Most people are reading their email on-the-go and, keeping that in mind, HubSpot has built in responsiveness to all of its email templates.

Create templates with HubSpot template builder

Coding for consistency across various email client requires understanding the HTML and CSS nuances of each client. To skip all that, use HubSpot's built in tools to create emails and ensure that they look great across major email clients and are responsive in mobile.

Use code-friendly software

When copying and pasting external custom code into rich text modules, use a simple text editor like Notepad or Sublime Text. Copying content from Word and other WYSIWYG editors typically add extra code that will cause your email to display poorly in certain email clients. Alternatively, create your content right in HubSpot's email editor.

Design with tables

While it's no longer best practices to design web pages with tables, they're essential when designing emails. It's the only way to have your design render correctly across multiple email clients. Please be sure to adjust the size of your table, within the source code, to correspond with the responsiveness of your email.


What's Killing Your HubSpot Email Campaigns?

  • Avoid background images
    • Outlook will not recognize background images. Instead, use a background color, and use images in other ways in your email.
  • Use absolute image paths
    • If you upload an image to an individual email using the HubSpot image library, this automatically happens for you. If including an image in an email template, host the image on your website. You could upload the image to your HubSpot file manager. 
  • Declare image width and height
    • This will ensure that your email design will maintain its structure when images are turned off by email clients.
  • Optimize image size
    • Make your image file sizes as small as possible without losing their visual integrity. This will prevent long email load times.
  • Avoid using PNG images
    • Lotus Notes does not support PNG image formats. Use a format such as JPG or GIF instead.
  • Avoid using image maps
    • Hotmail will not recognize image maps.
  • Have an even balance of text and images
  • Use inline CSS
    • Email services that are browser-based, like Gmail or Hotmail, will strip out your DOCTYPE, BODY, and HEAD tags, so use inline CSS instead.
  • Always have a plain-text version of your email
    • Some browsers, email clients, and mobile devices can't handle HTML. While many email clients allow you to make HTML email the default setting, some also enable users to only view emails in plain text. Not solving for this type of email subscriber puts marketers at risk of alienating a portion of their subscriber base. Additionally, an HTML email without a plain-text email counterpart is a red-flag for SPAM filters. HubSpot makes it easy to pull in the text from the HTML version of your email into a plain-text version.
  • Keep the copy the same as your HTML version
    • Having no plain text version of your HTML email is a signal to SPAM filters that your email is SPAM. But the same holds true for plain text emails with copy that is much different than its HTML version. Avoid using your plain text copy to simply direct recipients to the web-based version of your email or visit a certain page on your website.
  • Use bullet points
    • .
    • .
    • .
    • .
    • .
    • .
    • .
    • Because formatting elements such as bolded text, italics, headers, etc. that you'd use to emphasize important text in your HTML emails won't display in plain text versions, consider using techniques such as all caps for things like headers to help you highlight important parts of your email or to separate sections from one another.


So, why aren't you getting a better response from your email marketing campaigns inside HubSpot?
Email Deliverability?
Open Rates?
Click Through Rates?


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